Pulse the granulated sugar and 1/3 cup dried cranberries in a food processor until finely ground. Add the flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt; pulse to combine. Add the cut-up butter and shortening; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Whisk the egg, cranberry juice, 1 teaspoon vanilla and the food coloring in a small bowl; add to the food processor and pulse to form a dough. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour.
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough 1 1/2 inches apart onto the baking sheets. Bake, switching the pans halfway through, until the cookies are just set, 16 to 18 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes on the baking sheets; transfer to racks to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the filling: Beat the cream cheese, room-temperature butter and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in a bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the confectioners' sugar; beat on low speed until incorporated, then increase the speed to high and beat until fluffy, 2 more minutes. Chop the remaining 1/4 cup dried cranberries; stir into the filling along with a pinch of salt. Sandwich between the cookies.
Photograph by Ryan Dausch
Courtesy of Food Network Magazine
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