Monday, December 19, 2011

Cookie Swap? No Thanks!

Maximum variety of cookies, minimum effort.  No need to attend a cookie swap, where you could, heaven help us, return home with some slice and bake supermarket drek or an unfortunate combination like peppermint and white chocolate.  (I view white chocolate the same way I do rudeness, litterbugs, pleated pants and cigarettes:  it is something that should not exist.)  But, making a wide variety of cookies can be incredibly labor intensive.  That's why I've developed this clever way to maximize your offerings with a minimum of effort.

I referred to this strategy in a previous post .  The premise is to start with a basic dough recipe and the branch off in different directions with varying ingredients.  Some readers have asked for more detailed directions, and we aim to please, so here are the specifics...Personally, I like volume, so I generally put two bowls out, side by side,  make the basic dough in both simultaneously, then proceed with the variation in one of the bowls.   But you can also make one batch and divide it up, adding the different ingredients to each portion.  NB:  the recipes below reflect quantities for a complete batch, so if you divvy up a single batch, be sure to reduce the ingredient amounts.
Variations on a Butter Cookie

1 1/2 sticks butter
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for about 8-10 minutes.  The edges will just barely begin to brown when they are done.   OR Spray a sheet of waxed paper with Pam, dump dough onto waxed paper, roll into a log, and store in fridge til you need some cookies.  Slice and bake.  (the second way makes for flatter, more uniform cookies.) These are the quintessential butter cookie, plain and simple.  You can sprinkle with colored sugars or other decorations before baking if you wish, or pipe them with melted chocolate after they cool.
Lemon log, ready to slice and bake when you are!

To make them lemon:  eliminate vanilla.  Add juice of 2 fresh lemons, grated rind of 1 lemon, and 2 TBSP Limoncello liquor.  Follow directions as above.

To make them chocolate:  Add 1 cup melted semi-sweet or dark chocolate.  Follow directions as above.

Espresso chip cookies, and chocolate chocolate chip cookies with M&Ms (guess which were requested by my son!)

Chocolate Chip Cookies, 4 ways

2 sticks softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips

Blend all ingredients.  Drop by teaspoons onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake at 350 12 minutes.  NOTE:  you can use the waxed paper storage method as described above with this dough, too.

For Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
To dough above, add 3/4 cup Nutella and, if desired, 2 TBSP Frangelico.

For Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies

To dough above, add 3 TBSP instant espresso or coffee powder, 3 TBSP brewed coffee, and 2 TBSP Kahlua.

For Chocolate Chocolate Chips Cookies
To dough above, add 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 additional egg.

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