As a Christmas gift cookies are always the right size, color and price.
With busy days ahead they’re also easy to start early and turn on the oven when time allows. It’s simple:
Make the dough
Use a 1-ounce (2 tablespoon) scoop and scoop the dough onto a plastic wrap lined plate or tray.
Freeze it. Move the frozen dough balls to a date-and-kind labeled freezer bag and keep frozen until ready to use.
Always line cookie sheets with baking parchment; nothing sticks and the pan doesn’t have to be cleaned. The parchment can be wiped down and reused.
Bake a frozen sample to check baking time and doneness.
Once cookies are baked and cooled, use a lidded container to make a Christmas sampler box. Separate layers with waxed paper.
You can also make everything sweeter by sharing the recipes.
BROWNED-BUTTER WHITE-CHOCOLATE MACADAMIA COOKIES
1 cup unsalted butter
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup white chocolate chips
½ cup salted Macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, soda and salt; set aside.
2. In a small saucepan melt over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly until bits in the bottom begin to brown and the clear butter smells nutty and takes on a slightly amber color, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat quickly and transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer to cool 10 minutes.
3. Beat butter and sugars at medium speed 2 minutes. With mixer on low, add eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla and beat at high speed until mixture is lightened and thickened, 2-3 minutes.
4. Gradually add flour to butter-sugar mixture. Beat at low speed until combined. Beat in chips and nuts to combine. Cover and chill 2 hours.
5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment. Use a cookie scoop to place dough on prepared pans 2 inches apart.
6. Bake 12 minutes or until centers puff slightly and edges are light brown. Cool on pan 10 minutes, move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.
PUMPKIN COOKIES WITH ORANGE GLAZE
1 16-ounce roll sugar cookie dough at room temperature
½ cup pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1½ cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
2-3 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1. In a large bowl break up the cookie dough. Add pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Beat with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill 1 hour.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with baking parchment. Use a 1-ounce scoop to place dough on prepared pans 2 inches apart. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Let cool in pans 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, zest and juice until smooth and pouring consistency. If mixture is too thick, add juice 1 tablespoon at a time as needed. If too thin add powdered sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
4. Spoon over cookies to glaze. Let set before storing in an airtight container. Makes 18 cookies.
Note: The recipe easily doubles and for best results, freeze the dough balls before baking.
MINT CHOCOLATE BROWNIE COOKIES
1 package brownie mix
1 cup quick cooking oatmeal
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon water
½ cup melted butter
1 cup chopped Andes mints or Andes mint baking chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10x15-inch baking pan with baking parchment.
2. Combine dry brownie mix, oats, cinnamon, eggs, water and butter. Stir in mints.
3. Drop dough by tablespoons onto prepared pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on pan 5 minutes, move to wire rack to cool completely.
RASPBERRY THUMBPRINT COOKIES
2/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 10x15-inch baking pan with baking parchment. In a small bowl combine flour, cinnamon and ½ teaspoon salt.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together butter, sugar and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture to make dough.
3. Chill dough 1 hour. Us a 1-ounce cookie scoop, roll each scoop into a ball then roll in sugar. Use a melon baller or your thumb to press a dent in the top of each.
4. Warm jam in microwave 10 seconds. Fill (but don’t overfill) each dent with jam.
5. Place filled balls on a prepared baking pan. Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool on pan 5 minutes them move to wire rack to cool completely. Makes 2 dozen cookies.
This article originally appeared on Wichita Falls Times Record News: Shape and freeze cookies ahead of time for easy prep