The One Ingredient That Will Take Your Sugar Cookies To The Next Level

For many, sugar cookies are an absolute classic. Their mild flavor makes them a crowd-pleasing favorite for all ages, and sugar cookies are also great for cutting out into all kinds of decorative shapes — especially during the holidays. But if you really want to make your sugar cookies even better than they already are, there's one ingredient that can really set them apart.

It seems bakers have tried all kinds of fun twists with sugar cookies. For example, lemon juice and/or lemon zest can create a citrusy kick to the cookie classic. Some opt for more vanilla flavor, upping the vanilla extract for a familiar taste that adds more zip to the cookie's otherwise subtle complexities. But there's actually something you can try that's even simpler: By simply adapting one existing ingredient, you can take your sugar cookies to a whole new level — without introducing any new ingredients at all — and maintaining that classic sugar cookie taste.

How to use brown butter in your sugar cookies

According to Taste of Home, using brown butter instead of room temperature butter can make all the difference for your sugar cookies. And fortunately, modifying your butter is pretty simple: all you need to do is cook the butter in a skillet or pan over medium-high heat so that the butter caramelizes but not so much that it burns.

Once browned, place the butter in the fridge for around 20 minutes so it can firm back up to be beaten together with the sugar to make your sugar-cookie dough. This is also a perfect hack for those who chronically forget to set the butter out for it to soften. Note that you'll need to replace some of the liquid lost in the butter from the browning (about 15%) if you want your sugar cookies to be chewy and not crisp.

As for what brown butter adds to your sugar cookies: The Kitchn explains more depth of flavor and complexity. You'll get even more caramelized flavor than just that from the bottom of the typical sugar cookie where it cooks on the sheet pan. So, brown butter will really turn up the taste of your everyday sugar cookies into something far more intriguing. It's a simple trick that's well worth trying next time.