Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Easy Cookies for a Crowd

School events, holidays, potlucks and parties are busy enough without making yourself crazy with complicated baking. This cookie recipe is easy to modify and makes a bunch of small cookies. I usually make three kinds of cookies from one batch. Divide this dough into portions and add different ingredients and you'll have a batch of cookies for any occasion.

Tools: Blender / Vitamix or Food Processor or by hand, Oven, 

Baking Pans: 2 to 4 large cookie sheets - as many as your oven can handle at once

: about 12 dozen
Baking time: 6 - 8 minutes. Assembly time including overall baking time, about 45 - 60 minutes
Oven 400 F (preheat for at least 5 minutes)
  • 2 Cups Butter softened
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • 4 eggs large - beaten
  • 1 1/2 C. Sugar - Mexican Moreno sugar, organic "white" sugar or light Brown sugar (or a combination)
  • 3 to 3 1/2 Cups flour - unbleached white or add in some whole grain if you prefer, though the texture will change.
  • 2 t. cream of tartar
  • 1/2 sea salt

    Optional ingredients:
  1. 1/2 C. colored sugar - roll teaspoon of dough in sugar before setting on baking sheet.
  2. 1 C. Chocolate drops - add to dough or insert large drops on top of single cookie
  3. 1 C. powdered sugar - when cookies are warm from the oven, put them in a paper bag and gently turn them in the sugar until completely coated. Repeat process again when they are cool if desired.
  4. 1 C. dried fruits and nuts - add to dough
  5. spices - 2 t. cinnamon, 2 t. ginger, 1/2 cloves for spice cookies. Adjust amounts to taste.

    Mix together dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

    In a mixing bowl whip butter with sugar until fluffy. Add vanilla and beaten eggs and whip for a few more seconds until everything is mixed. Reduce mixer speed to low and pour the dry mixture in gradually. The dough will stiffen, so you may need to finish mixing by hand. Note that the dough should be just dry enough to roll into little balls. Don't add all of the flour at once. Put in enough to get it to a fluffy, soft texture that is more on the wet side than the dry.
    If you want to make more than one variety of cookie, divide the dough into portions and add the optional ingredients or plan for them depending upon the cookie you want.

    Drop by small spoonfuls on greased baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake for 6 - 8 minutes and remove onto a rack to cool.

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