Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Why do my cookies spread and become flat after they've been baked?

Cookies may spread for a variety of reasons. Make sure that the butter is not too soft before making the dough. Soften butter slightly for easier mixing by removing from refrigerator and letting stand 30 to 45 minutes at room temperature.

To soften butter quickly, cut into chunks and allow to it soften at room temperature about 15 minutes. If time is limited, place a stick of cold butter between sheets of waxed paper and hit it with a rolling pin on each side to soften butter. Be sure to cool cookie sheets between batches.

A hot cookie sheet can melt the butter before the cookie dough can set. There is no need to grease a cookie sheet unless the recipe indicates to do so. Greasing a cookie sheet when the recipe does not call for it can cause the cookies to spread too much and brown too quickly around the edges.

Before baking an entire batch, bake a test cookie to give a good indication of dough condition. If it spreads too much, the dough may be too soft.

Try refrigerating dough until well-chilled (1 to 2 hours). If the dough is still too soft, stir in 1 to 2 tablespoons of flour. I found this information from the Food Network webpage.

Note from Lucy: I am always trying to learn better ways to cook and this is good information. Last year I learned to let the cookies sit for at least one minute on the baking pan before moving to a cooling rack. With this new information I have learned not to let my butter sit out to soften for more than 45 minutes, I am guilty on that one. One more tip: Butter really does work better than margarine in baking.....


At 8:17 AM, Blogger T. F. Stern said...

I think you need to do some more case studies; this evening would be a good time to see if the cookies improve with scientific data.

Oatmeal chocolate chip would work as long as we have plenty of milk.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Susie said...

From the previous commenter, I believe I see some cookie baking in your future :)
Good tips. I tend to leave my butter out for too long to soften it..

At 10:07 AM, Blogger Oh great One said...

I do the opposit. I forget to get the butter out and end up nuking it in the microwave for a few seconds.

Here's another tip for beautiful cookies. Use a small scooper (like for ice cream only smaller) They make your cookies all uniform and look great in cookie trays!

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Granny Annie said...

Now I know why my cookies get flatter and flatter as I bake them. I only have one cookie sheet and I keep refilling it while it is still hot. Think I'll invest in more cookie sheets. (By the way, I think you have a cookie stalker by your same last name.)

At 6:04 PM, Blogger Jim said...

I don't think my cookies have butter and they don't get very thin. They are in a can and I just slice them to the size I want. Or you could 'pinch' out a wad and put it on the pan.
The ones you don't make can go back in the fridge.

I found just the site for you, have you heard of meet Hungry Girl?
You might like her blog, 'Dieting Mistakes to Avoid.'
You could read her column and cull out the things you think we should know and/or be doing.
She does have a daily e-mail for us.
.. :-)

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Leslie said...

I've been baking up a storm lately. My new best friend is Good Housekeeping's Great American Classics cookbook. It does say on the sugar cookie page that real butter does better than margarine for cookies. Made my sugar cookies turn out tasty!!

In my latest post, I have pics of my homemade pie crusts. I even made decorative edges. I never made a homemade pie crust before this week. I'm turning into a real Betty Crocker (and making my family fat with baked goods!!).

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Leslie has a good thing going. Everyone who has to cook for him/her self should have a basic cook book.

When I became single I went right out and bought a Betty Crocker's Cookbook.
I still have it and use it every now and then. Even Mrs. Jim uses it some.
It tells basic things, for example several different ways to boil eggs, and also has some pretty good and simple recipes.
Of course Mrs. Crocker wrote that before they invented calories and carbs.

At 10:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is good news as I'm going to go in on a cookie exchange next month.


At 11:54 PM, Blogger NoSurfGirl said...

another reason:

If you accidentally put in only half of the oats or flour instead of the whole amount. I did this a few times. Kind of a wierd mistake to make.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Excellent information, Lucy.

I still think you should write a cookbook, and include such helpful tips as you have here.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger Mountain Mama said...

Thanks for a very informative post. And just in time for holiday baking too. I don't make cookies very often now, but when I do I will remember your hints.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Granny said...

Hi Lucy. Thank you for the good wishes.

I agree with you about the butter. I use margarine for many things but for baking butter seems to work better.

Your blog is full of all sorts of helpful things.

At 5:10 PM, Blogger Granny said...

Just noticed you now have a Granny Annie and a Granny Ann.

We're all over the place.

At 6:50 PM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

And I might add, Luvu, Butter tastes better than Margerine! Much Much Better...lol!

If I still baked at all I would find these tips really valuable....And even though I don't bake anymore, I can pass them on to people who still do...Thanks for this, my dear.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

LOL, LOL..That should read...LUCY...though you are a Luv...(no "U")...LOL!

And thank you for your lovely comment on my most recent post. Aurda McD. is such a great great talent.

At 6:15 AM, Blogger Merle said...

Hi Lucy ~~ You always have such great information for us whether about cooking, credit cards and not getting into too much debt etc etc. Thank
you for all the research you must do to share this with us.
Glad you liked Audrey Hepburn's beauty tips. Take care, Love, Merle.

At 12:56 PM, Blogger Big Dave T said...

What's the deal . . . I swore I commented on this blog before, yet I don't see it here. Maybe it was another cookie blog somewhere.

Cookies make a cheap and easy Christmas gift too, don't they? My brother out in South Dakota just adores my wife's Christmas cookies. Makes shopping for him and his family so easy.

At 1:33 AM, Blogger Merle said...

Hi again Lucy ~~ I am so glad you enjoyed the White Rose story and you are right about kind hearted people who would have helped the little boy
get the doll and rose. That is if they knew the story. We get TOO busy with our own lives, don't we?
Take care, Love, Merle.

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

Boy, oh, boy I agree with your last sentence.
Real butter is the way to go!!!

At 7:35 PM, Blogger Tigersue said...

I learned not to long ago that real butter is the trick. Margerines have changed so much in the past years that the results are terrible. I could not figure out why my cookies were so bad!
Then I read an article in Taste of Home that talked about the fat content and to be sure that the margerine used is the same as that of butter. Read the labels and compare if you are going to use margarine.
I only do butter now.


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