Something that I remember very clearly about Christmas growing up was the time I spent in the kitchen helping my mum. So now I have a kitchen assistant myself (no – I don’t have a child, I have a little half sister who I borrow from time to time), I often find myself thinking about child-friendly recipes.
Unfortunately, after slaving away in the kitchen last night, I have to announce that Mary Berry’s stained-glass window biscuits are NOT a child friendly recipe. I had seen these done many times before in books and magazines, but had never had a go at them myself. At first glance, I thought to myself, “Ooo! How pretty! And colourful! And festive! And biscuits are straight-forward, right?” WRONG.
There’s no denying that I rather enjoyed making these, but I do not recommend using a mini-human as your kitchen sidekick. The boiled sweets take serious muscle to crush, the pastry is very buttery and therefore not that easy to work with, and transferring flimsy uncooked cut-outs to a baking tray isn’t a task for the faint-hearted.
The part that will annoy your kitchen assistant the most? The fact that you need to let them cool COMPLETELY before consuming, because the boiled sweets which have melted to form “stained-glass windows” are extremely hot and sticky when they emerge from the oven so you need to allow time for them to set. From my experience, kids have negative amounts of patience, and just want to eat things immediately. So I suggest selecting a different recipe if you are using a trusty assistant….perhaps the cranberry, ginger & white chocolate cookies from The First Bake of Christmas!
These biscuits are delicious and they look beautiful, so despite their PG13 rating, I think they are definitely worth a go. They would be perfect as a gift in a pretty Christmas box! Merry baking y’all!
Preheat oven to 160°C
175g butter, softened
100g caster sugar
225g plain flour
About 20 boiled sweets (in different colours)
1/ Line two baking sheets with non-stick baking paper. You will need a large star or other Christmas cutters.
2/ Mix together the butter and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Add the flour and bring the dough together by hand. Rest in the fridge for 30 mins.
3/ Roll dough out on a lightly floured work surface until it’s about 0.5cm (¼in) thick. Use your large cutter to cut out the shapes. If you have a small version of your chosen cutter use this to cut the middle out of each shape, otherwise do it by hand, leaving about 1cm (½in) of biscuit around the edge. Arrange on the baking sheets.
4/ Separate the boiled sweets into their colours and put them in plastic bags (one colour in each bag). Crush using a rolling pin until they’re fine grains, and sprinkle these grains in the middle of each biscuit.
5/ Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the biscuits are a pale gold and the sweets inside them have melted.
6/ Leave to cool on the trays for about 5 minutes to cool slightly, then carefully transfer to a wire rack and leave to cool completely and firm up.