Why settle for one cookie variety when you can have nine? This easy sugar cookie base is the perfect canvas to unleash your creativity with nine different festive and unique cookie varieties, each perfectly suited for the holiday season. From coconut-lime-macadamia to caramel popcorn, these cookie flavors are anything but basic. Make the dough ahead of time, and you'll be set when it's time to get baking.

By Sara Tane
December 05, 2016
Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor

The holiday season means one thing and one thing only–COOKIES. Rather than exhausting that same traditional cookie recipe you've made every holiday season for the last 14 years, we think you should switch it up and try something new and exciting. Instead of shopping for an excessive amount of different cookie recipes, we simplified the process and created one uniform base dough that can be dressed up into nine different, and equally amazing, cookies.

The Cookie Dough Base

Combine 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1/2 cup softened unsalted butter; and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until fluffy. Add 1 large egg to mixture; beat just until blended. Beat in 7.9 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Then pick from one of our flavor combos to customize your cookies. (This basic cookie dough recipe is also listed in each  of the 9 cookie recipes.)

Whether you're craving something festive like Chocolate and Peppermint, or perhaps just a good ol' Peanut Butter Crunch Cookie, this no-fuss cookie dough can do it all. Beat the holiday rush by making and freezing the dough now. This way, when the holiday party time crunch is all too real, all you have to do is toss in your mix-ins of choice and you are on the way to all-star cookie status. Trust us, these toppings are way more exciting than your run-of-the-mill chocolate chips, oatmeal, and raisins.

Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor
Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor
Credit: Photo: Randy Mayor

For a lighter, fresher take, head the citrus route and opt for the Lemon, Lavender, and Poppy Seed cookies. Not only do the poppy seeds add a slightly savory crunch, the lemon and lavender provide a delightfully fragrant aroma. Alternatively, another fresh citrus option is the Orange, Sesame, and Honey. In addition to those, might we recommend the Coconut, Lime, and Macadamia Cookie that offers a slightly tropical nutty flavor with a burst of sweetness.

If the cookies are for a group of hungry kids, definitely try the Rocky Road. Chock full of mini marshmallows, chopped chocolate, and toasted pecans, what's not to love in this hearty cookie? Additionally, the Caramel Popcorn mix-in is the go-to option if you're craving something that flirts between savory and sweet and is just the right amount of salty. For an unexpected and unapologetically sophisticated rendition, beat in Black Pepper, Dried Strawberries, and Chopped Pistachios. Add a boozy twist to your cookies with Bourbon, Cranberries, and Walnuts for a grown-up spin on an oatmeal raisin cookie.

By sticking to this basic dough and using these creative add-ins, you can create an entire cookie tray full of different flavors without the hassle and hustle of making so many confections. And this time of year, we could all do with a little less hassle.