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All-Occasion Cookies

Contributed by: NAPSA

Hosting A Cookie Exchange-How Sweet It Is! (NAPSA) - The holiday season often means that time is tighter than ever, making it difficult to bake a large variety of cookies for your holiday table. A cookie exchange offers a simple solution for today's busy bakers.

A cookie exchange is usually held at someone's house, where the guests bring enough of their home-baked cookies to share with the entire group. As a result, participants can bring home a wide variety of cookies with less effort and time.

On the invitation, clearly state the rules of a cookie exchange:

  • Make it clear that each guest will be baking a dozen cookies for each participant (let them know the number of people you have invited, including yourself).

  • Sturdy cookies without icings tend to survive the transport better than softer cookies.

  • Guests should provide enough recipe cards to share at the party.

  • Remind guests to bring containers so they can take their goodies home.

Schedules fill up fast during the holiday season, so it's a good idea to hold the party at an "off-peak" time, such as a weekend morning or a weeknight. You can also host a Pampered Chef cookie show, where a Kitchen Consultant can demonstrate easy cookie preparation and decorating techniques for baking delicious cookies with the All-Occasion Cookie Dough recipe. For more information, or to find a Kitchen Consultant in your area, call 1-800-266-5562.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package (18.25 oz.) white cake mix
  • 2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound (4 sticks) butter or margarine, divided (do not use vegetable oil spread)
  • Milk or beaten egg whites (optional)

Optional decorations:

  • Colored sugar crystals
  • Sprinkles
  • Chopped nuts
  • Icing
  • Melted chocolate
  • Powdered sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. In Small Batter Bowl, microwave 2 sticks of butter on High 1 minute or until melted. Slice remaining butter into 1/2-inch pieces; add to melted butter, tossing to coat. Let stand 3-5 minutes or until softened.

Meanwhile, in large bowl, combine cake mix and flour; blend well using Stainless Steel Whisk, breaking up any large lumps. Whisk butter until smooth and free of lumps. If necessary, microwave butter an additional 10-20 seconds or until creamy and pourable. Do not melt completely.

Pour butter all at once into dry ingredients. Mix until dry ingredients are incorporated and dough is smooth. (If dough is too stiff to stir, knead by hand until smooth.)

Form cookies as desired. To decorate cookies before baking, brush unbaked cookies lightly with milk or egg whites using Pastry Brush and sprinkle with colored sugar crystals, sprinkles or finely chopped nuts.

Bake cookies on flat Baking Stone 15-17 minutes or until very light golden brown. Cool 3 minutes on baking stone; remove to Stackable Cooling Rack. Cool completely. To decorate cookies after baking, use icing or melted chocolate, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

Forming Cookies

  • Pressed cookies: Fill Cookie Press, fitted with disk of your choice, with dough. Press dough onto flat baking stone, 1 inch apart. Yield: 8 dozen cookies.

  • Cutout cookies: Turn dough out onto well-floured Cutting Board. With floured hands, gently knead dough, adding up to 1/2 cup additional flour as needed to form a firm dough. Divide dough into 3 equal portions. Shape each portion of dough into an 8-inch disk. Generously flour surface of cutting board or countertop. Roll one disk of dough out evenly to 1/8-inch thickness using Baker's Roller. Cut cookie shapes using Bread Tubes; transfer to flat baking stone, 1 inch apart. Yield 21/2 dozen cookies.

  • Drop cookies: If desired, stir 1/2 to 1 cup (any combination) of the following ingredients into the dough: chocolate morsels or miniature candy-coated chocolate pieces; toffee bits; chopped nuts or candies; or dried fruit. Using Small Scoop, drop level scoops of cookie dough onto flat baking stone, 2 inches apart. Yield: 7 dozen cookies.



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