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Simple dough recipe: Step up your Christmas cookie game without a lot of extra work

MILWAUKEE -- Christmas cookies are just one fun, and tasty, way to make the season merry and bright. Food Science expert, Christina Ward, joins Real Milwaukee with one dough recipe that you can dress up a million different ways.

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups bread flour
  • 1¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1¼ cups (10 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1¼ cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 & 1/3 cups (20 ounces) dark chocolate chips, at least 60% cacao content
  • Sea salt, for sprinkling

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Sift together the cake flour, bread flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed until very light, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, then add the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low, gradually add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate chips.
  3. Press plastic wrap against the dough and refrigerate for at least 24 hours, up to 72 hours.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.
  5. Scoop 3 1/2-ounces of dough, roll into a rough ball (it should be the size of a large golf ball) and place on the baking sheet. Repeat until you have six mounds of dough on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer the parchment or silicone sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto another cooling rack to cool a bit more, until just warm or at room temperature. Repeat with remaining dough (or keep some of the dough refrigerated for up to 3 days, and bake cookies at a later time). Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Variations:

Make the Butter, Egg, Sugar, and Vanilla base. Mix in salt, baking soda, and baking powder. This is your base for all the variations below.

  1. Cashew Carmel! Mix flours, add 1 cup of cashew pieces and 3 cups caramel chips
  2. Cowboys- Mix 2 ½ cups all purpose flour, 2 cups of quick oats, 1 cup of shredded coconut, 3 cups of milk chocolate chips, 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  3. Hoots- Mix 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 cups of quick oats, 2 cups of crasins (dried cranberries), 2 cups white chocolate chips.
  4. Almond Joy- Mix in 1 cup of dutch-process cocoa into flours, 2 cups of coconut chocolate chips 1 cups of chopped almonds.
  5. Minty Scouts- Mix in 1 cup of dutch-process cocoa into flours, 2 cups of mint chips