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Make life easy this holiday season by whipping up a big batch of the BEST sugar cookie dough and making three festive cookie variations–your holiday cookie plates (and neighbors) will thank you!
As you already know, when I was a kid sugar was pretty much verboten in our home. As such, I had to outsource my sugar fix, which meant setting up shop in my friends’ kitchens like a character straight out of Oliver (just substitute “food” for “sugar” and that was me in a nutshell).
While all of my friends had tricked out pantries that put ours to shame, my friend who lived just up the street from me really pulled out all the stops. I mean, they had individually packaged cookies! And barrels of licorice! They had sugar cereal, peanut butter granola bars, and juice boxes galore! People, they had chocolate covered pretzels.
It was heaven.
But the best part was that every year they hosted a sugar cookie decorating party. Can you imagine just how wondrous this was to my sugar-deprived soul?
So when I spotted these amazing Reynolds Cookie Baking Sheets during a weekly (don’t judge) Target sojourn, my heart tumbled right back into my friends’ cozy kitchen where I could almost see 90’s Amy heaping mountains of frosting on cookie after cookie.
And yes, 90’s Amy wore baggy overalls with one strap undone, my big brother’s beat up flannels, and neon scrunchies.
(The 90’s were not kind to me.)
I use these sheets all the time, both BF and AF (Before Felix and After Felix, duh), because they make my life so much easier. I don’t know why, but tearing parchment paper off a roll drives me cray to the z. They never fit the pan!
But these bad boys? Perfect fit every time.
Plus, they’re oven safe (up to 420 degrees), which is more than I can say for wax paper (which is an early baking disaster story that DID NOT HAPPEN TO ME, I SWEAR/it totally happened to me [hangs head in shame]).
And because I’m kind of lazy when it comes to cleaning, I just pop one of these babies on my work surface (especially if I have to roll anything out with flour, like this fab sugar cookie dough). It’s about as close as I’ll get to owning a robot that cleans after me!
Ever since those childhood cookie decorating parties, I’ve wanted to host one of my own. And because I’m always looking for ways to save time I decided to just whip up one big batch of sugar cookie dough and spin it into three different kinds of cookies!
While I love a plate of cute frosted cookies as much as the next sugar fiend, these variations add a little something special to our neighborhood cookie swap.
I adore this dough so much–it tastes just like those legendary supermarket sugar cookies (whenever we pass them in the store it takes all of our will power not to buy a few dozen) and are crazy easy to make.
This batch makes enough dough to feed a small army and is perfect if you want to do the prep the night before. Just mix up the dough, wrap it in plastic, and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake them up!
The first variation are classic Cookie Bars frosted with luscious buttercream frosting. Warren tinted these the perfect shade of pink (apparently he’s not only a pie whisperer, but a frosting whisperer, too!) and I threw on some sprinkles because sugar on sugar is dreamy.
Feel free to drool over these buttery bars of goodness.
We let it snow some powder sugar to give them even more holiday cheer!
Making these I was like, one spoonful for cookie, one spoonful for me. Them’s the perks of being the baker, right?
The third variation turns these cookies into the perfect vehicle for peppermint bark (AKA, my Holiday Tru Luv).
Just dunk baked cookies in melted white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed candy canes! I meant to drizzle some melted milk chocolate over these but I ate them before that dream could come to pass.
The cookies that survived my feeding frenzy got packed between layers of Cookie Baking Sheets and sent on their merry ways around the neighborhood!
And that’s the story about how one awesome dough got turned into three divine cookies. What are your time saving tips when it comes to holiday baking? I’m gonna need all the help I can get this year!
- For the Master Sugar Cookie Dough*
- 2 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 cups heavy cream, room temperature
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- 8 teaspoons baking powder
- 8 cups flour
- (Variation #1) Cookie Bars with Buttercream Frosting
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 8 cups powdered sugar
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Food coloring and sprinkles, optional
- (Variation #2) Hazlenut Cookie Sandwiches
- 1 cup Nutella, room temperature
- Powdered sugar, for dusting
- (Variation #3) Peppermint Bark Cookies
- 8 oz. white chocolate chips, melted
- 1 cup crushed peppermint candy, for sprinkling
- To make the master sugar cookie dough:
- Cream the butter until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the wet ingredients and mix until combined. Add baking powder and flour and mix well.
- Separate dough into 3 even balls. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour (or overnight).
- To bake all variations of cookies, preheat oven to 350.
- To make Variation #1: Cookie Bars
- Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with a Reynolds parchment paper baking sheet. Use your hands to press a third of the master dough (perhaps a little less) into the pan. The dough should be about ¼-inch thick. Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes, or until the very edges of the pan look golden brown. Cool completely and then frost with buttercream (recipe just below) and top with sprinkles. Cut into squares before serving.
- For the frosting, cream the butter until light and fluffy, about five minutes. Add half the powdered sugar, and all of the milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy, then add remaining sugar a cup at a time until you get a thick, fluffy frosting. Add a few drops of pink food coloring and beat until well combined.
- For Variation #2: Hazlenut Cookie Sandwiches
- Use the second chilled ball of dough. Divide the dough into two (to make rolling easier). Line a work surface with parchment paper and lightly flour the surface. Put half of the dough on the floured paper and roll dough thin, about ⅛ inch (cookies will rise in the oven). Use a 3-inch circle cookie cutter to stamp out cookies. Use a metal icing tip to stamp out centers of half of the cookies. Repeat until you use the rest of the dough. Bake cookies for 5-8 minutes, until bottoms are very light brown. Cool cookies completely. Spread 1 teaspoon of hazlenut spread on the bottom cookie and sandwich with the top. Dust with powdered sugar.
- For Variation #3: Peppermint Bark Cookies.
- Use the third chilled ball of dough. Divide the dough into two (to make rolling easier). Line a work surface with parchment paper and lightly flour the surface. Put half of the dough on the floured paper and roll dough to about ¼-inch (thicker than the hazlenut cookies). Use a cup or large circle cookie cutter to stamp out cookies. Repeat until you use the rest of the dough. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, until bottoms are very light brown. Cool cookies completely. Dip half of the cookie into melted white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candy.
**All cookies can be made in advance before frosting. Store in large plastic containers separated with layers of parchment paper sheets.
Cookie dough adapted from Classy Clutter