Recipe: fourteen in one cookies

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Recipe: fourteen in one cookies

Fourteen in One Cookies (Master Recipe)

Makes about 7 dozen 2 1/2-inch cookies.

Simplicity itself. We love this recipe, especially at holiday time, because from just one easy cookie dough, you can make fourteen kinds of cookies. Putting the sugar through a food processor gives these cookies a wonderful lightness and fineness of texture.

Have all ingredients at room temperature, 68 to 70 degrees F.

In a large bowl, beat on medium speed until very fluffy and well blended:

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter,
at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, processed in a food processor
for 30 seconds, or superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Add and beat until well combined:

1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Reduce the speed to low and beat in just until combined:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Divide the dough in half and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. (The dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days or it can be double-wrapped and frozen for up to 1 month.)

To bake, position a rack in the upper third and another in the lower third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Remove 1 disk of dough from the refrigerator and cut in half. Return the unused portion to the refrigerator. Either: Scoop the cookie dough into 1-tablespoon balls with a small ice cream scoop and roll each ball between your palms until smooth. Place the dough balls on parchment-lined cookie sheets, spacing about 2 inches apart. Using the bottom of a smooth, flour-coated glass, flatten each dough ball to about 1/8 inch thick.

Or: Lightly flour the work surface. Roll the dough to 1/8 inch thick, using an offset spatula to loosen the dough. Sprinkle the surface lightly with flours as needed to keep the dough from sticking. Cut the dough into desired shapes. Place the dough shapes on parchment-lined cookie sheets, spacing about 1/2 inch apart. Get as many dough shapes as you can out of each sheet, because the dough should be rolled only 2 times. Discard any leftover dough after the second rolling, or form the leftover dough into balls and flatten them to about 1/8 inch thick.

Bake, 2 sheets at a time, until the cookies are evenly golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes, rotate the sheets halfway through baking for even browning. Using a thin-bladed spatula, immediately transfer the cookies to racks to cool to room temperature. Decorate the cooled cookies, if desired, and transfer to an airtight container.

Cornmeal Citrus Cookies
Follow the master recipes, adding 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon or orange zest to the creamed butter, sugar, and salt, and substituting 1 cup find cornmeal for 1 cup of the flour.

Chocolate-Cinnamon Cookies
Follow the master recip, adding 1 ounce melted and cooled unsweetened chocolate to the creamed butter, sugar, and salt. Substitute 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa for 1/4 cup of the flour and add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon to the flour-cocoa mixture.

Marble Cookies
Follow the master recipe, stirring 2 ounces melted and cooled semisweet or bittersweet chocolate into one-quarter of the master recipe dough. Divide the chocolate dough into 6 portions. Press into the remaining three-quarters of the master recipe dough. Knead the doughs together to create a marbled effect.

Lemon Butter Cookies
Follow the master recipe, adding 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest to the creamed butter, sugar, and salt.

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Follow the master recipe, adding 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest to the creamed butter, sugar, and salt, and stirring 2 tablespoons poppy seeds into the finished dough.

Orange Butter Cookies
Follow the master recipe, adding 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest to the creamed butter, sugar, and salt.

Orange-Nut Cookies
Follow the master recipe, adding 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest and 1 cup finely ground walnuts, pecans, or skinned hazelnuts to the creamed butter, sugar, and salt.

Coconut Cookies
Follow the master recipe, stirring 1 cup flaked sweetened dried coconut, toasted, into the finished dough.

Ginger Cookies
Follow the master recipe, adding 1 teaspoon ground ginger to the flour and stirring 6 tablespoons finely minced candied ginger into the finished dough.

Butterscotch Cookies
Follow the master recipe, substituting 1 cup packed light brown sugar for the sugar.

Peanut Butter Cookies
Because of the extra fat from the peanut butter, these cookies have a sandier, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Follow the master recipe, creaming 2/3 cup peanut butter with the butter, sugar, and salt.

Spice Cookies
Follow the master recipe, substituting 1 cup packed light brown sugar for the sugar and adding 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves to the flour.

Raisin-Spice Cookies
Prepare Spice Cookies, above, stirring 1/2 cup finely minced raisins or 1/2 cup dried currants into the finished dough.