The Reason You Should Mix In Cornstarch When Making Sugar Cookies

Ah, the chocolate chip cookie. With its crisp edges, soft center, and nostalgic flavor, it's no wonder it's the best cookie flavor. Cookies fall into eight categories; bar, drop, fried, molded, no-bake, refrigerator, rolled, or sandwich (per The Nibble). While any day is an excellent time to enjoy a cookie, certain varieties remain popular staples for certain times of the year.

The most obvious example is gingerbread cookies, traditionally cut into men and women, baked with warming spices (cinnamon, clove, and ginger), and sweetened with molasses. Most associated with Christmas, these cookies aren't commonly seen through the rest of the year. Also popular during the holiday season are sugar cookies, but unlike gingerbread, are made more frequently. Using the same recipe year-round, bakers use different cookie cutters, depending on the occasion, to differentiate sugar cookies between celebrations. Since the process is slightly more difficult and time-consuming than a drop cookie like oatmeal raisin, some may save baking sugar cookies for only special occasions.

Made with flour, sugar, vanilla, and butter, depending on the recipe, sugar cookies can require hours or even days to mix, chill, roll, cut, and bake. With your precious time on the line, here's a tip that may make or break your holiday cookie.

Cornstarch makes dough easier to handle

While an ugly or messy sugar cookie might still taste good, a cleanly cut and meticulously decorated cookie somehow tastes better. According to The Kitchn, a good sugar cookie, like all other recipes, should begin with quality ingredients, especially when there are so few. Pure vanilla versus imitation along with a high-fat European butter will yield superior results.

A common issue with sugar cookie dough is its sticky consistency. Resist the urge to add more flour which will result in tougher cookies, and add cornstarch instead. For every cup of flour in the recipe, add two tablespoons of cornstarch before kneading the dough into a ball and allowing it to rest for 20 minutes. The cornstarch will make the dough less sticky and allows the cookies to hold their shape, preventing the dough from spreading once baked, although The Kitchn recommends placing the cut cookies in the freezer for "pristinely" cut cookies with sharp edges.

Once cooked and cooled, the fun begins. Using royal icing is said to be the perfect way to decorate cookies, although there are no rules when it comes to this part. Get the whole family involved and make a sweet memory by baking sugar cookies — whether it's a holiday or not.