I love being in the kitchen. It’s a laboratory with endless opportunities for creativity. But despite my adventurous spirit when it comes to whipping up savory foods, my baking skills are severely lacking.
My problem is always measuring. Cooking is incredibly forgiving; if a sauce is too thick or a dish is over seasoned or you’re missing an ingredient, there’s almost always something you can do to salvage it. But if you skip a step or miss an ingredient while baking, and you’re a perfectionist like me, the cascade of errors that result can make you feel like giving up.
Luckily for all of us, I’ve found an easy, reliable solution: Just add things to a premade sugar cookie mix. Seriously. It’s that easy.
With the measurements done for you, you’re free to get as creative as you want. When I was contacted by The Great American Spice Company, I was excited to pick out some spices to expand my repertoire of cookie hacks.
After spending an hour clicking through The Great American Spice Company’s huge selection, I chose four spices—cinnamon, ground cardamom, dried lavender, and coarse sea salt—to create four different types of hacked sugar cookies. The spices arrived just a few days after I placed the order, and as soon as I opened the package, I could tell that they were different than bargain spices I’d used in the past. When I opened the shakers, the spices’ aroma filled the room, fresh and vibrant.
These cookies literally could not be easier. Just pick out your favorite sugar cookie mix, follow the directions for eggs and butter, and before you mix everything up, add the spices or other add-ins. You can add just about anything; in the past, I’ve made jam thumbprints, added chopped rosemary and salt for savory cookies, mixed in chocolate shavings, and even made ice cream sandwiches. The beauty of them is that you’ll end up with something unique that seems homemade, but is far easier and faster.
Cardamom Almond Cookies
1 package sugar cookie mix + ½ tsp cardamom + ¼ cup sliced almonds
Cardamom has a floral, almost lemony flavor that also calls to mind black pepper and cinnamon. It’s a wonderfully complex flavor that can be used sparingly yet pack an intense punch of flavor, and pairing it with sliced almonds adds texture while also mellowing out the assertive cardamom flavor.
Lavender Vanilla Cookies
1 package sugar cookie mix + 1 tsp vanilla extract + ½ tsp lavender flowers
Like the rosemary cookies I make, these are for adventurous souls. Like rosewater, lavender flowers obviously have an intensely floral flavor, so use them sparingly unless you enjoy a mouthful of potpourri. These are basically a lazy version of this highly rated recipe, and I definitely agree with the suggestion to pair the cookies with a good mug of afternoon tea.
Salted Caramel Cookies
1 package sugar cookie mix + 1 cup chopped caramels + coarse sea salt to taste
While shopping for ingredients, I ended up walking out of the grocery store with nearly half a pound of caramel creams, because who can resist them? If you aren’t as addicted to Goetze’s caramel creams as I apparently am, you can use any soft caramel candy. Chop it roughly and add a pinch of salt to the mixing bowl before stirring everything together, and then top each ball of cookie dough with a little more coarse sea salt before baking. You’ll end up with chewy, gooey cookies with just the right saltiness from the larger flakes of sea salt.
1 package sugar cookie mix + 1 tsp cinnamon + cinnamon sugar mixture
Covered in a glittery dust of cinnamon sugar, snickerdoodles are messy fun. To create the cinnamon sugar mixture, mix equal parts of cinnamon and sugar on a plate, and then roll the balls of dough in the mixture before baking. If you mess this step up like I did, that’s OK—just cover the cookies in the cinnamon sugar mixture while the cookie are still warm. To amp up the cinnamon flavor even more, I added some extra cinnamon before mixing up the dough, and you could also add a pinch of salt if needed.
This post was sponsored by The Great American Spice Company, but opinions and recipes are Literally, Darling’s own.