Holiday Cookie Swaps Made Easy!

Holiday Cookie Swaps Made Easy!

It’s the time of year for holiday baking and enjoying sweet treats from your oven.  Oftentimes it’s hard to decide what goodies to bake and what recipes will give you the best results.

We would like to offer this amazing tried and true cookie recipe that has been a favorite at holiday cookie swaps for many years.  The best part about it that one basic cookie dough can be the base for 8 different cookies.  You can make this dough ahead of time.  Place it in the freezer and it will be ready for when you need to whip up a fresh batch of cookies.  Simply add in the flavor combinations when you are ready to bake. This basic dough is very versatile and can help you to switch up the same old cookie recipes.  It’s a time saving way to create a lot of different treats for your cookie swap.

Tried and True Cookie Dough Base

Combine:

1 ¼ cups granulated sugar

½ cup brown sugar

½ cup softened unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place in a large bowl and beat on medium speed until fluffy.

Beat in 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and ¼ teaspoon salt

Pick one of the following flavor add-ins to customize your cookies:

Chocolate and Peppermint Cookies:

Beat ½ teaspoon peppermint extract into cookie dough at Medium speed.  Stir in ¼ cup crushed hard peppermint candy and 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips.  Drop by tablespoon on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Peanut Butter Crunch Cookies:

Beat 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter into the cookie dough at Medium speed.  Stir in ½ c lightly crushed peanut butter flavored cereal (like Barbara’s Peanut Butter Puffins) and ¼ cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts.  Drop by tablespoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.  Drizzle 3 tablespoons melted peanut butter over cooled cookies.

Lemon, Lavender and Poppy Seed Cookies:

Beat 2 teaspoons lemon rind, 2 tablespoons lemon curd, 1 tablespoon poppy seeds and 1 teaspoon lavender buds into the cookie dough and beat on medium speed.  Drop by tablespoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned.

Orange, Sesame and Honey Cookies:

Beat 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds, 2 table­spoons honey, and 2 teaspoons grated orange rind into cookie dough at medium speed. Place 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds in a bowl; scoop dough by tablespoonfuls, and roll in sesame seeds. Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Combine 1 tablespoon orange juice and 1 tablespoon honey in a bowl; drizzle mixture over cooled cookies.

Coconut, Lime and Macadamia Cookies:

Lightly toast ¾ cup shredded coconut on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in preheated oven. Beat 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1 tablespoon grated lime rind into dough at medium speed. Stir in toasted coconut and ¼ cup chopped macadamia nuts. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Rocky Road Cookies:

Stir 1/3 cup mini marshmallows, 3/4 ounce coarsely chopped dark chocolate, and 1/3 cup toasted and chopped pecans into cookie dough. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Combine 1 ounce chopped dark chocolate and ¼ teaspoon canola oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until melted, stirring every 20 seconds. Drizzle chocolate over cooled cookies.

Caramel Popcorn Cookies:

Stir 1/3 cup crushed hard caramel candies and 1/8 teaspoon salt into cookie dough. Prepare 1 mini bag plain microwave popcorn according to package directions. Stir 3 cups prepared popcorn into cookie dough with a rubber spatula. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.

Black Pepper, Dried Strawberry and Chopped Pistachio Cookies:

Beat 1 teaspoon black pepper into cookie dough at medium speed. Stir in ½ cup chopped dried straw­berries and ¼ cup finely chopped pistachios. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls on parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned.