Sunday, December 18, 2011
Through the Window: Stained Glass Cookies
When I was younger, I made up stories about the people in those houses. I gave them dialogue. I imagined what they were having for dinner. Their lives were mostly more perfect than mine was.
Now, the older, wiser me knows that you can't know what someone is thinking, or feeling, or experiencing, just by looking in the windows. Even if the lights are on and you can see them, admire the color of their living room and their taste in wall sconces, see what they're watching on TV ... you never have the full story, and you certainly can't know what is going on in their heads. I've known people who lived next to victims of domestic violence for years, and never guessed what was happening. On the flip side, I've known people who didn't even realize that their next door neighbor was pregnant until after the baby arrived.
The same is true for anything. Facebook (which is a pretty self-selected public persona). Blogs (ditto: remember Trey Pennington?). Even reality TV (Michelle Duggar comes to mind). Just because we think we can see every lovely or sordid moment of someone's life doesn't mean we know them. Or can understand them. Or feel their pain. Or can speak on their behalf. Or that we have the power and right to judge them. The fact is, we simply don't have all of the evidence.
These cookies come out like beautiful stained glass windows. They taste wonderful. But don't try to look through them. Because everything you see will be colored by Jolly Ranchers.
Stained Glass Cookies
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
7 ounces assorted clear colored hard candies, such as Jolly Rancher, colors separated and finely chopped (about 30)
Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl; set aside.
Put butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until smooth, 1 minute.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and mix until combined. Stir in vanilla.Wrap dough in plastic, and refrigerate until cold, about 45 minutes.
Sprinkle candy in a single layer in hole of each cookie, avoiding edges of triangle. Refrigerate until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.
Bake cookies until candy has melted and completely filled cutout and cookie edges are just starting to turn pale golden brown, 11 to 12 minutes. Do not let the cookies brown, or the candy centers may become bubbly. Let cool completely on sheets on wire racks. Use a metal spatula to remove cookies from parchment.