Makes 48 Cookies:
(Let all chilled ingredients come to room temperature first.):
2 Sticks Butter
3/4 Cups Sugar
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 Cup Salad Oil
3/4 Cups Water
4 Cups flour
1 Tsp Custard Powder
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
1 jar maraschino cherries (Sliced in half)
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
Cream the the butter and sugar together until the butter has turned into a paler shade. This is an important step and will affect the final texture of the cookie. If you don't cream the butter long enough, the sugar cannot incorporate into the butter and will remain grainy. Over-cream the butter and the end result will be an oily dough. For this recipe, I used a Kitchenaid stand mixer on speed setting 4, and beat it for 2-1/2 minutes. (Just another helpful hint: The temperature of the butter is important. The butter is ready to be creamed if the surface is slightly melted, and when you press your finger in it, it yields without resistance.)
After creaming the butter, add the oil, water and salt. Start beating slowly and beat until you get a homogeneous mixture and see no more lumps. At this point, stop beating. You might be surprised to find water and oil in addition to butter in a cookie recipe, but that is why the texture of the cookie is so different.
Next, add in flour and custard powder all at once and beat until combined.
Load the dough into a piping bag fitted with the chrysanthemum tip and pipe onto an a ungreased cookie sheet. Don't worry about not greasing the pan or using parchment paper because the dough will release from the pan despite being soft and light. A helpful hint on piping using this tip. The piping tip is special. Because of the way it is shaped, it is easy to mistakenly rest the feet directly on the sheet before piping. If you do that, you will end up with a messy cookie with a big hole in the center. To achieve better results, I suggest holding the pastry bag with the fitted tip close to the sheet, but not actually touching it. Give the bag a good gentle squeeze and lift the bag up swiftly to release the tip from the cookie.
Add in a cherry in the middle. It doesn't matter if the cookies do not look perfect when they are just piped, they will bake up perfectly.
Bake in a 350 F oven for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 250F and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the pan for 15 minutes. Store in an air tight container. Consume within 3-4 days.