I hope you have some time because this may end up being the longest post on this blog. Go get a cup of coffee — I’ll wait.
One of the things I love about Christmas is the baking. I used to give a cookie plate to just about everyone in town from the mailman to the fire department, not so much any more because of time. Anyway, it can take an entire day to make a decent assortment of cookies to put on the plates, right?
This is a foundation refrigerator cookie recipe. I am giving you five types but you can come up with your own variations. Included in this recipe are:
- Butter cookies
- Pecan cookies
- Cherry pecan cookies
- Rolled sugar cookies
- Chocolate pinwheels
But, here’s the thing. I am giving you the skills you need to create an infinite number of recipes from just this one. Need ideas? How about these —
- Dried cranberry and walnuts
- Mint and chocolate pinwheels
- Mini chocolate chips
- Mini M & Ms
- Lemon, lime, or orange zest
- Candied ginger
- Candied fruit
- Chopped white chocolate
- Use two of them and sandwich ganache in between
- Dip them in melted chocolate – white or milk
- Decorate the tops with icing
- Maple flavoring
Seriously. Hundreds of possibilities.
The other cool thing about these is that they are basically homemade slice and bake cookies. You make up a batch in an hour on a rainy Saturday, roll the dough into cylinders, wrap in waxed paper, and freeze them for up to three months. When you want a dozen cookies or six cookies or the whole batch you can just thaw for a few minutes, slice them, and bake them.
Really, does it get easier than that?
A really cool way to give a cookie assortment is to give the cookies on a vintage plate or platter. You can get red and green baking cups and use them to keep the cookies in one place. It sounds like an expensive gift but it’s really not. Keep your eyes open at thrift shops and garage sales and you may be able to pick up pretty plates for a few dollars. eBay is another possibility.
Don’t limit it to plates. Choose vintage tea cups for small gifts, casseroles, whatever catches your eye. Not only does the recipient get some rockin’ cookies — they have the plate to keep forever. Wrap them with cellophane or plastic wrap, add a ribbon and it’s a fabulous gift for less than $5.
Here are the step by step images — Skip to the recipe if you are in a hurry.
This is what you are going to need plus whatever additions you plan on making. Not much is it? Simple is good. Make sure that you do bring the butter and the egg to room temperature before you use them it will make your dough go together much easier and the flavor will be better because everything will blend better.
Once you have the dough made you’ll divide it into equal parts. I started with four and then decided to split some of the dough up again so I could make both pecan and pecan cherry cookies.
For pinwheels take 1/4 of the dough and divide it into two parts, one a little bigger than the other. To make the chocolate dough you will melt chocolate and knead it into the dough you are using. Just keep kneading it with your hands until the chocolate is completely blended in.
Knead your chosen ingredients into the different doughs. The one above is the pecan cherry and dang it was good. Chill the dough for about 30 minutes or until it is easy to work with.
For the pinwheels roll out both the chocolate and vanilla dough. Put the largest sheet of dough on a lightly floured counter. Put the smaller sheet on top and then roll the two up together. Easy, right?
Shape the rest of the dough into cylinders and then roll them up in waxed paper. Chill the rolls at least and hour freeze it up to three months.
For shaped cookies omit the cylinder step. Roll the dough out flat on a floured surface and cut with cookie cutters. Add sugar, sprinkles, or leave them plain until after their baked so you can frost them.
When you are ready to bake them you only need to unwrap the dough (let it thaw a little before slicing if it has been frozen) and slice it into 1/8 — 1/4 inch thick slices. I like using a serrated knife but try several knives to determine what works best for you.
Bake the cookies on a lightly greased baking sheet for about eight minutes and let them cool. That’s it.
I’ll be sharing my foundation drop cookie recipe soon. With these two recipes you can have a huge variety of Christmas cookies.
Christmas Cookies: One Dough – Five Kinds
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 cups of flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking poweder
- 1/3 cup half and half
- 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup of pecans , mini chocolate chips, and whatever other ingredients you want for the cookies
- Cream the sugar and butter together until well blended.
- Beat in the egg and vanilla.
- Mix the dry ingredients together.
- Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk starting and ending with the dry ingredients.
- Beat until it becomes a soft dough.
- Divide the dough into four equal parts.
- Divide one of the parts into two parts. Add the melted chocolate, Kneading in until the dough and chocolate are completely blended.
- Divide a second part into two parts. Add chopped pecans to one and chopped pecans and chopped candied cherries to the other. Knead in until well mixed.
- Chill for about 30 minutes or until it is easy to work with.
For the pinwheels
- Roll out both the chocolate and vanilla dough n rectangles keeping the vanilla a little bigger than the chocolate.
- Place the chocolate rectangle on top of the vanilla one and roll up into a cylinder.
- Wrap in waxed paper and refrigerate until it is chilled, or up to a week. You can also keep the dough frozen for up to three months.
For the other cookies
- Take each of the flavored doughs and form into a cylinder.
- Roll the cylinder in colored sugar, sprinkes, chopped nuts, or whatever you like.
- Wrap in waxed paper and chill.
- If dough has been frozen let it sit for about 15 minutes to soften a little.
- When you are ready to bake preheat the oven to 375F.
- Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
- Slice discs from the cylinder 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick.
- Place on the cookie sheet.
- Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Let cool.