How to Make 5 Different Cookies From a Single Roll of Dough

Pressed for time this holiday season, yet simultaneously committed to multiple cookie exchanges? Take the shortcut of all shortcuts (Sandra Lee would be so proud) and buy a single roll of pre-made cookie dough (I chose peanut butter, but plain sugar works, too). Incorporate just a few additional ingredients, bake according to printed directions* and suddenly you have these five (fairly) different cookies:

5. Sprinkle Circles. Roll out the dough onto a floured surface, then use a round cookie cutter (or the rim of a water glass) to cut out even circles. Dusty heavily with seasonal sprinkles and bake.

4. Trail Mix Bites. In a small bowl, combine raisins (or dried cranberries), any type of nut (I like peanuts or pistachios), pretzels and/or loose oats/crushed granola. Add as much "trail mix" as desired to 1/5 of the dough log. Hand-form into discs and bake.

*Tip: Use parchment or wax paper to ensure cookies do not stick to pan.

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies. So easy it's criminal. Add (semi-sweet, milk or dark) chocolate chips as desired for your preferred chip-to-dough ratio to 1/5 of the dough log. Form into medium-size balls and bake. Remove from oven just barely done if you have good taste and prefer chewy cookies, or wait until brown sheen forms for crispy cookies.

2. Peanut Butter Cup Kisses. To make this riff on the standard "peanut butter kisses," use peanut butter dough as the base, but then swap the usual Hershey kiss for a mini peanut butter cup. If that's just too much PB craziness for you, use plain dough.

1. Chocolate or Vanilla Sandwiches. Roll dough onto floured surface and use cookie cutter (or rim of a water glass) to form even circles. Bake according to directions. Remove from baking sheet and cool completely on wire wrack. Add as much chocolate or vanilla icing as desired on flat side of one cookie. Top with flat side of another cookie to form a sandwich.

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