Make any cookie with this simple dough

December 5, 2021
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Imagine having one, very easy cookie dough recipe that not only makes buttery, sugary, chewy-crisp cookies, but also easily transforms into a variety of different treats from chocolate chip to snickerdoodle, thumbprints to holiday-themed cut-outs?

I’ve found the dough that does it all.

That’s right, just one foolproof, go-to dough for all your cookie needs. Imagine the creative possibilities for your office holiday cookie swaps, birthday parties, baby showers and laid-back Sunday baking.

How can one cookie dough be so versatile? The base is simple: creamy, buttery-sweet and laced with vanilla, which makes it easy to pair with nearly any other flavor or texture. Trust me, I’ve tried a gazillion variations, and the cookies are consistently fantastic, no matter what you do with the dough.

What can you make with this dough?

This cookie dough is amazing on its own and can be used right away to make classic sugar cookies. But the possibilities are endless. I made chocolate chip cookies, cinnamon-sugar snickerdoodles, jam thumbprints with strawberry preserves, chocolate kiss cookies and classic cut-outs with icing and decorations.

If you want to try different add-ins, like peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, dried cranberries or cherries, peanut butter or butterscotch chips, you can simply follow the chocolate chip cookie instructions.

If you’re a citrus fan, fold in a teaspoon or two of freshly grated lemon or orange zest.

For thumbprints, use your favorite fruit preserve or make a variety with raspberry, blackberry, apricot and orange marmalades or fill them up with Nutella or caramel.

The only extra step you’ll need to take is for cut-out cookies. Chilled dough is less “sticky” and much easier to roll out and cut into shapes. So after you make the recipe below, shape the dough into a disc so it chills more quickly, wrap it in plastic wrap and set it in the fridge to chill until firm, about 30 to 60 minutes.

Can you make this cookie dough in advance?

This ultra-versatile cookie dough can be refrigerated for up to two weeks before baking. Just be sure to wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap before storing.

In the freezer, it lasts even longer. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap, pop it in a zip-top freezer bag and freeze for up to three months. when you’re ready to bake, thaw the dough overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re pressed for time, you can also thaw the dough on the counter at room temperature for about 30 minutes.

Recipe: Make-any-cookie dough

Servings: 36-40 cookies, depending on the size and shape

Ingredients:

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well and set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.
  3. Beat in the egg and vanilla.
  4. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture and mix until blended.
  5. Proceed with your chosen cookie variation below.

For classic sugar cookies

  • Working with about 1 tablespoon at a time, roll the dough into balls.
  • Roll the balls in granulated sugar and transfer them to a baking sheet (either nonstick or parchment-lined). Press down to flatten the cookie slightly.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the bottom is just starting to turn golden.
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheet, on wire rack.

For thumbprint cookies

  • Working with about 1 tablespoon at a time, roll the dough into balls.
  • Roll the balls in granulated sugar and transfer them to a baking sheet (either nonstick or parchment-lined).
  • Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each cookie and fill the indentation with fruit preserves of choice, such as strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, apricot, and orange marmalade.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the bottom is just starting to turn golden.
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheet, on wire rack.

For Snickerdoodle cookies

  • Combine ½ cup granulated sugar and 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon and mix on a plate or in a shallow bowl.
  • Working with about 1 tablespoon at a time, roll the dough into balls. Roll the balls in cinnamon-sugar mixture and transfer to a baking sheet (either nonstick or parchment-lined). Press down to flatten the cookie slightly.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the bottom is just starting to turn golden.
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheet, on wire rack.

For chocolate chip cookies or any cookies with mix-ins)

  • Add chocolate chips or other mix-ins to the dough (as much as you want), either while the dough is still in the mixing bowl or folded in with a spatula.
  • Working with about 1 tablespoon at a time, roll the dough into balls and transfer them to a baking sheet (either nonstick or parchment-lined). Press down to flatten the cookie slightly.
  • Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, until the bottom is just starting to turn golden.
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheet, on wire rack.

For cutout cookies 

  • Make a disk with the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Roll the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or a lightly floured surface, until about ¼-inch thick.
  • Cut into desired shapes and transfer the cookies to a baking sheet (either nonstick or parchment-lined).
  • Re-roll scraps and use the remaining dough to make more cut-outs.
  • Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the bottom is just starting to turn golden.
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheet set on a wire rack before decorating.

Questions or comments? Email the culinary team at [email protected]central.com.

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Life is like a running cycle right! I am a news editor at TIMES. Collecting News is my passion. Because my visitors have the right to know the truth and perfectly.

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