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1 Cookie Dough, 5 Ways

COOK TIME
15 mins
PREP TIME
1 hr
RATE THIS RECIPE
(80)
COOK TIME
15 mins
PREP TIME
1 hr
RATE THIS RECIPE
(80)

Ingredients

Basic Dough
  • 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
Candy Drop Cookies
  • cups various holiday candies (such as M&Ms, sprinkles, chocolate bar, etc.)
    Stuffed Cookie Cups
    • chocolate truffles or mini peanut butter cups
    • chocolate bar, melted
    • festive sprinkles
    Molten Cookie Skillet
    • cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup chocolate-hazelnut spread
    • chocolate bar, melted
    • crushed peppermint pieces
    • ice cream
    Peppermint Blossoms
    • colored sanding sugar
    • chocolate or peppermint kisses
    Slice-and-Bake Cookies
    • 1 cup holiday sprinkles, plus more for topping
    • melted white chocolate

    Chef notes

    Get all your holiday cookie baking done with one easy recipe. Yes, that's right — one cookie dough, endless ways to create beautiful, delicious, holiday cookies that will wow your guests this season. Plus, it's fun for the whole family: Get a cookie decorating party going and your kids will be entertained for hours.

    Technique tip: Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat so that the bottom of your cookies don't burn. Rotate your baking sheet halfway through baking to make sure the whole batch is evenly cooked.

    Swap option: Try it with gluten-free flour, if you prefer.

    Special equipment: Hand or stand mixer.

    Preparation

    For the Basic Dough:

    1.

    In a small pan on medium-high heat, melt 1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons). Continue to cook until it browns, stirring constantly. The butter will be a dark golden-brown and have a nutty aroma (trust your nose to tell you when the butter is browned; it will have a nutty, toasted aroma that will make your kitchen smell heavenly).

    2.

    Remove pan from heat; transfer browned butter to a bowl. Stir remaining 5 tablespoons butter into the hot browned butter until completely melted; set aside in the fridge and let cool to room temperature.

    3.

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Set aside.

    4.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cooled butter on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the granulated and brown sugars and mix on medium until light and fluffy; about 4 minutes will do the trick. Use a rubber spatula to scrape the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla, the egg and the yolk, and mix until fully incorporated, about 2 minutes.

    5.

    Add half of the flour mixture and mix on low just until the powdery texture of the flour disappears, about 15 seconds. Immediately add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and mix a final 15 seconds.

    6.

    Decide which variation you are going to make (or divide your dough into multiple portions if you plan to make multiple variations) and proceed to the next step.

    For the Candy Drop Cookies:

    Holiday Baking 5 ways
    Courtesy Kristen Tomlan
    1.

    Use a rubber spatula to fold the candies into the cookie dough.

    2.

    Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough into even scoops. Top each scoop with additional candy if you have it. Chill for 6 hours or freeze for 2 hours.

    3.

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    4.

    Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spread the cookie dough balls out evenly, leaving several inches between each one. For extra beautiful cookies, add extra candies on top to make sure the toppings don't sink.

    5.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just set and the cookies are starting to get golden around the edges. Let cool completely.

    6.

    Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    For the Stuffed Cookie Cups:

    Holiday Baking 5 ways
    Courtesy Kristen Tomlan
    1.

    Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough into even 1½ tablespoon scoops. Chill for a minimum of 2 hours.

    2.

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    3.

    Spray a mini-muffin pan with cooking spray (you can use mini cupcake liners to help make cleanup super easy and to make sure your cookie cups don't stick to the pan) and place 1 cookie dough ball in each muffin slot.

    4.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until barely golden around the edges.

    5.

    While baking, unwrap the truffles or peanut butter cups.

    6.

    Remove the tray from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Place the truffle or peanut butter cup in the center of each cookie cup while the cookies are still hot. Press down to secure it.

    7.

    Top by drizzling melted chocolate across each cup and dusting with sprinkles. Let cool completely.

    For the Molten Cookie Skillet:

    Holiday Baking 5 ways
    Courtesy Kristen Tomlan
    1.

    Use a rubber spatula to fold the chocolate chips into the cookie dough.

    2.

    Refrigerate until it's easy to handle and no longer sticky to the touch.

    3.

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    4.

    Remove the chilled cookie dough and press half into the bottom of an 8-inch skillet.

    5.

    Add the chocolate-hazelnut spread to the middle and spread evenly, leaving 1 inch around the edges

    6.

    Add the remaining half of the cookie dough to the top in an even layer.

    7.

    Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the middle is set and the edges are golden.

    8.

    Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

    9.

    Top by drizzling the skillet with melted chocolate and sprinkling on crushed peppermint pieces, and serve with a few scoops of ice cream on top. This is best served warm, so dig right in!

    For the Peppermint Blossoms:

    Holiday Baking 5 ways
    Courtesy Kristen Tomlan
    1.

    Use a cookie scoop to portion the dough into even scoops. Chill for 6 hours or freeze for 2.

    2.

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    3.

    Once chilled, roll the cookie dough balls in colored sanding sugar, if you choose.

    4.

    Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spread the cookie dough balls out evenly, leaving several inches between each one.

    5.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just set and the cookies are starting to get golden around the edges.

    6.

    Remove from the oven and immediately press the kisses into the top of the cookie.

    7.

    Cool the cookies on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

    For the Slice-and-Bake Cookies:

    Holiday Baking 5 ways
    Courtesy Kristen Tomlan
    1.

    Use a rubber spatula to fold the sprinkles into the cookie dough.

    2.

    Place a large piece of plastic wrap onto the counter.

    3.

    Place the cookie dough in a narrow line and use the plastic wrap on the edges to fold over so the cookie dough is completely covered.

    4.

    Roll on the counter into an even log shape.

    5.

    Refrigerate for 4 hours or freeze for 2.

    6.

    Preheat the oven to 350 F.

    7.

    Once chilled, remove the plastic wrap and roll the sides in sprinkles. Use a sharp knife to cut the dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. (Warm the knife in a container of hot water to make slicing easier! Re-warm, clean and dry between each slice for clean, easy cutting.)

    8.

    Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and spread the cookie dough rounds out evenly, leaving several inches between each one.

    9.

    Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until just set and the cookies are starting to get golden around the edges.

    10.

    Remove from the oven and let cool completely.

    11.

    Once chilled, dip into melted white chocolate and top with more sprinkles. Set aside until the chocolate hardens.