Martha’s Basic Vanilla Cookie Dough 30 ways

This is a quick way to make your house smell like the holidays in the blink of an eye. Well, almost. You do have to do a little work up front, but then you can float the rest of the way. I saved this recipe last December from Martha Stewart Living. It is one versatile cookie dough. The dough can be flavored vanilla, spice, chocolate, and citrus. The dough can then morph into thumbprint, spritz, slice and bake, or rolled cookies. To add even more variations there’s a ton of mix- ins. In other words one cookie done at least 30 ways!

We started this recipe in my classes on Monday and will finish on Friday. It will not take you that long. Our classes are 45 minutes so the recipe had to be broken into sections. It’s worked out great and my students have had a ball making these cookies. There have been entire cookbooks dedicated to just baking cookies so I could write an endless list of tips to follow, but I will limit it to just a few of the most important ones.

  • Make sure that you use butter or margarine that is not whipped or has added water. It will not work when making cookies. Just be safe and use unsalted butter for the best results.
  • Ingredients should be at room temperature.
  • Measure accurately.
  • Pay attention to baking times. Ovens and baking sheets can vary wildly!
  • Cookies should be the same size to cook evenly.
  • Enjoy!

Basic Vanilla Dough from Martha

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder (omit if making thumbprints, ball cookies, or spritz cookies)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For chocolate dough:
  • 2 2/3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup of cocoa
You can also make Spice and Citrus cookies. Check out Martha’s site for these. I only have tried the vanilla and chocolate.
Directions
  1. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture, and beat until combined.
  2. Once the flour is incorporated according to dough recipe, beat in the desired mix-in.
  3. Divide dough into 2 pieces. Shape each into a 10-inch log (or a 10-inch-long triangular, rectangular, or square-shaped log).
  4. Coat each in ground nuts or sanding sugar, if using.
  5. Wrap in parchment.
  6. Refrigerate until very firm, about 2 hours.
  7. Slice into 1/8 inch slices. Bake at 350 for about 11- 14 minutes.
  • Mix-Ins (choose one combination):
  • 3/4 cup each chopped toasted blanched almonds and dried cherries
  • 3/4 cup each chopped dried apricots and pistachios
  • 1 cup chopped toasted blanched almonds plus 1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1/2 cup each chopped white chocolate, toasted hazelnuts, and dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup each chopped dried papaya, macadamia nuts, and shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1 cup chopped dried cranberries plus 1/2 cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1/2 cup each chopped semisweet chocolate, toasted walnuts, and dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup each chopped candied citron and glaceed cherries
  • 1 cup chopped toasted blanched almonds plus 1/2 cup chopped candied ginger

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96 Comments

Filed under Cookies

96 responses to “Martha’s Basic Vanilla Cookie Dough 30 ways

  1. Oh great, now I am craving cookies! I love Martha’s recipe for this dough.

  2. I adore cookies like these ’cause you can freeze the logs and use them when you need them.

  3. linds

    you can put almost anything in a cookie and mix it with some other things and its good.

  4. Ashton- 1st :)

    I learned that if you don’t add the proper amount of flour to the cookies, they melt into a big puddle of cookie goo :)

  5. Noelle 1st

    I learned that you can make these cookies different kinds of ways like spritz, or thumbnail. You can also freeze them and keep them for a while.

  6. grace wilemon

    i learned when making these cookies that You MUST get all the ingredients correctly measured and mixed properly.

  7. Kaley G. 1st pd

    I learned that you can freeze cookie dough and take it out later to cook it.

  8. Haley

    I learned that you can freeze cookie dough and use it again in the future.

  9. wayne 1st

    i learned how to easily make cookies and that there are many ways to make them with different added ingredients.

  10. cory m

    i learned if you only use 1 cup of flour (like us) your cookies will be a disaster

  11. victoria 1st

    i learned that all the cookies should be close to the same size so that way they all cook evenly

  12. Evan Foerster

    I learned alot from this lab, not only is this cookie recipe affordable and easy enough for young children to make, but it was also very tasty and left room for creativity. Because of this lab i know understand the basics for making any flavor of cookies.

  13. DMS1st

    I learned how to make these they were good which surprised me because I didn’t think I would like them

  14. amanda ricciardi

    Our cookies turned out wonderful! I learned how to properly split a recipe (we did vanilla and chocolate) and they turned out wonderful!

  15. Taylor Miles

    I learned that if you dont use enough flour you get cookie soup

  16. Bailey Barnett

    The cookies were very good, and affordable! I learned how cookie dough was made bc i love cookie dough!

