Festive Holiday Cookies


For the Cookies

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

half an 8 Oz. package cream cheese, softened

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cups All-Purpose Flour

For the Filling

2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup water

food colors

For the Glaze(optional)

1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 to 2 tablespoons milk

For the Cookie Dough

Beat together shortening, butter, sugar and cream cheese until smooth, then beat in egg and vanilla.

Add spices, baking soda, salt and flour and mix until the dough comes together.

Divide dough into quarters and place on pieces of parchment, then roll dough to 1/2" thick.

Stack dough (on their parchment) on a baking sheet, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 350, then line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

For the Filling

In saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup and water, stirring over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.

Cook without stirring until it reaches 280 (hard-crack stage) on a candy thermometer.

Remove syrup from heat and pour it onto one of the prepared baking sheets.

Let the syrup cool to room temperature (it'll solidify into candy), then break it up into large pieces.

To Crush and Color Candy

Put candy on a piece of parchment or clean work surface.

Use a rolling pin to roll or hit the candy until it’s as fine and pieces are evenly sized as you can get them.

Put the pieces to a bowl (or several bowls) and stir in your desired colors.

To make Cookies

Cut chilled dough into desired shapes and re-roll the scraps and cut additional shapes.

This dough is quite forgiving, scraps can be re-rolled three times before becoming tough.

Transfer cookies to the prepared baking sheets.

Cut out windows from the insides of the cookies with the cutters of your choice.

Graduated cutters work well if you want one larger window and a round piping tip or mini cutters are used for small windows.

Bake the cookies for 5 minutes, then remove them from the oven.

With a small spoon or teaspoon fill the cutouts with the colored sugar, making rounded piles in the windows.

Put cookies to your oven and bake for 6 to 7 minutes more, until sugar melts and cookies are just starting to color on the edges.

Remove the cookies from the oven and leave them on the baking sheets to cool until the windows have set into hard candy.

To make a Glaze

In a bowl, whisk confectioners sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and a tablespoon of milk, the mixture should be thick.

Add more milk a teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is the consistency of honey.

(It should fall off the spoon in a thick ribbon that disappears back into the bowl after a few seconds.)

Pipe or drizzle glaze onto cooled cookies, then set them aside until the glaze sets.

To make Cookie Ornaments

Poke a hole into the top of each Cookie (with a straw) before baking.

When baked and cooled, thread ribbon or yarn for hanging through the hole. Enjoy!
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