Santa Claus Cookies
|Basic Cookie Mix:|
|1 ¼||cups shortening|
|¾||cup unsalted butter, softened|
In a large bowl, blend flour, shortening, butter, and salt with a pastry blender to form a crumbly cookie mix. Store cookie mix in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 1 week.
|2 ½||cups cookie mix|
|1 ½||teaspoons baking powder|
|1||teaspoon lemon zest|
|1 ½||teaspoons vanilla|
In a large bowl, stir together cookie mix, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, vanilla, and egg to form a soft dough. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll the cookie dough out on a floured pastry cloth to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut with a 3-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter and transfer to a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake the cookies in a preheated oven 8 to 9 minutes, or until they are firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then decorate with frosting.
|4||tablespoons butter, softened|
|3||cups confectioners sugar|
|red food coloring|
|red and blue M&M’s, for garnish|
Beat butter and 1 cup of the confectioners sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Add 2 tablespoons of milk, beat well; then beat in the remaining confectioners sugar, milk, and vanilla to form a stiff frosting.
Transfer ¾ of the frosting to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Add enough food coloring to the remaining frosting to tint it red and blend well. Spoon red frosting into another pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
Turn the heart-shaped cookies around so the pointed end is at the top. Place a small swirl of frosting in the middle and top with a red M&M for Santa’s nose. Use white frosting to form Santa’s mustache and beard, then place 2 small swirls of frosting above the beard and top with blue M&M’s for Santa’s eyes. Add a swirl of white frosting over the upper part of each eye for Santa’s eyebrows. Pipe red frosting at the pointed end to form Santa’s hat, and add a small swirl of white for the furry ball at the tip of the hat.