I’m a horribly socially awkward person. I spent the majority of my college years on a circuit that ran from my room to the gym to class before going back to my room. It’s not that I don’t like people—it’s just that being around 90% of them turns me into a babbling idiot. So, when I started my new job, I knew I need something to divert my fellow employees’ attention away from my inability to form a coherent sentence, and that “something” was a delicious, sugary baked good.
I wanted something simple (as, for all I know, everyone at the station could be riddled with allergies to random food products) and I also wanted to try a new recipe from my large stack of “recipes-to-try” (damn you, internet!). So, I picked up the recipe for Secret Ingredient Sugar Cookies that I had seen on Cookie Madness some time back and ran with it.
To begin, let me just announce that the “secret ingredient” isn’t anything weird, like sushi or ketchup or something else that would appear on Iron Chef; instead, it’s vanilla pudding mix, and for some reason I thought this would make my sugar cookies soft and cake-like, even though Anna says in her post on these cookies that they are, in fact, light and crispy. I am bad at reading, and indeed these cookies had the texture of a traditional peanut butter cookie: Crispy on the edges and a little crumbly in the middle. Personally, I prefer a soft, chewy sugar cookie, so I was a little disappointed in this regard, but the cookies were still good—just not my kind of cookie. Also, the taste was not super sweet. Instead, they tasted a bit like a combination of shortbread and a sugar cookie, with a little bit more emphasis on “richness” rather than “sugariness.” Regardless, my co-workers enjoyed them (I was in the kitchenette at 9 a.m., and the weather man was coming back for a second cookie already) and I would probably make them again if I were looking for a slightly more sophisticated sugar cookie.
Secret Ingredient Sugar Cookies – Makes approximately 42 cookies
1 stick (8 oz) salted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.7 oz. vanilla or lemon pudding mix (I used vanilla, as mentioned previously)
2 cups (8.5 oz) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, oil and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy. (Note: I almost had a panic attack when I started making these cookies, as my mix looked like cake batter. This may have been because of the heat [it was very humid that day], but despite the fact that my batter never achieved a “light and fluffy” consistency, they still turned out fine.)
2. Add the egg, pudding mix and vanilla to the butter mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cream of tartar and baking soda before gradually adding those three ingredients to the creamed mixture. Beat well.
4. Spoon the dough onto ungreased baking sheets so that the cookies are about two inches apart. If you’d like, flatten the cookies with your palm and sprinkle sugar or sprinkles on top of the cookies.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes (Note: Mine only needed seven and a half minutes to bake) or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks.
Nutritional Information (per one cookie):
Fat: 5.1 g.
Sat. Fat: 3.4 g.
Cholesterol: 10.9 mg.
Fiber: 0.2 g.
Protein: 0.8 g.