Christmas without cookies? Not possible! Here’s something absolutely lip-smacking for all you cookie monsters out there!
The cookie tradition dates back to Europe during medieval times. A variety of cookies such as the Lebkuchen in Switzerland and Germany, the Norwegian krumkake, the Swedish pepparkakor, the Danish brunkager, the Dutch speculoos continue to be made especially for St. Nicholas Day.
My favourite choice of cookie to bake at this time of the year is the humble ‘shortbread’. However, my little ‘Cookie Monster’ at home wanted something more exciting. “How about Aquarium cookies?” he asked me. “Why not?” I thought to myself.
In case you’re wondering what an Aquarium cookie is, it’s essentially a cookie sandwich made with two stained glass cookies. Stained glass cookies jazz up the humble shortbread by adding in a centre of molten candy. This gives the cookie its transparency, just like an aquarium has. Sandwiched in between are cake or cookie decorations. So here we go!
- 1 cup softened unsalted butter
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 2.5 cups flour
- approximately 20 pieces of hard candy in different colors, crushed
- sprinkles and decorations, to taste
- ¼ cup of melted white chocolate
- Mix softened butter and sugar until well combined.
- Sift in the flour and mix it in with a spatula. Put the mixture on a clean surface and knead it for a minute till it comes together like a dough.
- Cover the dough with cling film (divided it into two portions) and let it rest in a refrigerator for a minimum of half an hour. We now have prepared a basic 3-ingredient shortbread cookie dough.
- Preheat the oven to 160˚C. Dust your rolling pin and work surface with flour to avoid the dough from sticking. Use one portion of dough, keeping the other half in the refrigerator. Roll out the dough to approximately ¼ inch thickness. Using a big cookie cutter, cut out the dough. Using a smaller cookie cutter, cut out the centre of each cookie.
[Tip: After rolling and cutting out cookies, the dough tends to get a bit warmer and soft to handle sometimes. Then wrap the rest of the dough in the cling film, put it back in the fridge and switch to the cooler dough resting in the fridge]
- Place the cookies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes.
- Take out the sheet from the oven and place the crushed hard candies (single or mixed colours) in the centre of each cookie. Bake for about 5 more minutes or until the hard candy melts and spreads out.
- Let the cookies cool completely before taking them off the parchment paper to avoid the candy centre from breaking. These are your beautiful stained glass cookies.
- With the double boiler method (explained ahead), melt the white chocolate.
- The double boiled method entails the following: take a big pot with boiling hot water and a smaller pot containing the white chocolate pieces. Fit the smaller pot on top of the bigger pot. Keep stirring the chocolate pieces until they melt with the heat from the boiling water underneath. When molten, keep aside.
- To assemble the cookie sandwich, add your favourite sprinkles in the centre (on the candy surface) of the bottom cookie and melted white chocolate on the sides. Immediately place the top cookie and keep aside for about 10-15 minutes. Shake the gorgeous aquarium cookie to watch the sprinkles dance within.
P.S. This treat is one for those with a big sweet tooth. If you prefer something less sweet, stop at the stained glass cookie stage and enjoy the home bakes.
Disclaimer: Opinions and methods expressed are solely of the writer. Namaste Switzerland does not undertake any obligation or liability which may arise from the content.