MASTER BASIC COOKIE RECIPE with VARIATIONS

After a too-long hiatus, here is another recipe/method which should be handy for the not-too-far-away  HOLIDAY BAKING SEASON.  Note that most of these cookies store well without become stale.  Do not store in plastic bags or containers for long periods.  These do best in the metal cookie tins that your mothers or grandmothers favored.

This is the recipe for a BASIC COOKIE MIX that can be prepared ahead of time, stored in the fridge or freezer and used when needed to quickly assemble batches of cookies adding what I have suggested or adding your own variations – the possibilities are endless. Dried fruits, nuts, M&Ms, Reeses pieces, different spices and so on.
I used to use this for holiday gifts – giving a jar of this with the additives in Ziplock bags – leaving only the perishable stuff needed to add.

Note that some of the recipes require the addition of cake flour. Because some need more and some less – and it tends to clump into hard lumps if mixed into the basic stuff, that needs to be added with the other ingredients. You can also use organic pastry flour, or “soft” wheat flour, such as White Lily – it just has to be very low gluten so the cookies are tender.
It can be omitted completely, you just need to use a bit more of the basic mix or a bit less liquid.

MASTER BASIC COOKIE RECIPE

10   cups all-purpose flour

3    cups white sugar

3    cups light brown sugar

4    Tablespoons baking powder

4    teaspoons kosher salt

3   cups butter – cut into small cubes  – divide into two batches

Mix all the dry ingredients together.

Place half the dry mixture into the bowl of a food processor (depending on size of processor – smaller machines use 1/3)

Add half the butter and pulse until the mixture looks like fine bread crumbs.

Transfer to a container that can be tightly sealed and is fridge or freezer safe.  Mixture will keep for weeks in the fridge, months in freezer.

Process the other half of the dry ingredients with the remainder of the butter again until it looks like fine bread crumbs.

Transfer to the container.

Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before using in one of the following recipes.

 

VARIATIONS ON A THEME – COOKIES EVERY WHICH WAY

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OATMEAL RAISIN

Yield – about 30 cookies – depending on size of portion

2     Cups – Basic cookie mix

3      Cups rolled oats –  Old-Fashioned are best but any type will work.

1/4   Cup  Dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1      Cup Raisins – or Sultanas (other dried fruits chopped can be substituted. Also candied ginger, coconut chips, dried banana chips, etc.)  Be creative!

1/2   teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2   teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2  sticks softened butter

1     large egg

1     teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3     Tablespoons dark molasses

Combine all the dry ingredients – and the raisins – in a large bowl

Beat the softened butter with the egg, vanilla and molasses and add to the dry ingredient.

Stir until well blended.

Drop walnut-sized portions onto a baking sheet lined with parchment – leave about 1 1/2 inches between for cookies to spread.

Bake in a pre-heated oven (350° F.)  for 18 minutes.

Remove from oven, slide parchment onto a cooling rack.

 

LEMON SUGAR COOKIES

Yield, about 40 cookies.

3     Cups Basic cookie mix

1     Cup cake flour

1     Large egg (slightly beaten)

1     Tablespoon – Rounded – grated lemon zest

1     Tablespoon  lemon juice

1/2   cup granulated sugar for rolling cookie balls

Mix together  cookie mix, cake flour, egg, lemon zest and lemon juice in a large bowl until completely blended.

Turn out onto parchment paper or silicone kneading mat.

Divide into 4 portions.

Form into small rolls about 1 inch in diameter.

Wrap individually in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.

Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

Cut rolls into 1-inch pieces and roll between palms to form balls.

Roll balls in granulated sugar.

Arrange balls on baking sheet lined with parchment, flatten with bottom of a glass dipped in sugar.

Leave about 1 inch space between cookies.

Bake for 6 – 8 minutes  (If using convection oven, use shorter baking time)

Remove from oven, slide parchment onto cooling rack.

 

CRANBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE COOKIES

(I can’t ear regular chocolate – chocolate chips can be substituted)

VARIATION –  may add 1/2 cup chopped pecans or macadamia nuts  OR other dried fruits, chopped if larger than raisin size, coconut chips, etc.

2 1/2   Cups basic cookie mix

1/2   Cupcake flour

1     Tablespoon – heaping – grated orange zest

1     Large egg  beaten

2     Tablespoons water (or orange juice)

1     Cup dried cranberries

1     Cup while chocolate chunks or white chocolate chips

Variations – add if desired –

Extra granulated sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl  mix together the  dry ingredients, toss with the cranberries and chocolate chunks and nuts if desired.

Add the egg, the liquid and mix until thoroughly blended.

Shape into balls about 1 1/2 inch in diameter (or larger if desired)

Rolls balls in granulated sugar.

Place on baking sheet lined with parchment, about 3 inches apart and flatten slightly so they don’t roll and to allow cookies to spread.

Bake for 15 minutes, cookies should be just slightly browed around the edges.

Remove from oven and slide parchment with cookies intake onto cooling rack.

 

PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

VARIATION

P-NUT BUTTER COOKIES WITH TOFFEE BITS

Yield:  About 4 dozen cookies – depending on size.

2 1/2   Cups basic cookie mix

1     Cup cake flour

1     Cup creamy peanut butter

1     Large egg

(Variation)  1/2 cup Toffee bits

A little flour for use in finishing shape.

Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a large mixing bowl (or stand mixer) place all ingredients and mix until well blended and mixture is texture of soft clay.

Scoop into portions – 1″ to 2″ in diameter – depending on size of finished cookies you want.

Roll into balls  and place about 2 inches apart on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Using a dinner fork dipped in flour, mash cookies flat in a criss-cross pattern OR use the bottom of a glass with an incised design – I use one with a “hobnail” design.

Bake in preheated oven for 12 – 15 minutes, depending on size of cookies – A convection oven will take less time.

The cookies should be only slightly browned at the edges.

Remove from oven and slide parchment with cookies intact onto cooling rack.

 

TRIPLE GINGER BISCUITS (TIP OF THE HAT TO ENGLAND)

Yield about 40 cookies

3     Cups Basic Cookie Mix

1     Cup cake flour

1     Tablespoon ground ginger

1     Tablespoon grated FRESH GINGER

1     Tablespoon  finely minced CANDIED OR CRYSTALLIZED GINGER (omit this if not on hand)

1     Teaspoon ALLSPICE

1     Large egg, slightly beaten

2     Tablespoons water

1/4  Cup molasses  or Lyle’s Golden Syrup if you have it on hand.  DO NOT USE HONEY

Granulated sugar for rolling cookie balls.

Mix all ingredients (except granulated sugar) in a large bowl until well blended. (if mixture seems too dry add another tablespoon of water.

Place in fridge and chill for an hour or so.

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Using a small scoop or two teaspoons, drop portions of dough into granulated sugar spread in a pie tin.

Roll into balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet, leave about 2 inches between for cookies to spread.

Bake for 15 minutes – cooked should barely show color at the edges – shorten time if using convection oven.Remove from oven and slide parchment with cookies intact onto cooling racks.  Cool completely and store in air-tight tin.

DO NOT STORE IN PLASTIC!

 

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