Many recipes are just fine the way you see them; but sometimes it’s just not quite right. How to adjust them to suit your taste is as much art as science, and requires a little knowledge of how things interact within a recipe. Some ingredients, like baking soda and salt in a cookie recipe, shouldn’t be adjusted unless you’re altering the size of the batch. However, many things can be changed. Here are a few easy changes anyone can make without completely messing up your holiday treats.
Flavorings. You can adjust peppermint, vanilla, cinnamon and other flavorings, with caution. Too much of any of them, and you’ll think you walked into a spice shop with a potpouri sachet next to your nose. Not enough makes the flavor more subtle, but not offensive. Always err on the side of less is more if you need to adjust them.
Add-ins. These are easy. Love walnuts in your brownies or cookies? Add them. Want just a pop of chocolate flavor in your cookies? Use less. Or more.
Fat is fat. Need oil, but have butter? Melt the butter. Cake mixes made with melted butter instead of oil are rich and creamy. Also, shortening in cookies, brownies, and pie crusts works; but lard is better. You can use a 1-to-1 substitution. In pie crusts, use 1/2 butter and 1/2 lard for a buttery, flakey crust.