These super stars are plenty sweet and sturdy, making them great for shipping. Slip decorated cookies in stacks of three inside plastic storage bags then rest stacks in disposable plastic containers. Put containers in a cardboard box, then add crumpled newspaper so everything is tightly packed. Seal it with a kiss—or a card. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
- 1-1/2 cups butter, softened
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup thawed orange juice concentrate
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons meringue powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- Red paste food coloring
- 2 tablespoons red colored sugar
- In a large bowl, cream butter, shortening and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in orange juice concentrate and vanilla. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into creamed mixture.
- Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 2 hours or until firm enough to roll.
- Preheat oven to 350°. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 4-in. star-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
- Bake 8-10 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool on pans 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
- For icing, in a small bowl, combine confectioners' sugar, warm water, meringue powder and cream of tartar; beat on low speed just until blended. Beat on high 4-5 minutes or until stiff peaks form. Tint red with food coloring. Keep unused icing covered with a damp cloth at all times. If necessary, beat again on high speed to restore texture.
- Spread icing on cookies; immediately sprinkle with colored sugar. Let stand until set. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Red Star Cookies in Taste of Home November 2014, p64
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