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Tim Fraser for The Globe and Mail/tim fraser The Globe and Mail

Most of us bake for the holiday season, but it can be a lot of work. My solution is to make one dough to use as the basis for different kinds of cookies. The easiest is a sugar cookie dough, which can be combined with other ingredients. We've come up with four different recipes that are rolled, filled and cut out to make an attractive package for your cookie exchange. See recipes below.

For the basic sugar cookie, using a combination of light brown and white sugar produces cookies with a lovely golden colour and an appetizing hint of caramel.

Servings: Forms the basis of four batches of various cookies

Ingredients

1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

3 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons kosher salt

Method

Combine butter, sugar and brown sugar in a large bowl and beat using a mixer until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between additions. Add vanilla and beat until well combined.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add to butter mixture and beat until dough just comes together. Divide dough into 4 pieces to make 4 varieties of cookies.

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