Three Cookie Doughs to Freeze Now, Bake Later

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It's that time of year. The holidays. And though it's tempting to wake up early the morning of a holiday party to bake, we recommend making these freezable recipes now, for easy baking later -- and a chance to sleep in. These aren't your typical sugar cookie recipes; these will make you look like a domestic goddess.

See also: - Anatomy of a Chocolate Chip Cookie with Brady Breese of Urban Cookies - Ten Favorite Metro Phoenix Cookie Shops

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies (courtesy of Mary Lynn Crowley)

2 and 2/3 cups all purpose flour 2/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa 2 teaspoon baking soda 2 sticks plus 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (11 ounces) 1 cup light brown sugar ½ cup granulated sugar 2 ½ teaspoons fleur de sel (it's a fancy salt) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into ¼-inch pieces (2 cups)

Preheat oven to 350° F.

1. In a medium bowl, sift the flour with the cocoa and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream the butter, then add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, fleur de sel and vanilla. Cream with mixer until combined.

2. Beat in the sifted dry ingredients just until blended; dough will be crumbly but will hold together. Knead in the chocolate pieces until evenly distributed.

3. Form the dough into two logs, 1 1/2-inches in diameter, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate until firm -- at least two hours. (This is the point when you can freeze the dough in logs in a ziplock bag.)

4. Line 4 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Using a sharp, thin knife, cut the logs into 3/8-inch slices and arrange about 1 inch apart on the cookie sheets. If the slices crumble, re-form the cookies by pressing the dough together.

5. Bake the cookies on the middle and lower racks of the oven for about 17 minutes, or until puffed and cracked on top; shift the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through. Let the cookies cool on the sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cranberry Sparkle Cookies (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour 1 1/2 cups dried cranberries (you could also use cherries) 2 to 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pats 3 tablespoons 1 percent milk

Coating Scant 1/2 cup coarse white sparkling sugar. Place the flour and dried cranberries in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the cranberries are coarsely shredded. Imagine a single dried cranberry cut into about 4 pieces: that's your goal.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

1. Whisk together the flour/cranberry mixture, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the vanilla and butter, mixing until the butter is thoroughly distributed, but some pea-sized chunks still remain. Dribble in the milk while mixing; the dough will become cohesive.

At this point decide how you freeze the dough. Some folks like "log-like" dough, others like to freeze already scooped dough

2. Place the coarse sugar in a plastic bag; about 1-quart size should do.

3. Using a teaspoon cookie scoop (or a spoon), scoop the dough by 1 3/4-teaspoonfuls (about 1 ¼" balls) into the bag, 6 or 8 at a time. Close the top of the bag, and gently shake to coat the balls with sugar. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, and use the bottom of a glass to flatten them to about a quarter-inch thick (about 1 ½ inches in diameter). Repeat with the remaining dough.

4. Bake the cookies for 10 to 14 minutes, until they're set and barely, barely beginning to brown around the very edge; the tops shouldn't be brown at all. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan.

Makes about 42 cookies.

Espresso Chocolate Chip Cookies or Bars (courtesy of Carolyn Lascko)

Warning, if you go heavy on the espresso, as in 2 to 4 tablespoons, these will give you a serious buzz that you will crave all day.

2 1/4 cups flour 1 teaspoon baking soda 1 teaspoon salt 1 cup butter softened 3/4 cup sugar 3/4 cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla 2 eggs beaten 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder 2, 12 oz packages of the chocolate chips of your choice -- ideally one package semi sweet and one package milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

1. In a large bowl combine butter, sugars, vanilla and beaten eggs. Mix well.

2. Gradually add flour, baking soda, salt and expresso to the large bowl. Mix well.

3. Add in chocolate chips with a spatula.

4. For bars, spread into greased cookie pan with edges. You may also use a pan with parchment paper.


For cookies drop by teaspoon onto a lightly greased pan or sheet with parchment

At this point you would freeze the dough.

5. Bake bars 20 minutes, bake cookies 9-12 minutes.

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