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Rose Windows and Christmas Baking

Just a few days ago we spent a morning looking though all the Christmas cards we had received this year and were particularly taken with an image of a stained glass window by Chagall.

Moved and inspired by its magnificent and monumental iconography we decided to make good use of an old packet of boiled sweets and bake some stained glass window biscuits for the tree.

We put on some ear defenders and the sweets were lined up on the table and crushed by multiple blows from an industrial sized hammer in a shocking and frenzied act of violence that lasted several minutes more than was reasonably necessary. Then we made the biscuits.

When they were cooked, and had cooled down, we hung the little windows on the tree, switched on the lights and marvelled at their exquisite beauty as the fairy lights illuminated their rosy glass centres.

On Christmas day as we ate dinner and admired the tree it soon became clear that the biscuit’s portholes were not designed to withstand the thermal shock of cooking a roast dinner in such close proximity.

In the heat of the kitchen, under the immense pressure of staging a perfect Christmas, the rose tinted lenses had steamed up and were starting to perspire as little pink droplets trickled down their frames. Our tiny sugar coated windows of opportunity were melting away and leaving a nasty sticky mess on the floor.

So we got up and ate them; crunching our way through a confection of strawberry flavoured Christianity that was melting in front of us.

When we’d finished we returned to the dinner table; a group of 21st century iconoclasts in paper crowns, cracking jokes and feasting like kings.


How to Make Stained Glass Window Biscuits


  • 350g/12oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 100g/3½oz butter or margarine
  • 175g/6oz sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup
  • packet fruit-flavoured boiled sweets

 Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
  2. Mix the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ginger together in a bowl.
  3. Rub in the butter or margarine until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar.
  4. In another bowl, beat together the egg and golden syrup, then pour this mixture into the flour mixture and mix to make a smooth dough, kneading lightly with your hands.
  5. Crush the sweets in their wrappers using a rolling pin. (not an industrial sized hammer)
  6. Roll the dough out on a floured work surface to about 0.5cm/¼in thick, then cut into shapes using a selection of cookie cutters. Transfer the biscuits to baking sheets lined with baking paper.
  7. Cut out shapes in the centre of each biscuit, making sure you leave a good edge all around the biscuit. Completely fill the hole in each biscuit with crushed boiled sweets.
  8. Make a hole at the top of each biscuit using a drinking straw so that you will be able to thread a ribbon through it later. Bake the biscuits in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  9. Remove the biscuits from the oven. While they’re still warm, check that the holes are still there – if not, push a straw through again. Do not remove the biscuits from the baking tray until they have cooled because the boiled sweets need to harden. Once the sweets have hardened, gently lift the biscuits onto a wire rack with a palette knife to finish cooling.
  10. If you like, you can decorate the biscuits with piped white icing. Thread ribbons through the holes in the biscuits to make loops for hanging from the tree.


This recipe was found here:

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