I recently contributed an article to Parenting Magazine (December 2011 issue!!) about how to make 1 cookies recipe, and the 6 different ways you could mix it up. (uh, yes, I am aware that this actually means that there are 7 cookie varieties,- but whatever, you get the idea.)
Handy right? The idea is that you could just crank out the same dough over and over, and just change the add ins or finishing touches to create a wide variety of Christmas cookies.
This saves time, money on lots of different types of ingredients, and above all else, sanity.
Now, obviously, you could take this recipe in way more directions than 6, (like your imagination is absolutely your limit.) I took my “sugar with sugar, AKA: plain” recipe and these were the directions I changed it in:
Lemon with sugar, ginger with cinnamon sugar, vanilla with vanilla sugar, maple with raw sugar, cranberry with white chocolate and apricot with dark chocolate.
I chose my basic sugar cookie, which I know I have posted this before, but bare with me, and check out all of the updates to the recipe below!
Sugar Cookies, make about 2 dozen
-2 sticks butter
-Pinch of salt
-3/4 cup powdered sugar
-2 1/4 cups AP flour
Options for your cookies!
Apricots, cranberries, lemon zest, almond, maple, vanilla, assorted sugars, chocolate or white chocolate.
1) Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
2) Prepare sheet pans with silpats or parchment paper.
3) In an electric mixer, cream together the butter and salt, and whip until creamy.
4) Slowly add the powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the yolks and mix to combine.
5) Add the flour until just barely combined (over mixing will make them tough). This is the point when you should add your “add-ins.”
6) Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate until the dough is firm and chilled enough that you are able to handle it.
7) (I recommend rolling the dough out with powdered sugar, not flour.) Cut shapes with a cookie cutter and gently lay them on the silpat covered sheet pans. If you are going to sprinkle them with sugar, do it now.
6) Bake for 8-12 minutes. (It really depends on your oven). They should remain very pale, and should NOT turn golden brown. If they start to color on the edges, remove them immediately.
7) You should be looking for them to just be firm to the touch. They will continue to firm up a little bit as they cool. I would leave the cookies on the sheet pan to cool, (at least a little bit.) This will make them less prone to breaking.
8) If you are going to dip in chocolate or white chocolate, wait until the cookies are completely cooled to do so.