Box of various different types of cookies
For More Complex Sugar Cookies, Experiment With More Than Only Vanilla Extract
Sugar cookies are a simple yet delicious baked good with a crispy, tender crumb and gentle flavor from vanilla extract. To make them more exciting, try adding other extracts.
While classic vanilla extract perfectly complements plain sugar cookies, easy-to-find extracts like anise or almond can add a new dimension to the flavor.
Almond extract adds a nutty taste, while the slight licorice flavor of anise adds bitterness and a slight spiciness to balance the simple sweetness of the cookies.
You can also experiment with citrus extract or zest to add a bright acidity, extracts like mint, lavender, or rose for surprising complexity, or coffee, rum, or coconut extracts.
Be sure to use a light hand with extract. A half teaspoon to a full teaspoon is enough to add a noticeable flavor to a batch of cookies that uses two cups of flour.