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Easy To Make Cathedral Windows Recipe With Pictures

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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!

Cathedral Windows chocolate marshmallow dessert with title text reading Cathedral Windows

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.

cathedral windows cookies make with chocolate and colored marshmallows

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.


  • Butter
  • Semisweet chocolate chips
  • Colored mini marshmallows
  • Flaked coconut (optional)
white bowls full of colored marshmallows, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, and a stick of butter

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.

chocolate chips and butter in a green bowl

Melt (stirring frequently) until all the chocolate and butter is melted and the mixture has a smooth consistency.

chocolate chips and melted butter in a green bowl being stirred with a spatula

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.

a spatula folding the chocolate mixture into a bowl of colored marshmallows

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.

marshmallow chocolate mixture on shredded coconut on waxed paper

Gently roll the log back and forth to coat sides in coconut.  Sprinkle additional coconut along the top of the log.

marshmallow chocolate mixture on shredded coconut on waxed paper, topped with more shredded coconut

Roll tightly in the wax paper.

cathedral window dessert wrapped up in wax paper

Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.  When you remove the wax paper, it should look like this:

roll of cathedral window dessert

When ready, unroll and cut the log into 1/2 inch slices.

Cathedral Windows being Sliced by a knife on a wooden cutting board

Now you can see the Cathedral Window effect.

sliced cathedral windows next to a knife on a wooden cutting board

NOTE: If you want to skip the trouble of forming the log, you can use rectangular containers like a long bread loaf pan instead.

📋 Recipe

Cathedral Windows Recipe

Corinne Schmitt
Bright, sweet and chocolatey. Could it get any better?
5 from 44 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 199 kcal


  • 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.


Calories: 199kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 2gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 101mgPotassium: 64mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 353IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 18mgIron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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.

13 thoughts on “Easy To Make Cathedral Windows Recipe With Pictures”

  1. 5 stars
    My Granny and I made these every Christmas and Easter growing up! She got the original recipe from her Grandmother, including how to make the marshmallows yourself. This is the 1st one I’ve seen close enough to Granny’s. Only difference was she sliced almonds and sprinkled throughout to make it look the metal frames in the the windows and molded them into meatloaf pans to be square shaped.
    Thank you so very much for keeping this simple classic tradition alive. <3<3<3

    • Thanks for sharing that memory with us, it’s such a special memory. That’s neat she used to make the marshmallows herself! I like the idea of the almonds to look like window frames. Thank you for commenting.

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  4. These are the Bomb! I have made these numerous times with different stuff mixed in, with plain marshmallows to colored, marchino cherries, chopped nuts. It’s so good. I recommend every one try! Besides it’s easy!!

  5. This got to be the easiest treat to make. I like easy recipe. This looks so good! I am going to make this, this weekend.

  6. I’m with Tamara on the coconut thing, my kids don’t eat that, but how about some powdered sugar instead? No time like Easter for a giant sugar rush in our house… maybe I can feed them this and then shove my chore list in front of them, and get some work out of the energy! Any suggestions on getting your kids to do their chores daily without constantly nagging them??? I think if you got me the answer to that we could rule the world!!! Truthfully though, thanks for the recipe idea I’d like to try something new.

  7. Those look yummy, May have to find something instead of the coconut tho my family isn’t fans of it. thank you for sharing.

    • Tamara, you can omit the coconut completely or if you REALLY like nuts, you could substitute finely chopped nuts. Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Oh these look so good – I’d eat so many that I would have to earn the 30,000 step badge on my FitBit the next day! Maybe my friends and I can start a step competition after eating a few of these yummy treats.


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