When a craving for cookies hits you, ignoring it is futile. Cookie mixes are a quick and easy way to satisfy that craving and enjoy the act of baking. Plus, who doesn't love munching on a warm cookie fresh out of the oven?
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Despite many bakers claiming otherwise, cookie mixes aren’t “lazy baking”. Simple and convenient, cookie mixes give you reliable results every time you bake. This gives you a solid foundation to play around on by switching out ingredients, adding new ones, or finishing off your cookies with fun toppings.
But, everything good has the potential to be great. If you want to make cookie mixes taste homemade, or upgrade them to create specific cookie flavors, these tips are for you.
The best way to upgrade a cookie mix is to ignore the provided recipe. Almost…
Instead of sticking to that recipe exactly, swap out certain ingredients to play around with the texture and flavor profile of the final cookie.
Here are some easy switches you can make to upgrade your cookie mix and give it a homemade taste.
Butter Instead of Margarine
Instead of margarine or shortening, add butter to your cookie mix. Butter results in a richer flavor, which makes sense when you consider it started as cream!
Margarine contains more water than fat. This means your cookies spread while baking, resulting in thin cookies with a gummy texture. Butter, on the other hand, has a much higher fat content. For delicious cookies with a satisfying mouthfeel, use butter!
Substitute margarine or shortening for butter using a 1:1 ratio.
To add rich nutty and caramel notes to your cookies, brown the butter before mixing it in. Melt the butter over medium-low heat until the butter turns to an amber shade and smells rich and nutty. Browned butter adds a depth of flavor that you can’t mimic with any other ingredient!
Coconut Oil Instead Of Other Fats
Coconut oil is a wonderful substitute for butter, margarine, olive oil, canola oil, or vegetable oil. Refined coconut oil has a neutral flavor, and doesn’t change the flavor of your cookies. It is an essential ingredient in any vegan recipe or kitchen!
If the recipe calls for butter or margarine at room temperature, use room temperature coconut oil. If it calls for melted butter or margarine, or any liquid oil, melt the coconut oil before baking with it. This results in the optimal texture.
Substitute any fat or oil for coconut oil using a 1:1 ratio.
Maple Syrup Instead Of Granulated Sugar
Maple syrup is made from the sap of maple trees, and it adds a delicious depth of flavor to your baked goods.
When baking with maple syrup, opt for Amber Grade A maple syrup for a strong but not overpowering flavor. Because maple syrup is a liquid and contains water, you cannot substitute sugar with maple syrup without making some adjustments to the recipe.
Substitute 1 cup of granulated sugar (white or brown) with 3/4 cup maple syrup. Use 3/4 of the required amount of other liquids. Reduce oven temperature by 25ºF.
Add Extra Ingredients
Now that you’ve switched out a couple of ingredients and started to make the cookie mix your own, it’s time to get creative. Here are some great ingredients to add to your cookie mix to give it that made from scratch flair.
Adding vanilla extract to your cookie mix makes a recipe taste (and smell!) homemade. There are three types of vanilla beans that result in unique vanilla flavors:
Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla has the aroma that most people associate with vanilla. It gives a full, creamy, sweet, and mellow flavor to your baking. Tahitian Vanilla has a gentle floral aroma. It adds a cherry-like, licorice, and caramel flavor to your baking. Mexican Vanilla has a spicy aroma. It adds a sweet and woody flavor to your baking, with hints of cloves and nutmeg.
Vanilla Essence Vs. Vanilla Extract
Although often used interchangeably, experienced bakers know that vanilla extract trumps vanilla essence in every instance.
While it still enhances a cookie mix, vanilla essence is essentially watered-down vanilla extract. Doubling the amount of vanilla essence won’t double the flavor, but switching to vanilla extract will! Vanilla extract is slightly thicker and tastes stronger.
You can make your own vanilla extract to really pack a punch with your baking.
Add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract per pound of dry cookie mix.
When adding vanilla extract to your mix, why not add almond extract as well? Almond extract is a mixture made of almond oil, alcohol, and water. Almond extract adds a strong, fruity, warm flavor to your cookies.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract per pound of dry cookie mix.
Rum and Ginger
For the perfect Christmas cookies, add rum and ground ginger to your cookie mix.
Adding rum to your cookie mix results in soft and chewy cookies with a ton of extra flavor. You can use white rum or dark rum. White rum has a lighter flavor and results in lightly-colored cookies, while dark rum is stronger and results in darker cookies.
Ginger adds a spicy warmth that makes even the simplest recipe feel decadent and still welcoming. For extra depth of flavor, add nutmeg too.
Add 1 tablespoon of rum and 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger per pound of dry cookie mix.
Yes, you read that right! With a few extra ingredients, you can have two desserts in one.
To create your cheesecake filling, you’ll need the following:
- 1 8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup of whipped cream
Whip the cream cheese, powdered sugar, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract, and salt. Once smooth, add in the whipped cream. Place 1-2 teaspoons of the cheesecake filling into 2-inch dough balls shaped into a bowl. Use a pinch of dough to cover the filling and close the balls.
