Ina Garten creates one-of-a-kind Christmas cookies using scraps of cookie dough.
Ina Garten has a simple tip for repurposing Christmas cookie dough.
The Barefoot Contessa star revealed how to cut down on baking waste so you can enjoy even more uniquely decorated cookies.
During a 2020 appearance on the Today show, Garten shared her Christmas cookie tips and tricks, including how one shortbread dough can be used to make a variety of treats.
To save time, the Barefoot Contessa star discovers that a simple shortbread recipe can be cut into various shapes and embellished in a variety of ways.
"Everyone wants to make a lot of different cookies for Christmas," Garten explained, "but I don't want to make a lot of different doughs."
"So what I do is I take shortbread dough, which is basically four ingredients plus salt â butter, sugar, flour, vanilla, you probably have it at home," she continued, "and I make shortbread dough and then I make a variety of cookies out of it."
The Barefoot Contessa star cuts various shapes out of the dough and gives each one a different topping or decoration.
She coats star-shaped cookies in glaze and sprinkles, wreath cookies in glaze and silver balls, and heart-shaped cookies in chocolate.
The Food Network host also uses the dough to make linzer cookies with a "window" that shows the jam inside.
Garten said, "That's my personal favorite."
"There's something about shortbread and raspberries together that I find incredibly delicious; it's simple but delicious."
Garten doesn't throw away any of the cookie dough.
She combines the scraps, rolls them out, and makes simple rectangle cookies with them.
She opts for a simple yet elegant topping.
Garten tops each cookie with a pecan and a dab of melted chocolate in the center.
In her recipe note, Garten shared a small but delicious tip.
"Roast pecans on a baking sheet for 8 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit before dicing," she advised.
If the dough becomes crumbly while forming the scraps back into a usable piece, she has an easy fix: add a teaspoon of warm water.
Garten's solution is ideal because it only requires combining and rolling out the dough scraps once.
This reduces the risk of overworking the dough.
Garten also gave her pro-tips for the best Christmas cookies during the Today segment.
She prefers to chill the dough before rolling it out, and she's figured out the sweet spot for the best results.
"No more than 15 to 30 minutes," she suggested.
"Just chill it enough so the butter is cold, then roll it out and it'll be super easy."
"It's better if you cut them out, chill them, and bake them," Garten added, resulting in "sharper edges."
The cookies can be kept in a container in the refrigerator once cut into shapes and baked later in smaller batches.