Ever since my mother-in-law shared her Cathedral Windows Recipe with me, it’s been one of my favorite things to make at Easter and Christmas. It’s such an easy recipe and turns out so pretty!
Sometimes called cathedral window cookies, church windows, or cathedral window candy, we simply call them “cathedral windows” — a name just as simple as the recipe!
How I Got This Cathedral Windows Recipe
One of the great bonuses that came with marrying my husband was that my immediate family expanded exponentially immediately and with them came years of traditions and time-tested recipes. For those of you who are regular readers, you might assume I am being my typical sarcastic self, but I assure you I am entirely sincere on this matter.
My mother prides herself on being a professional, working woman and she is one of the hardest working women I know. However, she had no proclivity for anything remotely domestic so I grew up believing frozen dinners and grilled cheese sandwiches were gourmet meals.
And I honestly didn’t know you could make mashed potatoes from actual potatoes until my mother-in-law introduced me to the technique that did not involve adding water and butter to potato buds from a box.
So, along with a newly expanded family (my husband is one of 14 children), came decades of holiday traditions, many of them involving favorite family recipes. They make a variety of delicious recipes and sweet treats at Christmas, one of which were these Cathedral Windows, which I found both beautiful and delicious.
The problem with making Cathedral Windows at Christmas is that it is VERY difficult to find the colored marshmallows at Christmas. The colored marshmallows are essential since the whole point is to make the cookies look like stained glass windows.
No, the time to buy pastel colored marshmallows is during the Easter season. And since Easter is the other time of year (other than Christmas) when most people attend church, this Cathedral Windows recipe is as appropriate as an Easter recipe.
How to Make Cathedral Windows
The great thing about this recipe is that it only calls for 4 ingredients. Actually, the family recipe also includes chopped nuts, but my kids prefer it without them.
- Semisweet chocolate chips
- Colored mini marshmallows
- Flaked coconut (optional)
You’ll notice there is no sweetened condensed milk. Some versions of this recipe call for it but I’ve found it’s harder to form and slice the log when it’s included.
Plus, you won’t miss all the added calories and fat! Sweetened condensed milk also adds a lot of carbohydrates and the negligible protein it would provide certainly doesn’t outweigh the drawbacks.
First, place chocolate chips and butter in a saucepan or in a microwaveable bowl. My mother-in-law does the saucepan method. I use the microwave.
Melt (stirring frequently) until all the chocolate and butter is melted and the mixture has a smooth consistency.
Next, place colored marshmallows in a large bowl. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture.
Do NOT pour the marshmallows into the chocolate to try and save time and a dirty dish. The marshmallows will melt and you won’t get the beautiful stained glass effect.
Fold chocolate into marshmallows and stir well until all marshmallows are coated in chocolate.
Lay out a piece of wax paper and sprinkle coconut in a long, wide strip down the center of the wax paper. Mold the chocolate marshmallow mixture into a log and lay it directly onto the strip of coconut.
Gently roll the log back and forth to coat sides in coconut. Sprinkle additional coconut along the top of the log.
Roll tightly in the wax paper.
Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. When you remove the wax paper, it should look like this:
When ready, unroll and cut the log into 1/2 inch slices.
Now you can see the Cathedral Window effect.
NOTE: If you want to skip the trouble of forming the log, you can use rectangular containers like a long bread loaf pan instead.
Cathedral Windows Recipe
- 1 stick butter
- 1 12 oz pkg semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 10 1/2 oz pkg colored mini marshmallows
- 1 cup chopped nuts optional
- 1 3 1/2 oz pkg flaked coconut optional
- Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat or in microwave.
- Place marshmallows (and nuts, if desired) in a large bowl.
- Fold chocolate mixture into marshmallows until all marshmallows are coated.
- Lay out a strip of wax paper. Sprinkle coconut (if desired) in a long, wide strip down the length of the wax paper.
- Shape chocolate marshmallow mixture into a log and lay on top of the coconut strip (or down the center of the wax paper if you don’t use the coconut). Roll back and forth to coat in coconut and sprinkle additional coconut on top.
- Wrap wax paper tightly around the log and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
- When ready to serve, slice log into 1/2 inch slices.
More Cathedral Window Ideas
Another popular dessert that plays on the visual appeal of stained glass is cathedral window gelatin (also known as cathedral window jelly). It’s a filipino dessert made with flavored gelatin, whipping cream, pineapple juice, condensed milk and unflavored gelatin, the end result is a beautiful display of colors!
You can also make stained glass candy with water, sugar, corn syrup and food coloring. Have fun with the flavors by using different flavored oil.