*These Secret Ingredient Softbatch Sugar Cookies are everything cookie dreams are made of! With a soft, pillowy texture and just the right amount of sweetness, your family will be requesting these time and time again! Just like Mom used to make… Minus the highly refined vegetable oils!
If you have been following along here at WB&L, then you might know that I’m a former pastry chef. I’m also the blogger behind www.3boysunprocessed.com, and obviously those two things do not go hand in hand. Bakeries are known to be some of the worst offenders when it comes to using horrendous ingredients, like trans fats and highly refined oils.
My first job in a real life bakery was at a little place in New Cumberland, Pennsylvania that shall remain nameless (it was since gone out of business). The owner was notorious for being a horrible person to work for, and let’s just say he lived up to all the hype. I still wonder from time to time how I even made it through my internship there because he was just a downright cold-hearted, nasty man (
I promised myself I would never discuss this here but I may still be upset about my experience there). It has been almost 10 years and I still have nightmares about him! HA Time to let it go maybe?
The point of me sharing that tidbit was just to back up the fact that bakeries are known to use a lot of hidden trans fats and highly refined fats in their products, and I saw it there first hand! The whole idea of a bakery to me is that you are getting something handmade, however when a bakery becomes so successful that they have to start cutting corners for time management purposes, they may start bringing in ready made ingredients to use instead of making things from scratch. They also may start experimenting with cheaper products which almost always results in the use of hidden trans fats.
At this particular bakery that we will just call Dingel’s for now, we used to slather cool whip and margarine all over cakes and boy that was just the beginning! They also used bagged cake mix (I know right, bagged cake mix!?!?!) for all of their cakes. At the time I had no idea the kind of debotchery I was partaking in because I was 19 and had never read an ingredient list in my life! I was also too busy crying in the parking lot because the owner was a jerk to even notice the ingredients they used were pure crap! When I started reading ingredient labels I realized how horrible of a product they were passing off as “homemade.” To think they were charging customers an arm and a leg for their cheaply made product laden with trans fats in many different forms and bagged cake mix just makes me shutter because there is a better way!
Today, I’m sharing a secret little substitution I came up with that is pure cookie heaven without the use of highly refined vegetable/soybean/canola oil/shortening (aka trans fat) because I really don’t use those ingredients in my home, therefore I won’t write recipes with them. I’ve been told time and time again by true professionals that you MUST start with quality ingredients if you want a quality end product and I have found this to be so very true in my own kitchen.
Time and time again I’ve tried to make softbatch sugar cookies without using the recommended vegetable oil and I could never get them quite right. I’ve tried subbing butter and in doing that I lost the texture I was looking for (and added a ton of fat). So I began wondering what I could use that was creamy, contained some fat, and was a liquid. I’m a huge fan of coconut milk (the canned kind, not the dairy substitute), and I just so happened to have a can already open in my refrigerator from a smoothie the day before. I knew I had nothing to loose by giving it a try, and coconut milk has never let me down before!
When I realized how amazing the cookies were with the coconut milk I knew I had to share this secret ingredient swap! The cookies do not carry even a hint of coconut flavor, but have the pillowy texture of soft batch sugar cookies, and are just oh-so-PERFECT. I mean, so perfect my husband (who sometimes doesn’t even take a second glance at the desserts I make) scarfed down 5 of them and declared them his favorite cookie of all time.
The cookies were really nostalgic for me because growing up I had a favorite sugar cookie from a local grocery store and nothing I’ve ever made even came close. I was longing for the same taste and texture every time I made sugar cookies and always, always failed. The grocery store is smack dab in the middle of central Pennsylvania and is pure Pennsylvania Dutch and Amish Country inspired. These cookies are SPOT ON. SPOT ON. I literally felt like a 5 year old little girl again every time I took a bite. I know in my heart the PA Dutch women probably weren’t putting coconut milk in their sugar cookies, but baby this is a damn good substitute and a solid sugar cookie recipe. These Secret Ingredient Softbatch Sugar Cookies will not let you down, I promise!
Hand model creds: The husband!
A Few Secret Ingredient Softbatch Sugar Cookie Recipe Notes
- I used light coconut milk and had no coconut flavor. You can certainly use regular coconut milk (canned). The only difference is the fat content.
- I used King Arthur’s unbleached all-purpose flour as I do with almost all of my recipes. I highly recommend this flour over any other.
- I used pure vanilla extract for the best vanilla taste.
- I always use India Tree sprinkles as they are all natural. You can find all of these products below. 🙂
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks, or ½ pound) softened
- 1 cup light coconut milk (canned)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp cream of tartar
- 4½ cups flour (I used King Arthur's unbleached)
- India Tree Sprinkles to garnish
- Cream butter in the bowl of stand mixer on medium speed. Add granulated sugar, beat until light and fluffy, then add powdered sugar and beat until incorporated.
- Add eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl after each addition. Add vanilla extract, followed by coconut milk. Allow mixture to come together, scrape down bowl again if needed.
- Add baking soda, cream of tartar, and flour and mix until just incorporated.
- Chill dough (optional but recommended in order to roll into dough balls with hands) for 15-20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
- Roll dough balls of approximately 2 Tablespoons each and arrange on sheet tray. Top with sprinkles.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until cookies are cooked through.