PAINTED SUGAR COOKIES

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These are fun to make, and you can get the kids to paint their own designs on the cut-out cookies before they are baked. You'll need some clean paintbrushes.

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, at room temperature

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

Recommended: Christmas cookies for everyone on your list

1/2 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Corn Syrup Paint:

4 teaspoons corn syrup

1 teaspoon water

Four different paste colors or liquid food color

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, cream the butter, shortening, and sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until light.

In a small bowl, stir the baking soda, salt, and flour together. Stir the dry ingredients into the creamed ingredients until well mixed. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Divide the dough in half. Rewrap half the dough and return to the refrigerator until you are finished with the first half. Roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Cut the cookies with a cookie cutter of any design and place on ungreased cookie sheets, about 2 inches apart.

Put 1 teaspoon corn syrup and 1/4 teaspoon water into each of 4 different custard cups. Tint each of the four mixtures with food color. Stir each well. Paint designs on the unbaked cookies, using small paintbrushes. (Or, if you prefer, decorate with colored sprinkles and tiny candies.)

Bake for 9 to 20 minutes or until the cookies are light brown. Remove the cookies with a spatula and cool on a wire rack.

Makes about 60 cookies.

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