Stained Glass Biscuits (makes 15 – 20)
Children will love helping you make these delicious biscuits. They double as a festive decoration –why not display them threaded on a ribbon and let the light sparkle through their delicate, transparent centres? They’d also make original presents – or pretty additions to your Christmas tree, if you can resist them!
8oz (225g) plain flour
6oz (170g) margarine or butter
4oz (100g) sugar
¼lb (100g) boiled sweets in assorted bright colours
Pinch of cinnamon or ginger for a Christmassy flavour (optional)
You’ll also need:
- Pastry cutters in different sizes – for an arched window shape, make a template from a scrap of card
- Baking parchment / non-stick greaseproof paper
- Cocktail stick or drinking straw
Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 160° C (140° C for fan ovens, mark 3 for gas)
Cream sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl until soft and smooth, gradually blending in flour (and spice, if used). Adjust the consistency if necessary by adding a little more flour or water to obtain a smooth, elastic dough.
Lightly dust your rolling pin and board, and roll the dough out to about ¼” thick (0.5cm).
Create the outer shape of your biscuit with a large pastry cutter. Stamp out a “window” in the centre of each with a smaller cutter, making sure to leave a margin of about ½” (1cm). Alternatively, cut out by hand around a cardboard template. Bring the dough leavings together, re-roll and repeat until it’s all used up. Lift the cut shapes carefully with a spatula and slide them onto a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. At the top of each biscuit, make a little hole with a cocktail stick or drinking straw for hanging.
Divide the boiled sweets into colours, putting each batch into a separate plastic bag. Roughly break them with a few smart taps of the rolling-pin, then roll the bags out firmly until the sweets inside are finely powdered.
With a teaspoon, completely fill each “window” with sweet powder, completely covering the backing paper. Use your creativity! Single shades have a jewel-like sparkle, or try contrasting colours side-by-side – particularly effective in church window-shaped biscuits.
Pop the biscuits in the oven and cook for approximately 12 minutes. As they bake, the sweet crystals will melt and spread forming a transparent layer. Take them out when the outsides are lightly golden.
Leave on the tray to cool and firm up. Then carefully ease the biscuits away from the backing sheet, tie a pretty ribbon or coloured thread through the hole, and stand by for compliments!