It's Christmas Cookie Time!

We all reach for the yummy nibbles during the holidays. But is there still time to bake biscuits and cookies when you're a busy writer? Nicole Locke shares her #deadlinefood method for filling your house with that fresh-baked smell with very little effort!

I’m a short cut taker, cheater, and a cut-in-the-queue cook. If there’s an easier way of doing a recipe, I’m taking it.

Now to be fair, I don’t skip major components or skimp on quality. The recipe to Coq au Vin still includes wine and chicken. But as often as my daughter requests this, I’m not peeling pearl onions, and browning the ingredients. That takes an extra hour and makes a mess. Nope, I throw it all into a pot with an onion and 8 tons of butter.

My family doesn’t miss the extra hour I used to take (and I don’t miss it either).

But now it’s Christmas time. The time when you lavish your hours and expense because you’re spreading joy and creating memories. Except, I cheat during this time, too.

My mother used to spend days making biscuits and candy. I grew up with these memories, and oh boy, the divinity she made was divine.I don’t make candy (that terrifies me), but I do make biscuits.

Only one…but nobody knows this. Because the one recipe is a major cheater. It doesn’t even acknowledge queues. You want jam, chocolate, nuts? This recipe can handle anything you throw at it... It’s so basic, it’s hardly a recipe.I’m talking butter biscuits. Specifically, Gourmet Magazine’s recipe they shared years ago.

I’ve made thousands of butter biscuits, but once I discovered this one, I never turned back. It’s festive, and a favourite. It’s definitely the one for me, so I can spend more time with family. I’d love to know if you try this recipe and if it saves you time, too!

Basic Butter Cookies

(makes about 4 dozen cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Garnish: coarse or sanding sugar or melted chocolate

  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

  2. Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 with a handheld. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

  3. Form dough into a 12-inch log (2 inches in diameter) on a sheet of plastic wrap and roll up dough in plastic wrap. Chill dough on a baking sheet until firm, at least 4 hours. (To roll cookies into balls, see cooks' note, below.)

  4. Put oven racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat oven to 375°F.

  5. Cut enough 1/8- to 1/4-inch-thick slices from log with a heavy knife to fill 2 ungreased large baking sheets, arranging slices about 1 inch apart (chill remainder of log, wrapped in plastic wrap). If garnishing with coarse sugar, sprinkle slices with it.

  6. Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until edges are golden, 12 to 15 minutes total. Cool on sheets 3 minutes, then transfer with a metal spatula to racks to cool completely. Make more cookies with remaining dough on cooled baking sheets.

Cooks' notes:

  • Dough log can be chilled up to 5 days or frozen, wrapped in a double layer of plastic wrap, 1 month. If frozen, thaw dough in refrigerator just until it can be sliced.

  • Instead of forming dough into a log and chilling, you can roll tablespoons of dough into 1 1/4-inch balls, then roll balls in finely chopped nuts (about 1 cup) and coarse sugar. Bake, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until bottoms are browned, about 15 minutes total.

  • To garnish cookies with chocolate, melt 3 1/2 oz chocolate and cool slightly. Transfer to a heavy-duty sealable plastic bag and snip a 1/16-inch opening in 1 corner. Pipe chocolate evenly back and forth over cookies. Let chocolate set before storing cookies.

  • Cookies keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

Sounds delicious to us! Do you have a favorite go-to cookie/biscuit recipe? Is baking part of your holiday traditions, is it something the kids get involved in or do you prefer to buy off the shelf? Tell us in the comments or share your #ChristmasCookie recipes on Social Media to join the #PHS Community's discussion .

Nicole's latest, suitably festive release, Her Christmas Knight, is out now and is one of our recommended reads! For more information check out her website, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

#deadlinefood #cookies #biscuits #NicoleLocke #herchristmasknight #basicbuttercookies #epicurious #gourmetmagazine #quickandeasy #Christmascookies

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