Baking during the holidays is like having barbecues in the summertime–it just feels right! But because every recipe is different, it’s not really something you can do on the spur of the moment. You usually need to check the recipe, make a list, go the the store, forget something, go back to the store, and so on! ;-) Wouldn’t it be nice if every treat you wanted to make this holiday season used the same ingredients? Well today I’m here to make that dream come true!
Okay, maybe you can’t make every treat using the same ingredients, but today I’ll show you how you can use one simple sugar cookie dough to make 5 different treats. The dough is really simple to make, and it’s SO versatile! So check out the cookie dough recipe below, then keep scrolling for 5 tasty ways to use it. Oh, and happy baking! :-)
Step 1 – Make This Easy Sugar Cookie Dough
Sugar Cookie Dough
- 1 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
Start by creaming the butter and sugar together for 3 minutes, or until smooth.
Add the vanilla extract, almond extract, and one egg to bowl and stir/mix to incorporate.
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Then add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients a little bit at a time. This is a stiff dough, so you might have to move it to your countertop and to knead it to ensure all the flour gets mixed in.
Unlike many other doughs, it isn’t necessary to chill this one before using it. But if you do want to keep the dough in your fridge for a couple of days, just let it warm up on your countertop for about 10 minutes before working with it.
Now that you know how to make the dough, let’s explore what you can make with it! (Caution: delicious desserts ahead!)
Step 2 – Make These 5 Delicious Holiday Treats
1. Cut-Out Cookies
It’s a well known fact that shaped cookies taste better than plain ol’ round cookies. ;-) I find this to be especially true during the holidays! There are tons of cute and festive cookie cutters out there, and it’s an easy way to up the fun-factor of standard sugar cookies. And don’t forget the icing!
How To Make:
- Roll out the prepared cookie dough on a floured surface until it’s about 1/4” thick. Use a floured cookie cutter to cut shapes out of the dough.
- Place the cut-outs on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheet until they’re sturdy enough to transfer to a cooling rack.
- The final step is to frost your cookies! Use your favorite icing recipe, or make an easy frosting glaze by mixing 1 cup of powdered sugar with 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract and 2 tablespoons of milk. (Bonus tip: Put your frosting in a squeeze bottle for easier decorating!)
2. Jam Thumbprint Cookies
Thumbprint cookies are a holiday staple for many people around the world! I didn’t have them regularly growing up, but I’ve definitely developed a love for these little cookies over the past few years. And what’s not to love? These little morsels aren’t too sweet, and have a tasty bit of jam waiting for you in the center. Give them a try!
How To Make:
- Roll out tablespoon-size balls of the prepared cookie dough, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Make an indent in each dough ball with your thumb. Fill each indentation with raspberry jam (or whichever jam/jelly you prefer!)
- Bake at 350° for 15 minutes, until they’re just starting to brown. Let your thumbprint cookies cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a cooling rack.
3. Cookie Pops
Cookie “pops” are a fun twist on standard sugar cookies, and they’re super easy to assemble. The popsicle stick gets baked into the cookie, and it’s very useful for dipping those tasty cookies into hot chocolate!
How To Make:
- Roll out tablespoon-size balls from the prepared cookie dough. Roll each ball in sprinkles, then insert a popsicle stick into the center.
- Place the prepared cookie pops on a parchment lined-baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350°. Let cool slightly, then transfer to a cooling rack.
- Serve with a warm mug of hot chocolate. Yum! :-)
4. White Chocolate Cranberry Almond Cookies
These cookies just scream “Happy Holidays!” I love this combination of ingredients for so many reasons. The tartness of the cranberries helps offset the sweetness of the white chocolate chips, and almond slivers are always a welcome addition in my opinion! The finished cookies look gourmet, and no one has to know just how easy they were to make. ;-)
How To Make:
- Start by placing half of the prepared cookie dough in a mixing bowl. Add 1/2 cup each of white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and almond slivers, then stir to incorporate.
- Roll out tablespoon-size balls of the dough, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes, then let them cool slightly. Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling.
5. Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwiches
The only thing better than cookies? Cookies AND ice cream! These delicious ice cream sandwiches get the holiday treatment with the addition of crushed candy cane pieces. Your friends and family are sure to ask for seconds!
How To Make:
- Make tablespoon-size balls of dough, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, then let the cookies cool completely.
- Once the cookies have cooled, grab one cookie and place a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the underside. Place another cookie on top to make your sandwich.
- Roll the edges of each sandwich in crushed candy cane pieces. Then place your finished ice cream sandwiches in the freezer to firm up, then serve!