2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
24 green maraschino cherries, drained, cut in half*
Chocolate chips or cinnamon candies
Red decorator gel, if desired
Heat oven to 400°F.
Combine 2 tablespoons sugar and cinnamon in bowl; set aside.
Combine 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1 cup butter in bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add all remaining cookie ingredients; beat at low speed until well mixed.
Shape teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 1 inch apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 7-9 minutes until or cookies are just beginning to brown. Cool completely.
Combine powdered sugar, 1/3 cup butter and half & half in bowl. Beat at medium speed until well mixed. Place maraschino cherries onto paper towels; pat dry.
Spread about 1 teaspoon frosting onto center of each cookie. Top with 1 cherry half, rounded-side up. Press 1 chocolate chip, bottom-side up, into cherry hole. Use decorator gel to make veins. Store in loosely covered containers.
*Substitute green or red candied cherries. You may be able to find blue, yellow or orange maraschino cherries in jars in some supermarkets.
Red decorator gel is available in tubes in the baking aisle of the supermarket. It takes longer to set than frosting, so allow decorated cookies to set about 30 minutes before storing.