gingerbread house. And it was a lot easier than I had feared ... and they look great! I used a variation on this stained glass recipe. They've gone through all the trouble over many years perfecting the method. Fantastic!
Gingerbread House Stained Glass Windows
Makes enough for 10+ 1" square windows
3/4 cups (7 oz) sugar
3/8 cups light (color) corn syrup
1/4 cup water
food coloring as desired (a few drops goes a long way!)
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and then simmer until a thermometer reads 260 F, stirring frequently. (You're supposed to use a candy thermometer, but I used a instant-read meat thermometer and that worked just fine.) Note that this takes quite a bit longer than I expected ... probably about 15 minutes of simmering. As the original recipe notes, you can test if the syrup is the right temperature by spooning a bit onto some aluminum foil. When it's the right temperature, it should set up fairly solid within a couple of minutes. If it's too cool it'll just sit there as gloop.
While it is cooking, lay out the pieces with window holes on a foil-lined baking sheet. These can be outside-up or inside-up depending on whether you want the windows to be flush with the outer wall or inset slightly.
When the syrup is ready, transfer to a pyrex measuring glass and stir in a few drops of food coloring. (If you want multiple colors, you can split the syrup among multiple measuring glasses). Carefully pour the syrup into each window hole. (Please be careful: it's hot!) If you have any remaining syrup, I recommend pouring onto a foil surface before it sets in the measuring glass and gets exponentially harder to clean.
The windows should be fully set within half an hour (maybe we were too conservative and they can be picked up sooner). Carefully peel the gingerbread walls with new windows off the foil.
To clean, soak the measuring glass in very hot water. Be patient, the syrup will dissolve.
All pictures copyright Rebecca Stanek, all rights reserved.