Four or five years ago, I was baking cookies for Christmas and my son (who was 10 or 11 at the time) was helping. Although they are not a traditional Christmas cookie, I was making some peanut butter cookies because both my son and my husband love them, but I don’t really like them so I figured I wouldn’t eat so many.
As I was putting the cookies on the cookie sheet my son said we should put Jelly Belly jelly beans in them. I looked at him a bit skeptically. I don’t usually like to discourage my son from trying new things, but quite frankly Jelly Bellys in peanut butter cookies sounded disgusting. I tried to talk him out of it, but he was insistent (a trait he has yet to outgrow). So I gave in and said we could put Jelly Bellys in the cookies on one cookie sheet.
And thus Stained Glass Cookies were invented. They have been an annual tradition ever since. Interestingly, even though I still don’t like plain peanut butter cookies I do like these.
If you don’t know what Jelly Belly jelly beans are, click here to visit their website. They are a “gourmet” jelly bean and they come in a ton of flavors. You can even get them in bulk (so you can select the flavors you want) at places like Fred Meyer here in the Pacific Northwest. They are much better than and have a different consistency than regular jelly beans, so do not try to substitute regular jelly beans in this recipe.
Even though they come in so many flavors, for purposes of Stained Glass cookies it is not the flavors you choose that is important. Rather, you have to use the ones that are more transparent. Flavors like 7Up, A&W Cream Soda, Berry Blue, Crushed Pineapple, and Lemon Lime (yes, lemon lime and peanut butter) work well. Flavors like Chocolate Pudding, Cinnamon, Grape Jelly, Dr. Pepper, Island Punch, and Mixed Berry Smoothy do not. The reason the darker, more opaque flavors don’t work is that they don’t end up looking like stained glass.
Okay, now to the recipe, which is extremely simple.
Stained Glass Cookies
1 package Betty Crocker peanut butter cookie mix
Ingredients required for cookie mix:
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp vegetable oil
108 to 180 translucent Jelly Belly jelly beans
Handful of flour
Mix cookie dough according to package directions. Roll the dough into 36 1-inch balls. Place them on 12 to a sheet on silpat lined cookie sheets. Press them flat to 1/4 inch thick with the flat bottom of a glass. Rub the bottom of the glass in a little flour every few cookies to keep it from sticking. Arrange 3 to 5 Jelly Belly jelly beans in random patterns on each cookie and press down until they touch the cookie sheet. Bake according to the package directions.
Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet a few minutes before removing. We called these Stained Glass cookies because of how they look if you hold them up to the light.
Note: If you have a peanut butter cookie recipe you love and the time to make it, this recipe will probably still work out, but I like the mix and it saves a lot of time. I’ve had peanut butter cookies that are very dry and I don’t think dry ones would hold together as well with the Jelly Bellys in the middle. The Betty Crocker mix makes a very moist peanut butter cookie. You can also make these with sugar cookies, but in our house the tradition began with peanut butter cookies so we are keeping it that way.