  17. dre dat guy

    I learned that the way you cut the cookies may determine how they come out. !

  18. janasia

    i learned that you have to divide dough into 2 pieces and shape each into a 10-inch log.

  19. Olivia Walker

    I learned that in order to get the best taste from your cookies you need to use unsalted butter

  20. Cristian Valencia

    I learned that you are able to freeze your cookie dough and use it at a later time.

  21. andrea brown

    i learned that you can freeze cookie dough and cook it later

  22. Katherine Lackey

    I learned that if you chop up your ingredients into very small pieces it makes cutting the cookies easier and allows for a better cut.

  23. britnee williams

    i learned that after you have made the dough you have to roll it up in plastic wrap and put it in the refridgerator and let it get a little hard so its easier to cutt. i also learned you can use a paper towel holder to shape the cookie dough , ive never thought of that !

  24. Angel W.

    While making the cookies I learned that i dont alway have to buy store bought because homemade taste so much better !

  25. Brittany

    I learned that when making cookie dough it is best to use unsalted butter.

  26. Hector Melara

    i learned how to make the cookies in a triangle by using two french knives

  27. archie

    i learned that you can freeze them and use them later on

  28. Jessica Shearer

    I learned by making these in class, that if you don’t cut all of the cookies the same thickness, some of them will get a little more brown than others, or be less soft.

  29. Courtney Thompson 1st

    I learned that these cookies can have all types of mix-ins, and since the dough is basic, you can make the cookies versatile.

  30. Hayley

    I learned that you should probably keep the cookie dough slices smaller and very thin so that you will have a greater quantity and less “doughy” taste when they come out of the oven.

  31. Tiffany Brown 2nd

    These cookies were so good. I learned you have to use unsalted butter. Also I learned that after you have made the dough you have to roll it up in plastic wrap and put it in the refridgerator.

  32. Erin

    I learned that you can make a lot of different types of cookies with one recipe. The cookies were very tasty.

  33. Paige S

    I learned that there are 30 different ways to make this cookie. Also, that you can mix in pretty much anything you want in them.

  34. Bria Roberts

    i learned that you can use one type of dough to make lots of different cookies.

  35. Grayling

    I learned that it was possible to make cookies out of almost any house ingredient for a variety of different tastes.

  36. whitney hobbs

    After reading how to make these cookies, I learned you should make sure that you use butter or margarine that is not whipped or has added water. It will not work when making cookies.

  37. Brittany Collins

    I learned that if you use the WRONG butter, your cookie dough will not turn out right & you’ll have to make a cookie pattie instead of regular cookie slices. :P

  38. Emily Cunningham 3rd

    I learned through doing this lab that it is most important to use unsalted butter for the best results! Butter that has been whipped or has added water will not work.

  39. Beth 3rd

    I learned that you had to use the right kind of butter because if you don’t it’s not going to turn out right. Also you can freeze them so you can bake them later in the future.

  40. mallory l.

    I learned that you have to refrigerate them until they are firm.

  41. Tyra Alston 3rd

    i learned that if you dont use the right butter you will end up with a cookie patty instead of actual cookies.

  42. mary depaola

    i learned that you can freeze cookie dough and save for awhile and then cook it.

  43. Jess Craig

    I learned you can freeze the cookies for them too last longer

  44. Austin Cunningham

    i learned that there are a lot of different combinations of cookies and that you can freeze them and use them later on

  45. Kiara

    I learned that you have to use unsalted butter, or the cookies won’tcome out right.

  46. Jude Thornton 3rd

    I learned that you have to be sure to use 100% butter, otherwise the cookies will not bake correctly.

  47. Catie M. 3rd

    I learned that you refriderate the cookie dough so that it doesnt fall apart.

  48. Tiffany Swanson

    i learned that you have to measure your ingredients EXACTLY or it will come out tasting nasty.

  49. frederick welch

    I learned that if you have to chop whatever your putting in it into fine pieces or the cookies will not cut into a good shape.

  50. Kori Howard

    I learned that if you don’t use the right amount of flour or to much flour that your cookies won’t come out right !

  51. morgan jones

    i learned that you need to make sure that your butter has no vegetable oil in it and it does not say vegetable spread

  52. Morgan Woods

    I learned that all the cookies should be close to the same size so that way they all cook evenly.

  53. Sarah Jeffcoat

    If you do not use the correct butter when making the cookies, the cookies will come out a different way than normal.

  54. brianna oliver

    i learned that you should use butter or margarine that is not whipped or has water added to it because the cookies wont come out right.

  55. courtney vasquez

    i learned you can freeze the dough and use it at a later date.

