There are so many Christmas cookie recipes, but often so little baking time during the busy holiday season.

The solution? A great-tasting basic cookie recipe that quickly and easily turns into a variety of easy-to-make holiday treats, friends and family will think you’ve topped off all your favorite holiday cookie recipes.

Let’s start with the basics.

Basic cookie dough recipe

1/2 cup (or 1 stick) of butter (or margarine) at room temperature

1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed

2 tablespoons of sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except flour. Beat with an electric mixer, scraping down the sides of the bowl several times, until the mixture is light and fluffy. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour little by little, beating until everything is well mixed.

Scoop the mixture onto a baking sheet with a tablespoon and press with a spoon to flatten a bit. Or roll our and cut into shapes with a cookie cutter. Bake at 350ºF for about 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

This basic cookie mix is ​​also the base for the following cookie recipes (all baked in a preheated 350ºF oven).

Orange Cookies

(Makes about 32)

Add 1 tablespoon of orange zest to the recipe. Form a log approximately 1 1/2 “in diameter and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Cut dough into 1/4 “thick slices. Place on cookie sheet. Cookies can be decorated with candy, rolled in colored sugar, or cut into pretty Christmas shapes before baking. Bake in preheated oven for 12 -15 minutes, until lightly golden.

Chocolate squares with cherry and coconut

(Makes about 54 squares)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon of almond extract

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

3 cups of grated coconut

1/2 cup maraschino cherries, well drained and coarsely chopped

Line a 13 “x 9” baking pan with aluminum foil.

Add the cocoa powder to the basic dough mixture. Press evenly into prepared skillet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust looks dry.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, almond extract, and baking powder until well combined. Add the coconut and cherries. For on the baked crust.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the top begins to brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in the skillet on a wire rack. Lift it up onto a cutting board using the ends of the aluminum foil and cut it into 1 1/2 “squares. The squares can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

Coconut pineapple cookies

(Makes about 36)

In addition to the basic dough you will need:

1 1/2 cups flaked coconut sweetened

1/3 cup canned pineapple (use raspberry or apricot if you prefer)

Add 1 cup of shredded coconut to the basic dough mixture and mix well. Roll dough into 1 1/2 “balls and roll in remaining coconut to coat. Place balls 1” apart on lightly greased baking sheets. Make a deep indentation in the center of each cookie with your fingertip.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the cookie is firm and the coconut is lightly toasted. When cool, fill each hole in the center of the cookies with the preserves.

You can vary this basic dough to make a wide variety of Christmas cookie recipes. Add other seasonings like maple, ginger, or cinnamon. Add chopped dried fruits like apricots or dates. Or, bake them plain into Christmas shapes and garnish with colored frosting.

Christmas is a wonderful time of the year. We hope these quick and easy Christmas cookie recipes help keep the pressure on the cook.

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