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Who knew you could do so much with Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough?

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How many times have you walked past the Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough display and turned up your nose? Maybe you thought you only had two options when it came to cookies: You can lug home bags of flour and sugar and a boatload of butter and spend days creating a mess it'll take weeks to clean up or you can serve up a shiny platter of Oreos to your guests, but you'd never resort to using store-bought dough.

After all, if you're going to resort to using those premade cookie doughs you find at the grocery store you might as well be serving up plain old ordinary store-bought cookies, right?

Wrong. Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough is just the starting point. Every good cookbook has at least one basic cookie recipe you can use to create dozens of different cookies. Pillsbury cookie dough is that basic cookie recipe all rolled up in a tube. The only difference is someone else had to clean up the mess.

Pillsbury cookie dough is like a blank canvas

Chances are you have a family-favorite cookie or two, especially for the holidays. Take a look at your recipe, though. What are the basic ingredients? Most cookies are made from the same basic doughs – it's what you add to the mix or how you shape them or finish them that makes them unique.

For example, a chocolate chip cookie is just a sugar cookie with a little brown sugar and some chocolate chips. A double chocolate chip cookie has some cocoa tossed in. For a peanut butter cookie you add some peanut butter.

Pillsbury makes several basic cookie doughs you can use as your basic dough: Sugar, chocolate chip, peanut butter, gingerbread, and peppermint. Unwarp the dough and let it sit at room temperature for 15 minutes and get creative.

Get creative with Pillsbury cookie dough

This Peppermint Pig cookie recipe is the perfect example of how easy it is to use Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough to create a unique Christmas cookie and start a new tradition around your holiday table. The Peppermint Pig candy was first created in 1880 and symbolizes good luck and prosperity.

If you're in the mood for some gooey chocolatey goodness, try these Chocolate Truffle cookies. Made with Pillsbury sugar cookie dough and Rolo candies and iced with semisweet chocolate chips, they're easy to make but your guests will think you spent the entire day in the kitchen.

The real beauty of premade cookie doughs is that you can turn the kids loose in the kitchen without worrying about measuring mistakes, broken eggs and spilled flour. When the excitement of Christmas gets to be too much, just send them into the kitchen to make these Mini Pizza cookies. That'll keep them occupied for a while.

These are just 3 examples of some of the unique cookies you can make with Pillsbury doughs. You'll find dozens more on their website.

Stock up and save

This is the perfect time of year to stock up and save on Pillsbury refrigerated cookie doughs. They're on sale at your local grocery store and there's a manufacturer's coupon for $1 off each package. The doughs can be store in your freezer for up to 3 months so plan ahead and put a few rolls in storage for those long winter nights when you want to sit by the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie.

Donna Anderson is one-half of The Happy Couponers duo. Togehter, she and her daughter, Jessica Crowe, hope to make the world a happier place for everybody who wants to save money on groceries. They share their coupon tips at The Happy Couponer blog and clipping service.

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