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In a large mixing bowl beat butter and shortening with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking powder, and salt. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in egg, milk, peppermint extract, and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.
Divide dough in half. Add red food coloring to one portion; stir until combined. Cover and chill for 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle.
Preheat oven to 375°F. On a lightly floured surface shape each dough portion into a 12-inch roll. Cut each roll crosswise into twenty-four 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Roll each piece into a 6-inch rope. Place a pink rope and a white rope side by side and twist together 5 or 6 times. Shape twisted ropes in a circle, gently pinching where ends meet. Place wreaths 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. If desired, brush wreaths with egg white then sprinkle with coarse sugar.
Bake about 8 minutes or until edges are firm but not brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.