Anyone can turn their homemade Christmas cookies into something truly special by adding just one ingredient found in every home.

For us, one of the best parts of the holiday season is Christmas cookies. Everyone has their own recipes, usually passed down from generation to generation.

Culinary Institute of America's Chef Kristin Egan says there's one ingredient she adds to every cookie recipe.

Whether you love traditional sugar cookies, gingerbread and spice cookies or would rather dive into a fancy pile of Linzer cookies, peanut butter bars and Russian tea cakes, you're probably in cookie heaven this time of year.

Chef Kristin Egan from the Culinary Institute of America is a renowned pastry chef and has worked with some of the greatest culinary minds from around the world. Her resume even includes time working at the best rated restaurant in the country.

So when she says she has a secret tip that will make those cookie recipes even better we're paying close attention.

According to Chef Egan, the one ingredient she adds to every cookie recipe is a generous pinch of salt. That's right, salt. There are many pastry recipes that call for salt, but Egan says she's constantly surprised to see many that do not.

Salt, says the pastry chef, is important for "amping up" all of the other flavors you want to bring out in your cookies. If you've ever had a platter of pastries that all kind of tasted the same, that's because there was no salt added to the dough. The salt will bring out the butter in your butter cookies, the chocolate in your chocolate chips and the spices in your gingerbread.

So when you're baking those Christmas cookies this year, remember to add a generous pinch of salt even if the recipe doesn't specifically call for it. You'll be amazed at what a difference it will actually make.

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