Do you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Are you looking to perfect your recipe for the best sugar cookie mix?
There are many keys and secrets to making good sugar cookies. A lot of these lay in how you choose and balance your ingredients. You have to keep your cookies from getting too sweet or too dry for your liking.
You'll have to decide how much butter you'll use or if you even want it. Your choice of flour and other dry and wet ingredients will also matter. The shape, size, consistency, and texture will contribute to the overall cookie, as will flavor.
The most important thing above all is having a sugar cookie that isn't too sugary for the people eating them. For a guide to developing the perfect sugar cookie mix, read on.
Are You a Butter Kind of Person?
One of the first things you're going to consider when making a sugar cookie mix is the amount of butter. An even better thing to consider is whether you want to use butter. It might sound like heresy, but you can make dang good dairy-free sugar cookies.
Those who love butter too much to think about switching can get lost in the ratios if they aren't careful. There are tons of recipes calling for all sorts of different amounts of butter. These range from 1/4 cup to more than 1 cup.
It depends on how much punch you want your sugar cookies to have. More butter means less flavor impact from the sugar and toppings. It also means a moister cookie.
Less butter means a dryer and more "crispy" or "crunchy" cookie. Less butter also lets your other ingredients shine much more. Because of this, butter can be a double-edged sword.
It can give almost any baked good an instant boost if used right but can easily overpower it. Ask yourself what kind of sugar cookie you want. If the answer is rich and bursting with flavor, butter will be your friend.
If you'd rather have something light with the right amount of sweetness, cut down or replace the butter with alternatives. The right sugar cookie strikes a balance. Going middle of the road with 1/2 cup of butter is rarely a bad place to start if you're unsure.
Think About Whole Wheat Flour
When making any type of holiday cookies, you don't usually think about health benefits. That said, it's become popular to incorporate healthy alternatives in recent times. Whole wheat flour is a great replacement for all-purpose white flour and still makes tasty sugar cookies.
Whole Wheat versus White
The choice of flour is going to come down to simple division in approach. Those who stick to tradition will opt for all-purpose white or pastry flour. The bakers willing to shake things up a bit and at least try to make healthier cookies will look at whole wheat.
There are some other things to consider, however. If you want identical consistency, look for whole wheat pastry flour. When making sugar cookies, you won't even notice the difference compared to all-purpose.
Be very careful when using normal whole wheat flour. It can still work with sugar cookies, but your cookies are almost certain to come out denser than you expected. If you're familiar with using normal whole wheat or want to give it a try anyway, then go for it.
Unbleached all-purpose flour is also a popular choice. The problem with it is that it lacks any real health benefits since it’s refined white flour. Some like this because it gives them a true blank slate to play with the flavor on the cookie.
The choice will be yours, but the flour you choose in your mix will say a lot about you and the cookies. Many bakers opt for a combo of white and whole wheat flour to get the best of both worlds. Organic flours are also popular.
The trick is to understand how to avoid density issues and retain any added benefits without altering the flavor.
Playing with Texture, Size, Consistency, and Shape
There are many ways to play with texture, size, and consistency with your sugar cookie mix. You have to ask yourself what you want your cookie to look like. This might even be more important than what it tastes like, but let's not get carried away.
Baking soda and baking powder are the ultimate tools for thickness. If you want your sugar cookies to rise, you shouldn't skip them. Many recipes leave baking soda and powder out.
This is because traditional sugar cookies are pretty flat. That said, the rules are here for us to break. Nothing should stop you from designing your sugar cookies into whatever shape you like.
If you want to give them a dome-like thick choco-chip cookie, then do it. If you want to stick to a flat cookie or minimize the rise, adjust or remove baking soda and powder accordingly.
When it comes to texture, a lot of that comes from moisture. Butter and your eggs will be key players here, as will any liquids you include. We mentioned earlier that more butter would make for a softer cookie but also a richer one.
It's easy to get a cookie that's too soft or to unbalance the flavor. Almost every recipe for sugar cookies making between 12 and 48 cookies, relies on a single egg. Depending on the number of desired cookies, you could try to use less, but this can be risky.
Some recipes call for no egg, but this runs a significant risk of leaving you with a super dry cookie. That doesn't mean you have to use eggs every time, but leaving it out requires skill and expertise. You'll need to play around with an eggless recipe to get one that turns out great every time.
Liquids that can help a little include vanilla extract or rose and orange blossom water. These will give a specific flavor profile to your cookies, so you got to make sure it’s what you want. Generally, they aren't replacements for traditional lubricants like butter or margarine.
