This Unexpected Pantry Staple Might Help Your Cookie Dough

A sweet batch of cookies makes a great gift for all sorts of occasions, such as welcoming a new neighbor or helping a loved one celebrate a milestone. And they make even better gifts when they actually taste good! If you plan on whipping up some homemade treats, rather than going the safe, store-bought route, you'll want to be pretty confident in your cookie making-game. While there are a lot of mistakes to avoid, and even more great recipes to follow, one piece of advice just might surprise you — and it involves an ingredient you might already have sitting in your cupboard.

According to The Takeout, the magic ingredient is apple cider vinegar. Yes, good old ACV can actually give your cookie dough a lift by aerating the batter as the highly acidic properties react with baking soda. This is especially a great trick if you're baking vegan treats without any eggs. But even if you are using eggs, apple cider vinegar can help set the proteins faster, helping to prevent the cookies from spreading. According to the article, using just one teaspoon of ACV can result in "slightly springier, more voluminous cookies." Admittedly, super potent vinegar might not be the first ingredient that comes to mind when dreaming about satisfyingly sweet baked goods, but as the author of The Takeout piece says, "You probably wouldn't eat a spoonful of baking soda, either!" – and she assures readers the taste of this mild and "sneaky" ingredient does not come through in the final product.

Other great ways to use apple cider vinegar

If you have a bottle of apple cider vinegar lying around, then you probably already have it earmarked for at least one recipe. As it turns out, ACV is a pretty versatile item to have in your cooking toolbox, as there are a lot of potential uses for it. With this in mind, you shouldn't have any problems using up the rest of that bottle after you bake those cookies.

Apple cider vinegar can also be used in eggless, vegan cakes or pancakes to make those baked goods rise, according to Insider. For pancakes, the article says to let the batter sit idle for a few minutes to allow bubbles to form, which will make those flapjacks even fluffier. The outlet also advises using apple cider vinegar as an ingredient in dishes like coleslaw, homemade ketchup, and roasted vegetables since it provides that slightly sweet tang.

Others even opt to drink apple cider vinegar all on its own, touting a variety of health benefits like possible weight loss due to its ability to help reduce cravings thanks to the acetic acid that keeps sugar pangs at bay (via The Healthy). Though eating cookies does sound like a lot more fun.