The Special Ingredient That Will Change Your Sugar Cookies Forever

Do you ever walk by a bakery window and see those perfect sugar cookies that have been iced to perfection? Or maybe you've recently attended a baby shower or wedding and seen how perfectly decorated they are up close. If you're not a cookie decorating savant, you might be thinking to yourself, "how come my sugar cookies don't turn out that way?" The truth is that it likely has nothing to do with your talent as an aspiring baker or lover of baked goods. The issue might be the recipe you're using.

According to EatWheat, the sugar cookie originated in Nazareth, Pennsylvania, during the mid-1700s, when German Protestant settlers came to America. They created a round, buttery cookie, first known as the Nazareth cookie. Early published recipes for these sugar cookies called for sour cream or milk, but this was later omitted in the late 1800s when the Boston Globe published a recipe.

Okay, so you're a sugar cookie fan; now, how do you get yours to turn out like the pros? It turns out there's a secret ingredient that can help you go from cookie novice to cookie genius!

It's okay to be a little corny

In her recipe for buttery sugar cookies, recipe developer Jennine Bryant shares her secret weapon that ensures her cookies come out perfectly uniform and ready to ice. In addition to the flour in her cookie recipe, Bryant adds 1/3 cup of cornstarch to the mix. She notes that this helps give the cookies more structure and keeps them from spreading out too much while baking.

Bob's Red Mill brand notes that adding corn starch to baking recipes gives them a tender, crumbly texture, while Preppy Kitchen explains that adding corn starch to your sugar cookie recipe gives you "laser-sharp edges" for decorating. In addition, it will make the dough much easier to handle at room temperature. AKA, it'll stick to your fingers less while you're working it. Try adding cornstarch to your batch the next time you make sugar cookies, and then try topping them with your favorite royal icing.