Sunday, February 13, 2011

Valentine Window Cookies: Our Sweet Tradition

Need a sweet treat to make on Valentine's Day with the kids?  Cookies, of course are always a hit.  The more sprinkles, the better in their book, right?  Here's a bit of a twist on your normal cookie that I'll share with you.  It is something my mom liked to make just for Valentine's Day and even though it's  more work than the my typical quick favorites, I'm a sucker for sentimentality and tradition.  What can I say?

To make your window cookies, which are inspired by stained glass windows, you'll need your favorite sugar cookie recipe, red, purple, or pink hard candies (crushed), various sizes of heart shaped cookie cutters, parchment paper, a cookie sheet, your cookie decorating frosting of choice (not to be confused with icing), and decorating tips, couplers, and bags.  And of course some sprinkles if you'd like.

Now, if you're like me, every time you make sugar cookie dough, your cutout turns into a blob by the time you try to transfer it to the cookie sheet (yes, I DO refrigerate the dough).  So, what I've been doing is lining the cookie sheet with parchment paper, rolling the dough directly on it, and then cutting out the cookies on the pan where they should be for baking. Then remove the excess dough.  I used airbake pans, which have no sides so it is really easy to roll out.  Plus, it keeps the candy from scorching while it bakes.  If your pan has sides, roll the dough onto the parchment paper on the counter, then put it on your pan.

Ok, now you need heart shaped cookie cutters in various sizes.  You'll cut a large heart, then cut a smaller heart out of the middle.  You need to fill the empty space with the crushed hard candy.  Use all one color, or mix them up a bit.  Now just bake according to your cookie recipe.  The candy should be melted by the end of the baking time, and be careful not to over bake as the candy could scorch.
Here is our mix of window cookies and cookies with sprinkles galore!  We're having fun!

Let your cookies cool until the candy has completely hardened again, and carefully peel them up off of the paper.

Once completely cooled, decorate as you wish!

- Make these the day you'll be serving them for best results, especially if your home is warm or humid.
- When crushing your candy, DO NOT USE your rolling pin, unless you want to throw it away.  Learn from my mistakes...oops!
- Be careful not to over bake as your candy may scorch, and will taste awful.  If you have an air bake pan, you'll want to use it.
- Remember - they don't have to be perfect!  I'm not a cake decorator (obviously!).  So, don't worry if they aren't magazine quality.  Just enjoy creating and making memories with your children.

Happy Valentine's Day!