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Cookie Magic: Five-in-One Dough

Basic Cookie Dough
With this one simple recipe, you can create five tempting treats. It's not only versatile -- it's child-friendly. It comes together quickly and stands up to a lot of handling. Turn it into cut, rolled and decorated cookies. You can double or triple this recipe and freeze a batch or two for later.

Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Baking Time: About 10 Minutes
Yield: 36 Cookies

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
Nonstick cooking spray

1. In a large bowl, beat butter with electric mixer for 1 minute. Gradually add sugar and beat until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla extract.
2. Measure flour into large sifter set over dinner plate. Add baking soda and salt. Sift flour mixture into egg-butter mixture; beat on medium speed until smooth. If dough is sticky, beat in a few more tablespoons of flour.
3. Remove dough from bowl, form into 3 balls, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight. (Dough may also be frozen.)
4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Set the dough on work surface for 5 to 10 minute or until pliable, or knead it 4 to 5 times to soften. Coat a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut out cookies with a table knife or 3-inch cookie cutter. Reroll the scraps and cut out more cookies.
6. Place cookies on the prepared baking sheet 1 inch apart; bake for 10 minutes or until bottoms start to brown and tops are firm. Remove with a spatula to a wire rack. Let cool about 15 minutes.

How Kids Can Help:
Unwrap butter and place in bowl
Form dough into balls
Roll dough
Cut out cookies