These stained glass heart sugar cookies combine the soft chewy goodness of a cookie with the exciting hard center of a candy. They are perfect for Valentine’s day, and they package well which makes them excellent for gift giving or for kid’s Valentine exchanging.
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This recipe begins with my Perfectly Cuttable Sugar Cookies recipe which is the perfect starting point for any sugar cookie. With a few simple changes, it becomes these delightfully impressive heart-shaped stained glass cookies.
Before you get started make sure that you have two sizes of cookie cutters. For my cookies, I am using my Wilton Nested Heart cutters.* However, you can do with any shape as long as one cutter fits comfortably inside the other and leaves a reasonable outer edge.
I can get about 30 cookies with these sizes. However, the size and shape of the cutters will greatly affect the number of cookies that you will get.
About the Ingredients:
Choosing specific ingredients can make a big difference in the results. While any brand can typically be used, I am often asked which brands I prefer. So, I like to lay it all out – what I use and why.
This recipe calls for unsalted butter. If you happen to only have salted butter on hand, just remember to leave out the additional salt.
Whenever possible, I prefer to use Land O’ Lakes Premium (extra creamy) unsalted butter. The premium version has a higher fat content which makes cookies super delicious.
If I am unable to get the Premium butter, my fallback is the regular Land O’ Lakes butter. This one is much easier to find in the stores and it is also a very popular choice amongst bakers.
I use Jolly Ranchers hard candies to make the stained glass centers. I haven’t tried other brands of hard candy, but you should be able to use any brand of hard candy as long as it has a semi-transparent color.
You could also make your own candy if you are of a mind to do so. If doing so, I recommend that you complete the candy as normal, then break it up. I tried spooning the hot mixture directly into the cookies once, and the cold cookie dough didn’t play as well with the molten candy.
Techniques and Tips
Use powdered sugar in place of flour if needed to work the dough. It is much nicer than the flour and won’t alter the cookie texture quite as much.
Roll the dough out between two sheets of parchment or wax paper. This greatly reduces the need for flour or powdered sugar.
Pull the dough away from the cutouts as opposed to trying to lift the cut cookies from the dough. It will prevent distortion to your shapes. The parchment paper can then be peeled away from the bottom of the cookies.
The thickness that I like for sugar cookies is 1/4”. This may be a bit thicker than you are used to, but with my recipe, this thickness is just right for maintaining long-lasting softness.
After rolling the dough and before making the first cut, be sure to chill it in the refrigerator. This recipe is best when it is given time to rest. Two to three hours in the fridge is plenty. Overnight is even better. However, I do not recommend speed chilling in the freezer. That cheat doesn’t allow the flavors to meld as well.
Cut the cookies after they have chilled. If the dough becomes too warm and pliable, stick it back in the fridge for an additional 30 minutes. The cookies need to go into the oven cold. You want the fat (butter) in the dough to be solid before baking, otherwise, they may spread.
Storage and Freezing:
You can freeze the dough for up to three months before using it. For quick cooking, cut the dough into cookie shapes, then layer with wax or parchment paper between cookies. Remove as needed and bake straight from the freezer. Likewise, the cookies can be frozen after baking for up to three months.
To maintain freshness, store baked cookies in an airtight container for up to a week. They will easily maintain their softness for this length of time. Keep out what you think will be eaten and freeze the remainder.
More Valentine Posts for You to Read:
Use my easy cuttable sugar cookie recipe to make two-toned heart cookies!
- 2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 c granulated sugar
- 3/4 c unsalted butter room temp
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- confectioners sugar (as needed)
- About 30 Red or Pink Jolly Rancher's Candy (crushed)
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Place several candy pieces in a small ziplok bad and break into small shards with a mallet or hammer.
- Cream together softened butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in vanilla and eggs. Blend until smooth.
- Gradually add dry ingredients to wet ingredients while blending on low speed. Continue blending just until all flour is incorporated. Do not over-mix.
- Place dough on parchment paper or wax paper. Cover with a second sheet of paper. Using a rolling pin, roll dough into 1/8” thickness. Sprinkle dough with confectioners sugar (as needed) in lieu of paper. Place rolled dough in the refrigerator for between 2 hrs - 24 hrs.
- Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator. Cut three inch hearts. Using a smaller cookie cutter, remove the centers of the heart shapes. Transfer cookies to parchment covered cookie sheet. Then spoon candy into centers.
- Bake at 375 Farenheight in a preheated oven for 7-8 min. Remove cookies when the dough is no longer shiny and candy has melted but before candy started to bubble. Leave on sheets to allow cookies to cool.
Store cookies in airtight container to retain freshness.
Cookies may be frozen for up to 3 months after cooling or freeze cookie dough prior to cooking.