The following recipe, that my sister and I altered from a recipe in the Five Roses Cook Book, eliminates the need for icing as decoration. Also the cookies can be sent long distance. I pack them in jam jars with the cookies facing outward (so they show through the glass) a coloured ribbon and a festive looking top to the jar.
oven at 375F - ungreased cookie sheet 8-10 minutes
1 c. sugar
¾ c. shortening
2 eggs (beaten)
2 tsp. orange peel
1 c. flour
3 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1/3 c. milk
½ tsp. vanilla
1½ c. more flour
Cream sugar & shortening. Add eggs & orange peel. In a separate bowl, mix together baking powder, salt and only 1 c. of flour. Add flour mixture to creamed shortening. Stir. Add milk and vanilla. Stir.
Divide mixture EVENLY into 5 separate bowls. Put about 10 drops of food colouring into 4 separate bowls: making red, blue, yellow, green and leaving one bowl white. (B: we recommended to ourselves to have one and a half bowls of white and half a bowl of blue.) Put remaining flour (two and a half cups: 5 x ½c.= ½ c. per bowl) evenly into the 5 bowls. (if you decide to have one and a half bowls of white and half a bowl of blue: ¼ c. for the blue bowl and ¾ c. for the white bowl and ½ c. for the others)
Press the dough out to about ¼ inch depth and using cookie cutters, cut into shapes. Use the other colours like plasticine to decorate. We have made little dogs with holly on their collars, angels playing instruments, Christmas trees, Santas, Initials decorated with holly for each child receiving the cookies, etc. etc. Try not to handle the dough TOO much; the cookies get quite hard and tough (although, as I said, kids don't seem to mind). We use very little cookie cutters so the cookies themselves end up being no bigger than one or two inches.
LISTEN for the timer bell so that the orchestra and choir of angels doesn't turn out mahogany brown. If by some awful chance you don't hear the bell, you don't have to throw out the burned cookies, but can hang them on the Christmas tree. They look quite amazing.
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