I’m no expert when it comes to baking cookies… in fact, I think I’ve only ever tried them once before. But I’ve acquired so many lovely cookie cutters over the years, and when I saw these little beauties on many a festive baking post, I thought: Why only for Christmas? And so the idea for some Sweet Little Stained Glass Heart (Valentine’s!) Cookies was born. They were not the easiest thing I’ve ever made, I had to bite my tongue a few times as yet another cookie stuck to the counter despite what felt like loads of flour under it, but life isn’t about always doing the easy, familiar thing, is it? We need to challenge ourselves, and I have to say I’m SO happy with how the cookies turned out. They were absolutely worth the effort!
YOU WILL NEED
An electric mixer, baking sheets (I used standard shallow oven trays), baking paper and cookie cutters*
- 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, softened (I used margarine)
- 1 cup (200g) sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 Teaspoons vanilla extract
- 3 cups (385g) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Additional flour, for rolling out the dough
- Assorted Sparkles sweets, or other hard-boiled sweets
- Preheat oven to 190ºC / gas mark 5 / 375ºF
- Prepare your baking trays by lining each with baking paper.
- Using your electric mixer, combine the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Next, add the milk, egg, and vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients with a fork.
- Finally, in thirds, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
*Allow the dough to chill for at least an hour before working with it, longer for more humid climates.
- Roll out the dough on a surface that has been prepped with flour. My lovely rolling pin has interchangeable discs to ensure you roll out to a certain thickness – I went for 4mm (1/6 inch) option, and this seemed to work very well.
- Cut out the outside shape (largest cookie cutter) and place the cookie on the lined baking sheet.
- After cutting enough cookies to fill the sheet, cut the small, inside shapes from each.
- Place the Sparkles sweetie of your choice in the centre of each cookie. Some recipes mention crushing the sweets for this step – I found they worked perfectly with the size of the heart centre when whole, so it made sense to go for this (much easier!) option. About 6 minutes into the bake, the sweets melted into a very thin liquid that quickly filled the little heart shape.
- Bake the cookies for 7-9 minutes until their edges begin to brown, then remove from the oven. Let the cookies cool for at least 20 minutes before removing from the baking sheet, and store in a cool, dry place before wrapping up as gifts.
* In choosing the shapes and sizes of the cookie cutters, consider how they might fit inside each other. My outer cutters are about 95mm wide and my inner heart cutter is 40mmx40mm.
Happy Baking and Happy Valentine’s!