For a real gourmet recipe, combine chocolate chip cookies and cheesecake and experience a flavor match made in heaven.
This recipe is enough for 2 and a half pounds of dry cookie mix.
For a delicious peanut butter flavor, add peanut butter or peanut butter cups to your basic cookie mix. Smooth peanut butter adds flavor, while crunchy peanut butter adds to the overall texture as well.
Simply cream peanut butter with margarine or butter before following the recipe instructions. If the mix feels sticky or tacky, add Lehi mills flour until you have the right consistency.
Add 1/2 pound of peanut butter per pound of dry cookie mix.
Another option is to place a peanut butter cup at the center of each cookie. Line the bottom portions of each cup in a mini muffin pan with a spoonful of cookie dough. Bake for 5-7 minutes, then press a peanut butter cup in the middle of each cookie. Cover with more cookie dough and bake until golden brown.
The delicious chocolate hazelnut spread can be used to upgrade many homemade treats. Use the back of a teaspoon to make a well in each ball of cookie dough. Fill the well with Nutella, and bake as normal.
You can also cover the Nutella with more cookie dough to make a warm, melted chocolate center.
Raspberry and Lemon Poppy Seed
Ready for a cookie mix take on our raspberry lemon poppy seed muffins? For this recipe, you’ll need the following:
- 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon of lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
- 1/2 cup of fresh raspberries
Follow the recipe instructions, then stir in lemon juice, lemon zest, and poppy seeds. Mix in fresh raspberries, and get baking!
Once you’ve experimented with adding extra ingredients to your cookie dough, it’s time for the cherry on top. Or flaky sea salt, or nuts…
Adding toppings to your cookies is an easy way to take a boring cookie look as good as it tastes! Here are some options you can try the next time you make a batch of cookies.
Flaky Sea Salt
Before putting your cookies into the oven, sprinkle the dough balls with flaky sea salt. Or, press sea salt into warm cookies fresh out of the oven.
Either option takes the edge off super-sweet cookies and enhances their flavor without drastically changing it.
While the cookies are still warm after baking, sprinkle each cookie with toasted sliced almonds or toasted walnuts. This topping pairs wonderfully with the almond extract trick from earlier!
Adding granulated sugar to the top of your cookies before baking them results in a sweet and crispy batch of cookies. Sprinkle the sugar over your dough balls, lightly pressing the granules into the dough.
Sprinkles and Candy
Sprinkle cookies are an essential party treat. And adding your favorite candy to the mix is a fun way to customize each cookie!
Get the kids involved with this one and let them design faces or patterns on the surface of the cookies with sprinkles and small pieces of candy.
If you're baking for a themed party, it's good for your cookies to follow the color scheme. Make your own sprinkles to fully customize their colors and make your cookies fit in with the decor and the other snacks!
Dip Cookies In Melted Chocolate
Take a simple cookie mix and elevate it by dipping the cookies in melted chocolate. Cover the entire cookie in chocolate, or dip one half in. You can drizzle white or dark chocolate over the cookies to create fun patterns.
Add a small amount of coconut oil or shortening to the melted chocolate chips to help the chocolate set faster and thicker. It also makes the chocolate look shiny!
Microwave the chocolate and shortening on High until melted. Stir until the chocolate is smooth. After dipping your cookies, place them on wax paper to let the chocolate set.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of shortening per pound of chocolate chips.
Salted Caramel Topping
For a fancy topping that isn’t overwhelmingly sweet, drizzle some caramel sauce over your cookies.
Make your own caramel sauce using the following ingredients:
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar, butter, and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the mixture has thickened. Stir in vanilla extract after removing the mixture from the heat. This delicious sauce keeps for 3 weeks in the fridge.
When you’re ready for a delicious treat, drizzle the sauce over your cookie and top it off with a pinch of flaky sea salt.
Post-Baking Cookie Tricks
Once your cookies have baked, you still have some control over their texture. Use these tricks to soften crunchy cookies, keep chewy cookies moist, and keep your cookies fresh for as long as possible.
Put Cookies in the Microwave
For soft and chewy cookies, simply pop them in the microwave under a wet paper towel before eating them. After a few seconds, the moisture from the paper towel will make your cookies soft, warm, and chewy.
Be sure to eat them right away! Once your microwaved cookies cool to their original temperature, they will be harder and drier than they were to begin with.
Store Cookies With a Piece of Bread
To prevent chewy cookies from hardening after baking, store them in a container with a slice of fresh white bread. The bread lends its moisture to the cookies and keeps them from drying out.
Start Upgrading Cookie Mixes Today
Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been baking for years, there are always new tips and tricks to upgrade your baking. Armed with the advice and ideas in this post, you can take any cookie mix and make delicious, made-from-scratch cookies that will wow your friends and family.
Looking for cookie mixes you can experiment with? Here at Lehi Mills, it’s our pleasure to provide delicious, easy premade mixes for cookies, muffins, waffles, and more. With 100 years of milling mastery, we give you high-quality ingredients to ensure high-quality baking.
Contact us today to find out more about our products.