1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Red paste food color, if desired
About 24 wooden sticks with rounded ends
Caramel Glaze, (recipe follows)
1 (14 ounce) package vanilla caramels
1/4 cup water
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Beat sugar, butter and shortening in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in vanilla and eggs. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in food color to tint dough red. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick on lightly floured cloth-covered surface. Cut with 3-inch round or apple-shaped cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Insert wooden stick into side of each cookie. Bake 8 to 9 minutes or until edges are light brown. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Spread top third of each cookie (opposite wooden stick) with Caramel Glaze. Hold cookie upright to allow glaze to drizzle down cookie.
Heat caramels and water in 2-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth. If glaze becomes too stiff, heat over low heat, stirring constantly, until softened.