I love cookies. I have a campus job where I get to do nothing but bake cookies, which students get to eat for free. Back home, cookies are always my favorite things to bake. All in all, I have made many, many cookies in my life, so I definitely know what it feels like to get chocolate chip burnout. This article has tons of cookie flavor ideas, for any time you feel like you don’t know what flavor to make! Instead of being just a list of different flavors, all the different types of flavor changes you can make are explained here. You have the creative liberty to choose what sort of edit you’re looking for, both based on your personal preferences and what ingredients you have at hand!

Natalia Maidique

First, you should choose a base recipe you like – essentially any recipe for a basic chocolate chip cookie will work, because you can edit the aspects of that cookie as you please. Think about how you want the texture of the cookie to be, beyond the flavor itself. Do you want it to be more substantial, or do you want a thin, crinkly cookie? Do you want more crunch or more fluff? Do you want a richer cookie? By changing the base recipe by just a bit, you can tweak how your cookies will come out according to your preferences. Make these changes within reason, of course. You still want a dough that’s similar to the base, but a little bit of tweaking of the ratios can go a long way.

If you want your cookies to be…

Thick, cakey - Add more flour than called for.

Fluffy - Add more flour, but also beat more–use softened, room temperature butter instead of melted (or even add an extra egg) and beat the butter and sugar and subsequently eggs for longer than usual until the batter is light and fluffy at each step. When adding the dry ingredients, try to fold them in (as opposed to mixing) to preserve the extra air.

Thin, crinkly - Add less flour than called for, or more sugar than called for, or use melted butter instead of softened. Avoid beating a lot of air in the wet ingredients step.

Crunchy - Baking for longer (without burning!) is a simple way to do this, in addition to the same changes mentioned for thin, crinkly cookies.

Natalia Maidique

Flavor changers!

Once you have an idea of how you want the texture of the cookies to be, you can start to think about what things you can add to create more flavors! Pay attention to which step in the recipe you add each of these types of ingredients, because that can definitely change the final product. Use as many of these suggested changes at a time as you would like – you can make the flavors as complex or as straightforward as you want!

Browning butter – Brown butter can be used either as melted butter in the recipe or it can be made in advance and solidified before using as softened butter. If using melted, make sure to cool it down before combining with the sugar, to avoid having a greasy dough (you know when the mix-ins just kind of sit greasily in the batter, instead of being incorporated? yeah. avoid). Pro tip: add a bit of cold water (or an ice cube) to your browned butter right after cooking, both to reincorporate some moisture that was lost when browning and to speed up the cooling process!

Tea or citrus flavor – To add these flavors, using either straight tea leaves (without the teabags!) or citrus zest, you’re going to want to incorporate this in with the sugar before adding butter or any of the other ingredients. After measuring out your sugar, add the solid flavorful bits to the bowl, and use your fingers to rub the sugar and the flavor together for a good few minutes. With these types of ingredients, the flavor is contained in oil compounds, so this technique takes advantage of the fact that sugar is made up of many sharp granules that can help release some of those flavorful oils that you may miss out on by simply mixing in these ingredients at a later step!

Extracts and spices – The wet ingredient step (the sugar, butter, and eggs are all considered “wet” ingredients in baking!) is a great time to add in extracts of any flavor you want! Of course, vanilla is a classic and likely will be making an appearance in the majority of cookies, but you can get creative with extracts–at baking stores and even at some grocery stores you can find many other extracts that can add flavors that would be otherwise difficult to incorporate into a cookie, like peppermint, almond, butterscotch, and so on! Along the same vein, spices of any kind can be added in with the dry ingredients (flour, any chemical leaveners, and so on). An unexpected spice combination can really elevate a cookie into an entire experience. See if you can maybe incorporate a spice that is traditionally used in savory contexts to create some complexity and a bit of challenge!

Dry mix-ins/powders – These will be added in with the dry ingredients. These are things like cocoa powder, matcha (use culinary grade! It’ll taste a bit better baked), cornmeal, and other things that can flavor the entire base of a cookie. These can go well in conjunction with extracts and spices (mint chocolate, for example) and offer another opportunity for getting creative. If you’re adding an ingredient like espresso powder (adds a lot of chocolate cookies or brownies!) or something that is intended to be rehydrated, though, you may want to add that in the wet ingredients step, just so it incorporates more evenly.

Mix-ins for the end – These are ingredients that don’t necessarily contribute to the structure of the cookie, and instead are meant to be a bit separate from the dough–things like milk, dark, or white chocolate chips; dried fruit; chopped candies; nuts; and so on. Use whatever you have on hand; even savory things may be good to try! These get folded into the dough at the end because, added any earlier in the process, they make it a bit harder to have a nice consistent dough for the rest of the ingredients. To take this idea to another level, consider adding something at the end that isn’t necessarily a solid mix-in, but also isn’t meant to be homogenous. For example, you could flavor a portion of your dough differently (with cinnamon or cocoa, for example) and then swirl it in with the rest to create a final cookie that has interesting bites throughout! Note from experience: I wouldn’t suggest adding marshmallows as a mix-in, because the baking destroys their airy gooey texture and cooks the sugar to become hard and inflexible; instead, pop some marshmallows on top of your cookie one or two minutes before they’re done baking to keep their unique texture!