In large bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and shortening until well blended; add sugar and beat until light.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In medium-size bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low speed, add half of flour mixture to butter mixture and beat just until blended; add remaining flour mixture and beat until soft dough forms. Shape dough into 3 equal balls; wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
To cut out and bake cookies: Heat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 2 baking sheets. Cut 2 pieces of waxed paper the same size as the baking sheets. Lightly flour waxed paper and roll out one ball of dough between paper to ⅛ inch thickness. Remove top piece of waxed paper. Using our 6 inch angel-shaped cookie cutter, cut out as many angels as possible from dough, leaving ½ inch between cookies.
Remove all trimmings and press together. Invert waxed paper with angels onto greased baking sheet and peel off waxed paper. Reroll trimmings between waxed paper and repeat cutting and inverting angels to fill second baking sheet. If making cookies for ornaments, using a toothpick, pierce a small hole about ½ inch from top of each cookie.
Bake cookies 8 to 10 minutes or until golden. Cool 5 minutes on baking sheets, then remove to wire racks and cool completely before decorating. Repeat rolling, cutting and baking with remaining balls of dough and trimmings.
To decorate cookies, prepare Royal Icing. Divide icing between 2 bowls. Cover one bowl tightly with plastic wrap. Using just a few drops of yellow food coloring, tint the other bowl of icing a very pale yello. With pastry brush, paint the fron of each cookie with a thin coating of tinted icing, being sure not to cover pierced hole; let dry and paint again. When icing has dried, brush cookies with gold dust, if desired. Pipe decorative designs on front of cookies using reserved white icing and pastry fitted with small (#1) writing tip. If using small gold dragees, place on cookies before icing dries. If making cookies well in advance, store in airtight container and freeze.
ROYAL ICING: In large bowl, with electric mixer on low speed, beat 2 1 lb packages confectioners' sugar, 6 large egg whites (if icing is to be eaten, use meringue powder and follow package instructions for Royal Icing; see Note), and 1 teaspoon cream of tartar until mixed.
Increase speed to high, beat until very thinck and fluffy- about 6 minutes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent drying until ready to use.
Note: Meringue powder can be purchased wherever cake-decorating supplies are sold or by calling Wilton Industries at 800 772-7111.
Gold dust and dragees may be purchased from the Chocolate Gallery, (212) 675 2253 Country Living/Dec/93 Scanned & fixed by DP and GG