How to Spruce Up Ready-Made Cookie Dough

Image by stevendepolo on FlickrDo you want to be one of those people who shows up for parties and gatherings with a delicious cookie basket that never makes it to the dessert table?  Do you want to give gifts that make people say, “Yum!”  But are you one of those people who doesn’t have time to bake?  Or who finds measuring cups and spoons to be tedious?  Not to worry; you can still produce scrumptious homemade cookies.  The secret is starting with ready-made dough. Shh…we won’t tell.

Quick and Easy…

The quickest way to transform ready-made dough into homemade treats is to use add-ins.  If you purchase sugar cookie dough, for instance, you can easily add a few drops of food coloring to change it up.  If you’re feeling a little funky, you can even make tie-dye cookies that will make you look like a kitchen wizard.

Cut sugar cookies into any shape you like with the help of inexpensive cutters; you can buy a set that includes everything from animals and basic shapes to letters and numbers. Have a birthday gift to make? Cut out some star cookies for the guest of honor.  Do you need a gift for a coworker? Why not cut out a bouquet of flower cookies?

Another thing you can do with sugar cookie dough is cut and bake as usual, and then decorate with royal icing. A base of royal icing allows you to write on the cookies with edible markers, thicker royal icing, or gel icing.  You can also draw designs and pictures on this canvas.  Alternately, you can use buttercream frosting for a more decadent treat.  Using the icing as “glue,” you can add candy bits, sprinkles, colored sugar, and other embellishments.

That Doesn’t Look Quick and Easy

If you have some chocolate chip cookie dough on your hands, turn the ordinary into an extraordinary treat for guests and gifts (or yourself!). This recipe comes from Pillsbury.

You’ll need:

  • Refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 bag milk chocolate baking chips
  • 1 18-ounce caramel apple dip
  • 3 cups crisp rice cereal
  • 1 ¼ cup cashews pieces

To make:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350˚.
  2. In an ungreased 13x9 pan, break up the cookie dough and press evenly to form a crust.
  3. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes or until golden brown.  Let cool for 15 minutes.
  4. In a saucepan, cook 1 cup of the chocolate chips and 1 cup of the caramel dip over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from heat.
  5. Stir in cereal and cashews.
  6. Spread cereal mixture over the cookie crust.
  7. In another saucepan, heat the remaining chocolate chips and dip over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and melted.
  8. Spread over the cereal mixture.
  9. Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.

10.  Cut into bars.

11.  Enjoy the adulation of guests and recipients.

Other Options

If you are running short on time, simply try some add-ins, including M&Ms, nuts, chocolate chips or chunks, a dash of peppermint extract, chocolate mint chips, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, dried cranberries, or anything else that strikes your fancy.

Image by cheryl.reed on Flickr

You can also use the dough as a base for another dessert.  For instance, turn chocolate chip cookie dough into an edible bowl for ice cream, whipped cream and fruit, custard, or pudding. Simply turn a muffin or cupcake pan upside down. Spray the cups with cooking spray and then form dough over them.  Bake like this, let cool, and remove for an instant, delicious bowl. Fill with whatever you like, serve, and repeat step 11 of the previous recipe.

Whether you turn premade sugar cookies into a scrumptious fruit pizza or you make chocolate chip cookies  into ice cream sandwiches, you will be surprised at how many homemade treats you can make with ready-made dough.

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