Slice and bake is just the start. Nicole McLaughlin, aka NicoleMcmom, shows you what else you can create with packaged sugar cookie dough.

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Sugar cookie dough is an easy, affordable shortcut ingredient you can turn into all kinds of treats — from lemon bars to pizza, truffles, and so much more. Here are nine ways Nicole likes to use packaged sugar cookie dough as the starting point for creativity in the kitchen.

1. Lemon Bars

Sugar cookie dough makes the perfect bottom crust for your favorite lemon bar recipe. Nicole simply slices the roll of sugar cookie dough and presses the disks into an even layer in a baking dish. Bake the crust and filling following lemon bar recipe directions.

2. Dessert Pizza

Press a package of sugar cookie dough into a pizza pan to create the soft and chewy bottom crust for a delightful fruit pizza spread with sweetened cream cheese and topped with a decorative pattern of fresh fruit and berries. Nicole takes it one step further by brushing on a coat of marmalade for a glossy finish.

3. Turtles Cookies

Nicole uses refrigerated sugar cookie dough as a shortcut ingredient when she makes these Turtles Cookies. Roll balls of sugar cookie dough in chopped pecans, and use the end of a wooden spoon handle to make an indentation in each cookie. Bake following recipe directions, then fill the indentation with caramel and drizzle with melted chocolate.

4. Cookie Sticks

Knead ¼ cup all-purpose flour into the sugar cookie dough. Place the dough on a sheet of parchment paper. Roll out dough into a rectangle, cut into sticks, and bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the edges start to turn golden brown. (No need to separate the sticks before baking.) Cool for a few minutes and then recut the pieces. After the sticks have cooled completely, dip the ends in melted white chocolate and sprinkle with cookie sprinkles or coarse sugar. Let the melted chocolate firm up before serving.

5. Pie Crust

Press dough into a pie plate and bake following package directions. Fill it with your favorite no-bake pie ingredients, chill, and serve.

6. Dessert Cookie Cups

Here's an idea using the sugar cookie dough that comes packaged in ready-to-bake portions. Press one piece of dough into the bottom and sides of each well of a mini muffin pan. Bake following package directions. Cool and remove the cups from the pan. Fill with the no-bake filling of your choice. Nicole piped in no-bake cheesecake filling and topped each one with a fresh berry.

7. Muffins/Cupcakes

Combine a roll of sugar cookie dough with ¾ cup self-rising flour, 1 can pumpkin purée, and 2 eggs. Mix into a smooth batter. Scoop the batter into a lined cupcake pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and top with a generous swirl of cream cheese frosting.

8. Cake

For a double layered cake, you'll need two rolls of cookie dough and two 8-inch cake pans lined with parchment paper. Press one roll of cookie dough into an even layer in a cake pan. Repeat, pressing the second roll of cookie dough into the second cake pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and remove from cake pan. Let cookie/cake cool completely before layering and decorating with the frosting of your choice.

9. Truffles

Slice sugar cookie dough into rounds and bake, following package instructions. Cool the cookies and break them up into pieces. Place the pieces into a food processor with 2 tablespoons cream cheese. Process into a smooth dough. Roll into balls, and dip in melted chocolate. Place the dipped balls onto waxed paper and top with the candy sprinkles of your choice.

You can connect with Nicole as NicoleMcmom on Allrecipes and on Instagram @nicolemcmom.

More tips and tricks from Nicole: