Caramel Apple Cookies:

1 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla flavoring
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Red food color (optional)
Approximately 2 dozen wooden sticks
Caramel Glaze (recipe follows)

Caramel Glaze:

1 (14 oz) package caramels (vanilla)
1/4 c. water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix first three ingredients in large bowl on medium speed or stir by hand. Add in vanilla and eggs. Blend in flour, baking soda and salt. Add food coloring to make dough red. On lightly floured, cloth covered surface, roll dough one-quarter inch thick. Cut dough with 3 inch round or apple cookie cutter. Arrange 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. Insert stick in side of each cookie. Bake approximately 8 minutes or until edges are golden brown. Cool for approximately two minutes and put on wire rack. Cool completely. Spread top 1/3 of each cookie with Caramel Glaze icing. Allow icing to drizzle down cookie by holding cookie upright.
Caramel Glaze Directions:

Combine caramels and water in a 2-quart saucepan and cook over low heat stirring continuously until smooth. If glaze is too stiff, stir constantly over low heat.

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