Secret Message Decoder Cookies

Having a house full of boys, sometimes it is hard to know what will please them for Valentine's day. Many things they feel are too girly. These cookies, however, appeal to boys as well as girls. These are a version of the stained-glass cookies I made here. I have also seen them versions of them several places on the blogosphere (Suzie J and Family Fun to name a few.)

2 cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting

1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (If I am using cherry candies, almond extract instead compliments it well.)
About 50 assorted clear colored hard candies such as Lifesavers or
Parchment paper
Two heart-shaped cookie cutters. One big, and one small.

Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs; beat until smooth, 1 minute.
Mix together flour and dry ingredients in a separate bowl, and slowly add to butter mixture. Stir in flavoring extract. Place mixing bowl in refrigerator for at least 45 minutes. Don’t skip this step as it keeps the dough from melting and losing shape.

Meanwhile, unwrap the candies, and place candies in a plastic bag, and begin hammering it with a mallet.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Remove cookie dough from refrigerator, and roll out to 1/4-inch thickness. This is a bit of a sticky dough so use plenty of  flour to keep the dough from sticking. It does make rolling it out repeatedly easier.

Use the large hearts to cut the cookies. Using a spatula, move the cut cookies to a parchment-lined baking sheet, about 1 inch apart. Once the cookies are on the baking sheet, use the smaller heart to cut out the space for the candies. Sprinkle broken candies into centers, being careful not to let the candies lay on top of your cookies, which may be easier said than done if you have little ones helping you.
You can either cook the baby hearts, or use them to roll out more dough for cookies.
If your dough is particularly soft and you do have that kind of space in your refrigerator, you can put the baking sheet into the refrigerator to chill the dough for about 15 minutes, but I never do and they come out fine. Perhaps necessary in hot/damp climates.

Place baking sheet in oven, and cook for about 8-10 minutes. The trick is not to let the cookies brown, as the stained glass windows will turn out bubbly and not clear. I know it is hard to fight that instinct.
Check your cookies half-way through. If a few cookies do not have enough candy to reach the edges of the cookies, just add a few more pieces of candy to the centers, and they melted very fast with the rest of the candy.

Now, here is the fun part. The part that appeals to boys. Make a message. Any kind of message. But write it with a light-blue fine point marker. Then, using orange, red, and pink markers write all over the message and the rest of the paper. Make doodle shapes, scribbles, or words. Make sure you doodle right over your secret message because when you take one of your red centered heart cookies, they will become a decoder cookie and will reveal your secret message and everything else will disappear!
photo from Family Fun

  How cool is that?


  1. I love the name. Sounds like a treat that kids will go crazy over. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by and link these neat cookies up.


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