- 6 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/3 cup vegetable shortening
- 3/4 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour*
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup Dixie Crystals Extra Fine Granulated Sugar
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon red or green food coloring
- 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cherry or lime hard candy flavoring
*Spoon & Sweep method: Use a spoon to fill measuring cup with flour until required amount is obtained. Scooping measuring cup directly into flour bag will firmly pack flour resulting in too much flour required for recipe.
- Cream butter with shortening and sugar until very light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Then blend in the vanilla extract and milk.
- Whisk flour with the baking powder and salt and gradually stir into batter. Gather dough into a ball, cover and chill well, at least 3 hours or overnight, if desired.
TO BAKE COOKIES
- Divide dough in half and roll out to a 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured board. Cut into desired shapes and place about 1/2 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Using canape cutters, cut shapes from centers of cookies to create a window effect for candy "jewels". Gather scraps together and refrigerate while rolling and cutting out the remaining half of dough. Continue until all dough has been used.
- Preheat oven to 375°F and bake cookies on center rack for 8 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges. Do not overbrown.
- Cool cookies on their sheets about 1 minute, then loosen and remove to a rack to cool thoroughly. Cooled cookies can be stored in an airtight container several days at room temperature or frozen up to 1 month if baked ahead.
TO PREPARE JEWEL CENTERS
- Line flat baking sheets smoothly with tin foil and arrange cookies top side up on foil. Stir sugar together with corn syrup and water in a large heavy gauge saucepan. The sugar will not dissolve at this point, so just blend mixture.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat without stirring. Wash sugar crystals from the side of saucepan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. Insert a candy thermometer and continue boiling without stirring until mixture reaches 300°F. Remove from heat and stir in food coloring and candy flavoring, or divide mixture in half and flavor/color with half of the tint/flavoring.
- Hold mixture over a medium to medium-low heat setting to keep liquid. If mixture begins to harden in the saucepan, simply reheat to melt. Using a small teaspoon, drizzle liquid candy mixture carefully into the "window" of each cookie. Allow cookies to stand undisturbed about 20 minutes or until candy centers are hard. Twist cookies gently to loosen candy from the foil.
- Keep fingerprints off candy centers by handling cookies only around their edges.
Hint: If you do not plan on devouring your decorations, you can speed up the decorating process by attaching the lace, ribbons and bows with a hot glue gun instead of royal icing. After all, even a jolly Elf can turn into Scrooge when the pressure is on and the clock is ticking!
Recipe from Homemade Good News 1994 Volume XIV.