4-in-1 Cookie Dough!

Sometimes you want to have a variety of options for a holiday cookie platter, but not necessarily the time or energy to make several batches of dough. Or maybe you have the time, but don’t necessarily want to have full batches of four different kinds of cookies that will stay in your house for only you to eat them! Either way, this recipe can help you out. It takes one recipe for the dough (the same dough used for our rolled sugar cookies) and gives four ways to use that dough for different holiday goodies: Swirl Cookies, Kiss Cookies, Thumbprints, and Cut Outs. Happy Holidays!

~ Theresa

What you need:


For the dough:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 ½ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. salt
  • 6 T. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/3 c. shortening
  • ¾ c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla

For the Kiss Cookies: 9-12 Kisses, ½ c. sugar for rolling

For the Thumbprint Cookies: jelly, Nutella, or frosting

For the Swirl Cookies: food coloring of choice

For the Cut Outs: sprinkles


  • stand mixer fitted with paddle
  • rolling pin
  • sharp knife (for the swirl cookies)
  • cookie cutters (for the cut outs)
  • parchment paper, optional

Time: 10 minutes prep, 3 hour chilling time, 60 minutes decorating/baking

Freezeable: All of these cookies freeze well. Place them in a sealed container with a layer of wax paper in between cookies. A hard container works better than a freezer bag for cookies like Cut Outs that may be more fragile, depending on the shape.

Serves: Makes about 4 dozen cookies (about 1 dozen of each variety)

Multiplying the recipe: Yes, it multiplies well.

4-in-1 Cookie Dough:

To make the dough: In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and shortening for 30 seconds. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in egg, milk, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until well combined.

To make four different cookies, divide the dough evenly into 4 containers. Divide one of the quarters in half. Add food coloring to one or both halves of the final quarter. Cover and chill all of the dough for at least 3 hours. (I often leave it overnight.)

Preheat the oven to 375F.

For Swirl Cookies: Roll out each color of dough into a rectangle, about 4×12 inches. Layer the rectangles on top of each other. Starting on one short side, roll the rectangles together into a log. Cover and return to the refrigerator to chill while you work with the other dough.

For the Kiss cookies: Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in granulated sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes. Immediately top with unwrapped Kisses. Remove to a cooling rack to cool.

For the Thumbprint cookies: Roll the dough into 1-inch balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press the center of the ball down with your thumb. Bake 8-10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool. Once cooled, put a heaping tablespoon of jelly or other desired filling in the thumbprint.

For the Cut Outs: On a floured surface, roll the dough to about 1/8 inch thick. Using your favorite holiday cookie cutters, dip the cutter in flour and cut out cookies. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Decorate with sprinkles. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool.

For the Swirl Cookies: Remove dough log from the refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, slice the dough into ¼-1/2 inch slices. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack to cool.

Be careful not to overwork the dough, as that can result in less tender cookies. For the Cut Outs and Swirl Cookies that are rolled more than the others, it can be helpful to stick the tray of formed cookies in the freezer while the previous tray bakes. Chilling the dough for a few minutes can make a big difference in the texture of the cookies!


About Cooking for the Fam

Katie and Theresa are sisters-in-law who are passionate about food, passionate about family, and passionate about making and sharing food with their families. The Fam needs to eat. Make it good!
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