Early in the day or the day before: In a large bowl cream the shortening, butter
and sugar. Add the eggs, extract, and milk.
In a medium bowl mix the dry ingredients with a wire whisk. Add the dry ingredients
to the large bowl containing the shortening, butter and sugar mixture. Mix with
mixer until well combined. With hands, shape dough into a ball.
Wrap with plastic
wrap and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease cookie sheets.
Roll 1/3 of dough at
a time, keeping the rest refrigerated. For crisp cookies, roll dough, paper thin.
For softer cookies, roll 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch thick. With floured cookie cutter,
cut into shapes. Re-roll trimmings and cut. Place cookies 1/2 inch apart on cookie
To decorate with colored sugars: Prepare cookies by brushing with heavy cream
or an egg white slightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water. Sprinkle with decorative
To decorate with food colors: Mix 1 egg yolk and 1/4 teaspoon water. Divide mixture
among several small ramekins. Tint each with a different food color to make bright
colors. If the paint thickens while stand, stir in a few drops of water. Paint designs
on cookies with small paint brushes.
Bake for 8 minutes or until very light brown.
With pancake turner, remove cookies
to racks; cool.