Cookies, cookies and more cookies
Baking is a much-loved holiday tradition and something that can get the whole family into a festive spirit. And who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked homemade cookies? My two kids love to bake cookies with me, and it is a wonderful activity that will provide many happy memories for years to come.
A cookie for every taste
Use this basic homemade cookie recipe and pick and choose from the variety of flavours in the tips below. The idea to have one fool proof recipe that you can adapt to conjure up homemade delicious treats, is just fabulous.
Roll, cut and bake
This homemade cookie dough is easy to work with. The dough rolls out easily and can be cut it into many shapes and forms. Or roll into balls, place on a baking tray and flatten with a fork. You can even use the cookies as decorations over the festive season. Thread string or ribbon through a hole made before baking them – a straw or very small cookie cutter works well. See the images below for inspiration. Cookies are great gifts for your colleagues, friends or family. Be creative with this homemade cookie recipe, but most of all, have fun baking!
Homemade cookie dough
Recipe from Make five/Maak vyf
Makes about 50 small or 30 larger cookies
150 ml (150 g) soft butter
150 ml castor sugar
1 extra-large egg
5 ml (1 tsp) vanilla essence
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
500 ml (2 cups) cake flour
- Preheat the oven to 180 °C. Line a large baking tray or two smaller trays with baking paper. It’s not necessary to grease the paper, as the cookies contains enough butter.
- Place butter and sugar in large mixing bowl and beat with an electric beater until creamy. Add egg, vanilla and lemon rind and beat until well blended.
- Add the flour and stir until it almost resembles a crumbly mixture. Gently mix with your hands or a wooden spoon to form a dough.
- Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Gently roll out and cut with a cookie cutter or stamp in the shapes and sizes you prefer. Alternatively, roll small balls of dough with your hands, place on the baking tray and flatten with a fork.
- Bake for 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and store in an airtight container. Ice to your preference (see tips).
- Roll dough in a sausage shape, cover in plastic wrap and freeze. Cut slices from the frozen dough and bake, as described above. This is a convenient way to have freshly baked cookies in a jiffy
- Peanut butter & chocolate cookies: See the main image. Peanut butter is a wonderful ingredient and combines so well with chocolate. Prepare 1 x Homemade cookie dough, but substitute 45 ml (3 tbsp) of the butter with 75 ml (5 tbsp) crunchy peanut butter and use soft brown sugar instead of castor sugar. Divide the dough into even-sized balls of approximately 15 ml (1 tbsp) each. Remember, they need to sandwich together. Place on the baking tray and flatten slightly with a fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown and cooked. Allow to cool on a cooling rack. Filling: Place 70 g chopped dark chocolate in a small heat-proof bowl over gently simmering water and stir until it has melted. Stir in 5 ml (1 tsp) butter, until well blended. Place a spoonful of the chocolate mixture on the flat side of a cookie and spread a second cookie with a little bit of peanut butter. (You will need about 60 ml (¼ cup) for a batch of cookies.) Carefully press the two cookies together. Repeat with the rest of the cookies, chocolate mixture and peanut butter. Allow the cookies to stand until the chocolate has set. Store in an airtight container.
- Spice cookies: Season the Homemade cookie dough by adding 10 ml (2 tsp) ground cinnamon or ground mixed spice and 2,5 ml (½ tsp) ground ginger to the flour.
- Cinnamon-sugar cookies: Mix 60 ml (¼ cup) sugar with 15 ml (1 tbsp) ground cinnamon to prepare cinnamon sugar. Prepare the Homemade cookie dough and sprinkle the unbaked cookies with cinnamon sugar. Bake as indicated. A pinch of ground cloves is also delicious added to cinnamon sugar.
- Chocolate cookies: Add 125 ml (½ cup) chopped chocolate to the dough or use good quality chocolate chips.
- Icing ideas: Mix 250 ml (1 cup) icing sugar with 25 ml (5 tsp) lemon juice or water flavoured with a few drops of vanilla essence or rose-water. Colour with a food colouring or powder of your choice and use to your preference. OR melt 30-50 g of dark chocolate and drizzle cookies with icing or chocolate, spread it over the top or use it to sandwich cookies together. Dip cookies halfway in the icing or chocolate for an interesting look. Allow icing to set.