Most people view recipes as rules but I view them as guidelines. That means that you have the power to play, experiment and hack recipes so that they suit your own flavor and texture preferences. Take the ubiquitous cookie. If you’re curious and not afraid to be a little bit adventurous, you can develop your own creative cookie hacks to tailor the cookies you bake to your own taste. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Creative Switch Hacks
One of the easiest ways to hack a cookie is to switch out an ingredient for something else. For example, many cookie recipes call for shortening. A quick hack, if you like crispier cookies, is to use butter instead. Using butter will cause the dough to spread out farther and will darken the color of the cookie. Here are some other creative cookie hacks that use ingredient switches:
Pass the Mayo
Instead of using butter and eggs, use mayonnaise. You’ll have to do some experiment a little with quantities, but the resulting cookies may surprise you. They’ll be a bit crumbly, but also have an interesting flavor profile and if you don’t tell, your family will never know you used mayo!
Almost everyone uses all-purpose flour in their cookies. But this isn’t a fixed rule. You can switch out the all-purpose flour for other types of flour. For chewier cookies, use bread flour. For a gluten-free cookie, experiment with nut flours or coconut flour. Do you like a heavier cookie? Try whole-wheat flour.
Many cookie recipes are flavored by a single or blend of spices. You can easily change the flavor profile of a cookie by altering or even switching out the spices. For example, use cardamom instead of cinnamon in a cinnamon cookie recipe. Cardamom has a milder flavor and is what make Chai taste like Chai. Instead of making Gingersnaps, try making Allspice or Cloves-snaps. Since allspice and cloves are much stronger spices than ginger, you’ll need to reduce the amount you use.
A Note About Nut Butters
Peanut butter cookies are a standard. But have you thought about making an almond butter cookie instead? How about a cashew butter cookie? Switching out the nut butter you use creates a whole new cookie! Be aware that each nut butter has a different oil content, so you’ll need to adjust the oil or butter you use to accommodate the additional or less oil in the nut butter.
Add-on Cookie Hacks
Sometimes you can add something to the mix to come up with your own creative cookie hacks. Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Pudding in the Mix
Add some vanilla pudding to any cookie recipe and you’ll get a softer, moister cookie. Choose a flavored pudding mix to change the flavor profile. For example:
- Add lemon pudding mix to citrus-flavored cookies
- Add butterscotch pudding mix to chocolate chip cookies
- Add chocolate pudding mix to peanut butter cookies
The trick is to use a pudding mix flavor that goes well with the overall flavor of the cookie. You can use the pudding mix flavor to enhance or complement the flavors already in the cookie recipe.
Dip and Roll
Let’s say you’ve already baked your cookies – or have some store-bought cookies lying around. You can still apply some creative cookie hacks to make them your won. There are a variety of flavored melting wafers, as well as chocolate, peanut butter, butterscotch, and white chocolate chips available on the market. Melt them and dip your cookies in. For added flair, while the melted stuff is still melty, roll the cookie is something fun and festive. Here are some you can choose from:
- Coconut flakes
- Chopped nuts
- Graham cracker (or other cookie) crumbs
- Sea salt
- Colored sugar
One Last Creative Cookie Hack
You don’t always have to use a cookie sheet or jelly-roll pan to bake your cookies. If you want perfectly round cookies, try baking in a muffin or mini-muffin tin instead. Want donut shaped cookies? Use a donut pan. Want perfectly rectangular bar cookies? Use a mini-loaf pan.
I hope you can see that it doesn’t take much more than a little curiosity, creativity, and possibly a wee bit of courage to develop your own creative cookie hacks. With enough experimentation, you’ll soon be the sought-out cookie baker on your block! Learn more about baking cookies with the best cookie baking tools.