By Allrecipes Magazine

Christmas baking just got a whole lot easier.

Here's a time-saving tip for peak cookie-baking season: Make one basic sugar cookie dough and simply change it up with easy variations. We'll share the basic sugar cookie recipe and six easy ways to change it up.

1 Dough, 6 Easy Sugar Cookie Variations

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1. Chewy Sugar Cookies

If you like 'em chewy, you'll love these. For this base recipe, the sugar cookie dough is rolled in red or white sparkling sugar before baking. Get the basic Chewy Sugar Cookie recipe.

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2. Snickerdoodles

Omit sparkling sugar. Roll dough balls in a blend of ¼ cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. cinnamon before baking.

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3. Jam-Filled Cookie Cups

Increase flour to 3¼ cups. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and omit rolling in sugar. Press balls into ungreased 13/4-inch mini muffin cups. Bake 8 minutes, press centers down with the back of a measuring spoon, and bake 2 minutes more. Cool in cups 5 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Fill each cup with 1 tsp. of your favorite jam or jelly. Makes 5½ dozen.

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4. Chewy White Chocolate, Macadamia, and Cranberry Cookies

Stir 1 cup white chocolate chips, 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts, and 1/2 cup dried cranberries into dough; drop onto cookie sheets using a small cookie scoop instead of rolling into balls. Bake as directed.

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5. Chocolate-Mint Pinwheels

Divide dough in half. Add 3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder to one half. Add 3 Tbsp. flour, 1/4 tsp. peppermint extract, and green food coloring as needed to the other half. Divide each half into 2 portions; wrap in plastic wrap and chill 10 minutes. Roll each portion between parchment paper into an 8x10-inch rectangle. Layer each green portion with 1 chocolate portion, then roll each stack into a log, starting from a long end. Wrap in parchment paper or plastic wrap and freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Slice 1/4 inch thick. Arrange 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake as directed. Makes 6 dozen.

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6. Mod Plaid Sugar Cookies

Omit rolling balls in sugar, then bake and cool cookies as directed. In each of 2 small bowls, stir 11/2 cups powdered sugar and 21/2 to 3 Tbsp. milk to make 2 thin icings. Leave one of them white and tint the other red (or desired color) with food coloring. Dip cookies partway into colored icing; let stand on wax paper until set (20 minutes). Dip cookies at another angle in white icing; let set. Note: This also works well with store-bought gingerbread or sugar cookies.

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This article originally appeared in the December/January 2020 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.

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