  56. Payton Horton

    I learned that your mix-ins have to chopped very finely so that the will be easy to slice later.

  57. aimee stephens

    i learned that the perfect type of BUTTER is very IMPORTANT. without the right kind the cookies will be a disaster…

  58. Morgan Barnwell 4th

    from making these cookies at home, i learned that if you don’t measure correctly your cookies will be too dry and a big mess.

  59. ashley cunningham

    i learned that it is important to use the right kind of butter when making these cookies and that there is several different ingredients you can put in the cookies to make different flavors.

  60. Rebecca Bass 4th

    I learned you have to measure the flour perfect, because if you use too much they will turn in to more of a pancake than a cookie!

  61. Maeghan D

    i learned that you need to chop up yor mix-ins to little small pieces and you can save your dough if you would like to cook some another day

  62. Anna Acker 4th

    I didn’t know that all of your ingredients need to be at room temperature before making the cookie dough. My mom does that when she makes cakes, but I didn’t know it was the same thing.

  63. jamile.h

    I learned that you have to treat the dough just right or it won’t turn out right i also learned that you have to chop the things you at just right or the dough will fall apart.

  64. ashley cousin

    i learned that working as a team ,your cookies come out better.

  65. Rebecca Davenport

    I learned that you can freeze the cookie dough to make it last longer.

  66. Chelsea Tidwell 4th

    I learned that there are many different types of cookies that you can make. I was surprised that the cranberries, walnuts and chocoalate made a great combination. I also learned how to shape the roll of cookies.

  67. morgan hollomon

    i learned you can freeze it and save it for later

  68. Raenah B. 4TH

    I learned that cookies should be the same size to cook evenly.

  69. tahir

    I learned the cookies need to be the same size so that cooking times wont differ for the cookies.

  70. Jared Miller 4th

    I learned that preheating the oven to 550 will burn your cookies.

  71. katie schindehette

    I learned that you can freeze cookie dough and take it out later to cook it.

  72. nikki burns 4th

    if you refrigerate or freeze the dough it will make it easier to cut and keep into its shape

  73. Melijah Mason

    I learned that you have to measure the ingredents right. Other wise it won’t come out right.

  74. Jorman 4th

    i learned you can keep these cookies frozen for weeks and they will still be good to use.

  75. travis a platt

    I learned that if you don’t have to right temp on the stove you cookies will burn fast and be no good.

  76. Ali Nayeem

    I learned that the oven was suppose to be set at 350 not 550 and that the cookies get hard quick and to watch out for them.

  77. Cole Small

    I learned you can freeze the cookies for them too last longer

  78. ALEXX:)

    DONT COOK COOKIES ON A SUPER HIGH TEMPERATURE.

  79. regan greer

    i learned not to let people burn your cookies or you have to use the other roll that you were supposed to use later…

  80. audreycarroollll

    I learned that if you freeze the dough that it is easier to handle. Aslo if you freeze the dough it will last younger.

  81. arkell evans

    I learned that this recipe can make varieties of cookies just by adding in different mixtures and to make sure you have the oven set to the right teperature so they wont burn and its best to use a light colored cookie pan and parchment paper.

  82. Jackie

    I learned that when preparing these cookies the ingredients must be all acurate for them to turn out delicious!

  83. Noel

    This lab tought me that there are many different ways and many different kinds of cookies to bake.

  84. Case Munro

    I learned you need to put more than one cup of flour in order to make cookies.

  85. tyler edenfield

    you can freeze the cookie dough then use it later

  86. astrid 1st pd

    i learned that theres a very big variety of mixtures you can use to make delicious cookies.

  87. Destiny Williams

    Our cookies were delicious! I learned that this recipe could make several different types of cookies.

  88. Ivry

    I learned that you have to make sure you have the right measurements or your cookies will not turn out right.

  89. Maryann Rodriguez 3rd.

    I learned that you have to use a ceretian type of butter!

  90. Alina 4th pd

    I learned that you have to make sure that you use butter that is not whipped or has added water

  91. Sydnee Council 3rd period

    i learned that you have to use the correct butter or things will not turn out right

  92. madison hayes

    learned how to make cookies from scratch and not to bake them at 500 degress! (:

  93. Daniel Worrell

    i learned that you can freeze cookie dough and cook it later

  94. acanadianfoodie

    Now this would have been the PERFECT class recipe! Well, sigh. No more of that right now… :( Sure miss it! :)
    V

  95. danielle summers

    I have learned that while making cookies make sure that you use butter or margarine that is not whipped or has added water. It will not work when making cookies.

  96. Gracie Nauman

    i learned that it matters if your cookies are the same size.

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