Monday, December 13, 2010

As the Cookie Crumbles

I can't bake a cookie to save my life. More holiday guilt. Have you finished your Christmas shopping? I've bought one gift card. Have you wrapped all your presents? Did you know that Christmas Eve is only 11 days away? 
Everyone I know has everything they need, and they know it. My older kids just want money. My youngest wants presents, but she can't find anything she wants for a present. Want to know why? Because SHE ALREADY OWNS EVERYTHING. 
I've managed to avoid the cookie exchange for exactly 15 years. I actually ran away from home the morning after the last one I attended. This year, I did have one looming. Thankfully, a blizzard took care of that on Saturday.
So, I can't make cookies. Shoot me. I can, however, make cookie dough. If anyone here wants cookies, I will hand them a brick of dough and a pan.

Dough for Dummies
(one recipe, hundreds of variations)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder (omit if making thumbprint with filling, ball or spritz)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-high speed for at least 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Beat in the egg, mixing well after it's added, and then add the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.
If not using dough right away, wrap well in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. You can freeze the dough: Wrap well in plastic wrap and place in a sealable bag. It will keep 1 month.

Chocolate variation: Replace 1/3 cup of the flour with 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder.

Spice variation: Add 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper when you add the flour mixture.

Citrus variation: Replace the vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon finely grated citrus zest (lemon, lime or orange) and 1 tablespoon fresh citrus juice.

Peppermint variation: Replace vanilla extract with peppermint extract.

Thank you Martha Stewart Magazine

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