BASIC SUGAR COOKIES
Makes 36 2½-in. cookies
8 tbsp. (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1. Mix butter, sugar and salt on medium-high speed until just combined.
2. Mix in egg and vanilla until combined. Reduce speed to medium-low and add the flour. Mix until just combined.
3. Scrape dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and press firmly into a 1-in. thick circle. Wrap tightly and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.
4. Place oven rack to middle position and preheat to 350°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to ¼-in. thickness. Stamp out cookies with cookie cutter. Evenly space cookies 1 in. apart on baking sheet. Chill for 30 minutes.
5. Bake until light golden, about 15 minutes depending on cookie size, rotating pan halfway through baking. Cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack.
1. PEPPERMINT SUGAR COOKIES
Makes about 36 cookies
Stir in ½ cup crushed peppermint candy with vanilla in step 2. Place cookies on sheet pan, press each one with the back of a fork, first in one direction, then the other, to make a crosshatch design. Bake and cool as directed.
2. DARK CHOCOLATE AND SEA SALT “PRETZEL RODS”
Makes about 36 cookies
At step 4, roll out dough and cut into 7×1-in. strips and twist. Bake as directed. Dip cookies into 12 oz. of melted dark chocolate, leaving ¼ exposed. Sprinkle sea salt over chocolate. Chill for 30 minutes.
3. NUTELLA LINZER COOKIES
Makes 18 cookies
Roll out dough and cut out cookies with a 2¼-in. linzer cookie cutter. Bake and cool as directed. Frost bottom side of half the cookies with Nutella. Top with unfrosted cookies. Dust with powdered sugar.
4. MELTED SNOWMAN COOKIES
Makes about 25 cookies
Prep 1 batch basic cookie dough using a 3½-in. round cutter. Bake and cool as directed. To decorate: Use edible color markers or candy to make snowman’s face on marshmallow. Frost cookie with white frosting. Place the marshmallow face up toward the back edge of the cookie. Use M&Ms or jelly beans for buttons. Use white candy for arms. Make a scarf out of candy strips and wrap around marshmallow.
5. BROWN SUGAR GINGERBREAD HOUSE
Makes 10 to 12 cookies
Prepare 1 batch sugar cookie dough using ½ cup light brown sugar and ½ cup granulated sugar. Cut cookies using a large gingerbread house cutter. Bake and cool as directed. Frost with white frosting. Decorate with candy.