Hi everyone, I'm finally back! Thanks to all of you who left comments on my last post; I really appreciated the suggestions :). I'll write about Paris (desserts!) in a future post, but right now I already seem to be behind after my two month break, so let me start off by sharing a cookie I baked back in June, at the beginning of the summer.
Stained Sunglasses Cookies, with cookie frames and candy lenses. They're a twist on the stained glass cookies that are made during the holiday season, adapted for summer. Colorful, crushed candy pieces melt to become lenses as the sunglasses frame cookies bake. After cooling, the eyepieces are "glued" onto the frames with semisweet or white chocolate to finish off these playful, edible sunglasses.
The fun part about these is how customizable they are. I used images of interesting sunglasses: red heart lenses, Lady Gaga's Mickey shades, funky star glasses, the popular oversized black lenses, trendy round shades, and even the old school 3D glasses for the patterns. The dough can be dyed with food coloring to change the frame coloring, while an assortment of hard candy can vary the lens tinting. By the way, the larger actual sunglasses-sized cookies are actually easier to make than the smaller ones, but in the end, they're all worth it.
Stained Glass Cookies
adapted from Erica OBrien
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg, room temperature
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
30-40 hard candies (lifesavers, jolly ranchers, root beer barrels)
food coloring (red or black)
Mix the dry ingredients, the flour, salt, and baking powder together. Set aside for now. Cream the butter and the two sugars. Add the corn syrup. Mix in the egg, followed by the vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients until incorporated. Split the dough in thirds, tinting one third with red food coloring, another third with black food coloring, and leaving the last third plain (or whatever color combination you prefer). Then wrap each third in plastic wrap, flattening them into discs. Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour.
While waiting, unwrap the candies and divide them up by color. Place the candy in plastic bags and wrap them with paper towels. Take a mallet and crush the candies. Transfer the small candy pieces to bowls and cover the bowls with plastic wrap until ready to use (some candy tends to get sticky and clump together when left out in the air). Preheat the oven to 375°F. Take out one dough disc and sandwich it between two pieces of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough to 1/8" for the small sunglasses or 1/4" for the large sunglasses.
Cut out the paper stencils provided below. Lightly oil the stencils before use so the paper doesn't stick to the dough. Use a knife to cut out the eyepiece stencils on the dough first (without cutting the lens holes yet). Transfer the cut out pieces onto parchment lined baking sheets. Gather dough scraps in a ball and refrigerate till chilled enough to cut. Place the baking sheets with the cutouts in the fridge for 10 minutes or until the dough is chilled. Take out the sheets and carefully cut out the lens holes on all the eyepieces and any embellishments with a knife (the small sunglasses lens holes should be estimated, no stencils provided for lens hole). Fill the lens holes with pieces of candy. Avoid getting candy on the dough. Chill the baking sheets again.
While waiting, cut out the right and left earpieces (flip over the provided earpiece pattern to cut the other earpiece) and transfer them to a parchment lined baking sheet. Chill the sheet of earpieces. Bake the eyepiece cutouts until the cookies are firm and barely browned (5-7 minute for small sunglasses and 7-10 minutes for large sunglasses). Let cool on sheets for 1 minute before transferring the parchment to a cooling rack. Then bake the earpiece cutouts (4-6 minute for small sunglasses and 5-8 minutes for large sunglasses). Let cool on sheets for 1 minute before transferring the parchment to a cooling rack. Once cooled, carefully pull the cookies off the parchment.