I first discovered this recipe in my Better Homes & Gardens 100 Best Cookies magazine last year around Christmastime and decided that they were something that i had to try. They're actually called "Sugar Cookie Cutouts" in the magazine, but look like pretty stained glass. They looked so gorgeous in the magazine picture, but this recipe was definitely the most problem-recipe I used this Christmas. After making the recipe that came with it though, I think next time I'll use my never-fails-me-sugar-cookie-recipe for the cookie part. This recipe made dough that was way too soft to handle (even after adding extra flour), and the cookies spread to much during baking (even after re-chilling the cutouts right before baking. Oh, and next time I'll use smaller cut-outs too - the large ones were pretty, but there was definitely too much candy in the cookie. These ones were definitely more for decoration than for eating.
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
Crushed Jolly Ranchers, Lifesavers, Butterscotch, etc. (I used Jolly Ranchers and some leftover Butterscotch candies I had in the pantry)
Meringue Powder Icing
In a medium mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and a dash of salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Cover; chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 375°. Line a cookie sheet with foil and spray with the foil with cooking spray. On a lightly floured surface roll one portion of the dough at a time to a 1/4" thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Place cutouts on lined cookie sheet. Using small cookie cutters or hors d'eouvre or fondant cutters, cut shapes from the center of the cookie. Fill cutouts with crushed candies (be careful not to get candies onto the cookie where you don't want them or they will bake into it).
Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are firm and bottoms are very light brown. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. Frost cookies with Meringue Powder Icing.
CREDIT: Better Homes & Gardens Special Interest Publication - "100 Best Cookies - Our Most Popular Holiday Recipes", p.106, c. 2007