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Attention cookie lovers, have we got a recipe for you. Love baking, but hate how specific every single recipe needs to be? Or maybe baking isn’t your jam, but you definitely love experimenting with different flavours? No matter what kind of cookie lover you are, one thing is for sure: this cookie recipe is absolutely game-changing.

Introducing the Anything Goes Cookie. Basically, it’s the perfect cookie base for any recipe your treat-loving heart desires. You whip it up, then add in whatever toppings you’d like. From old-fashioned chocolate chip and oatmeal to holiday treats like Candy Cane or fresh fruit, anything actually goes.

“This base takes less than eight minutes to mix, and you can add any variety of mix-ins to come up with all sorts of different cookies and bars and brownies,” says Lauren Mozer, the executive chef for Elle Cuisine. “It’s super-versatile and you can come off as incredibly creative when really you’re just using ingredients that you had in your pantry.”

Even better is that this is a base you can whip up ahead of time, freeze, and then add your toppings in later. Or freeze it with the toppings already mixed in. Just scoop the cookies out using an ice cream scooper, flash-freeze them for 20 minutes on a cookie sheet, then throw them in an air-tight container. You can make one, two, or a dozen cookies anytime you have a craving.

You can also get super-creative and host your own version of a cookie swap, where everyone just brings their own mix-ins and throws them into the base. With all of that actual baking out of the way, there’s more time for gossip and spiked nog. Or if you’re cooking up some treats for little ones, throwing a bunch of mix-ins on the table and letting them come up with their own is a great interactive afternoon.

The recipe is so easy that it’s even quicker than running out to the grocery store and buying some pre-packaged cookies. Which is an added bonus during this Pinterest era when there’s so much more pressure to do everything homemade.

“It’s not even necessarily about how easy it is, even though it is really straight forward. It’s how super-versatile and personal it is,” Mozer adds. “You can get extra points with your loved ones for taking this one base and personalizing their cookie so that it’s like a personal gift just for them. It’s a cookie that you didn’t actually have a recipe for because you’re using this awesome base that you can throw anything into.”

So there you go. Whether you make the cookies in advance, throw the ingredients into a mason jar (with a separate mix-in jar) as a gift, or just eat them all yourself, we’re pretty sure these are our new year-round favourites.

Anything Goes Cookie Dough

What you need

  • 2 1/4 cups (550 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
  • 1 cup (250 mL) margarine (like Becel)
  • 1 cup (250 mL) firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

How it’s made

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190° C). Combine flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat butter or margarine with sugars in large bowl. Beat in eggs and vanilla until blended. Gradually add in flour mixture; beat just until blended. Add your choice of mix-ins (chocolate chip, dried fruit, seeds, toffee bits, etc.). Drop by tablespoonfuls on ungreased baking sheets, 2-in. (5 cm) apart.
  3. Bake for seven minutes or until edges are golden. Cool for two minutes on wire rack; remove cookies from sheets and cool completely. *For crunchier cookies bake an extra two minutes.*

Going gluten-free? Replace all-purpose flour with 2.5 cups (625mL) gluten-free whole grain oat flour, 1/3 (75mL) cup coconut flour and 1/4 (60 mL) cup potato flour.

Happy baking!