If a recipe comes out too soft or too buttery for your liking, start by halving the offending ingredients. Only jump straight to removing them if you're sure of the result. If you manage to nail a low-butter and low-egg sugar cookie, you can claim to have healthier sugar cookies.
By the same token, if you manage to give it a little more softness and punch than usual, you've changed up the game. It can get boring repeating the same old recipes over and over, so go play around a bit and see what happens.
The secret to a good sugar cookie is the consistency of flavor and approach.
Experiment and try things out until you find something new you can nail every time. Become a master of your ingredients, even the unusual ones, and you'll be cooking with gas in no time.
This one shouldn't come as a surprise. Too many people, however, stay with the boring round sugar cookies. You have the opportunity to shape your cookies however you please, so take it.
Turn your cookies into hearts, X-mas trees, pumpkins, or bunny rabbits. They can be unique like snowflakes or uniform like snow angels. You could even shape them like letters to have fun with them.
The key is to choose your shapes in advance and make sure you divide the dough the right way. A shaper or cookie cutter will make a huge difference. Buying one or making it yourself will make a huge difference in helping your sugar cookies stand out.
The World of Toppings and Icings
There will also be a place in people’s hearts for old-fashioned plain sugar cookies. The sugar cookie itself goes back a long way, as far back as the pioneers in Pennsylvania. The thing about making sugar cookies in the modern day is you have a world of extra choices to pick from.
There's no end to the types of sugar cookie frosting, sprinkles, or other decorations. These can include dairy and nuts or be allergy and lactose-free. You can incorporate different types of sugars or even go with a sour cream glazed frosting.
It's worth exploring these in more detail because it's where a lot of the heart of your sugar cookies comes from.
Surprise, surprise, sugar is a big part of sugar cookies. Ordinary sugar cookies have a sprinkling of sugar on top, nothing fancy. With a little creativity, though, you can do so much more.
If you want a warmer kind of flavor, brown sugar can make a big impression. This is especially if you make your cookie a little more buttery. You can also opt for raw crystal or coarse sugar.
Candied crystals or sprinkles are also a great way to spice up your decoration and flavor. It's also easy to color-code them to make designs or for holidays.
Go for orange and black for Halloween or red and pink for Valentine’s Day.
The texture of the sugar topping can also give your cookies a new dimension when you bite in.
If playing with sugar toppings helps you improve your sugar cookies, icing takes it to the next level. You can use icing to treat your cookie like an artistic canvas. If you can dream it up, you can represent it with icing.
You could draw ghosts on a Halloween cookie or decorate a green X-mas tree with ornaments. It's even possible to layer icing to make a more complex image. Combining it with sugar crystals can complete the look.
A key thing to remember is that icing is brittle when it hardens. It won't keep its shape under pressure and will sooner crack. This can make icing delicate to work with but also super rewarding.
Icing also tends to have a pretty uniform texture and flavor when eating. You can flavor icing a little, but you can’t do much about the texture. Icing can also make a sugar cookie feel over-sweet or heavy, so be careful with it.
Frosting is easier to work with than icing and usually better for texture. Unlike sugar-based icing, frosting is butter-cream-based. It's lighter and fluffier and has more room to play with how it tastes.
You can go heavy with frosting and cover the whole cookie or go lighter like a glaze. You can color it to fit a particular theme or leave it pure white. The thing that can help frosting make your cookies stand out is how you can eat it.
Everyone knows the famous way you eat an Oreo. You pull it apart and lick the frosting off. It's an experience that many kids and adults alike enjoy.
With a frosted sugar cookie, you can replicate that. An extra step you can take is to flavor the frosting with something unique. Candied mint or orange work pretty well, as do old favorites like chocolate.
If you throw cinnamon into the sugar cookie mix, you could even frost it like a sugar cookie cinnamon bun. The opportunities are endless if you step outside the box and do more than sprinkle a plain cookie with sugar.
The Secrets to a Good Sugar Cookie Mix
There are many secrets to a good sugar cookie mix. Most of them revolve around experimentation and understanding how your ingredients work. It's all a balancing act, and your creativity will play a crucial part.
How you decorate or shape your cookie will have an impact on flavor and enjoyability. You need a sugar cookie mix that balances sugar with other crucial ingredients. At Lehi Mills, we have an assortment of top-notch mixes, recipes, and flours to choose from, so give us a call today.