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- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon 2% milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- Red paste food coloring
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons 2% milk, divided
- Sanding sugar, sugar pearls and Red Hots candies
- Preheat oven to 325°. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Add milk and vanilla; mix well. Add flour and mix well. Remove 1-2/3 cups dough; tint red. Shape white dough into 12 balls of 3/4 in. each, 48 balls of 1/2 in. each and 12 balls of 1/4 in. each. Shape red dough into 12 balls of 1-1/4 in. each and 60 balls of 1/2 in. each.
- Place the 1-1/4 in. red balls on 2 ungreased baking sheets for the body of 12 Santas. Attach 3/4-in. white balls for heads. Attach four 1/2-in. red balls to each Santa for arms and legs. Attach 1/2 in. white balls to ends of arms and legs for hands and feet; lightly press together.
- Shape remaining 1/2-in. red balls into hats. Attach 1/4-in. white balls to tips of hats. Place inverted chocolate chips or sprinkles for eyes.
- Bake until set, 12-15 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes; carefully remove from pans to wire racks (cookies will be fragile).
- For icing, combine shortening and vanilla in a small bowl; mix well. Gradually add 1-1/3 cups confectioners' sugar; add 1 tablespoon milk. Gradually add remaining sugar and milk.
- Pipe a band of icing on hat, cuffs at hands and feet, and down the front and at bottom of jacket; while icing is still wet, sprinkle sugar over icing on brim of hat and cuffs at hands and feet. Pipe swirls of icing for beard and tip of hat. Place a Red Hot candy or red sugar pearls for nose, black sugar pearls for eyes, and silver sugar pearls for buttons.
<b>Editor's Note:</b> Remaining dough may be shaped into balls and baked.
1 cookie: 422 calories, 24g fat (12g saturated fat), 41mg cholesterol, 124mg sodium, 50g carbohydrate (32g sugars, 1g fiber), 3g protein.