Making cookies can be so frustrating, especially when you’re following a recipe and they still come out wrong. So I’ve compiled a list of some cookie faults that I’ve ran into and how to solve them.
Fault 1: Too much spread. This is when your cookie ends up looking like a pancake.
Solutions: There can be many causes for you cookie to end up looking like a pancake, and with the friends that I’ve talked to, this is the most common problem.
First, try raising your cooking temperature. When the cookie goes in the hot oven, the ingredients, especially the fat, will begin to melt and spread quickly. As the cookie bakes, the eggs will begin to bake to coagulate (to cause a fluid to change into a soft semisolid mass), and keep the cookies . Raising the temperature will allow the eggs to coagulate faster, thus decreasing the time the cookie has to spread.
The second problem could be that there is not enough flour in your recipe. Not only does flour add bulk to your recipe, the gluten protein found in flour acts a lot like the egg protein I described.
You may have greased your pan too much. With your normal, high fat cookies (chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin, etc…), you generally don’t even need to grease your pan. There is enough fat in the recipe already so the cookies wont stick to the pan.
Fault 2: Not enough spread. We’re moving on to the opposite problem. This is when your cookie doesn’t budge, or flatten at all. Its just a big cookie ball.
Solutions: Now that we’ve talked about too much spread, solving this problem is easy. Just try doing the opposite. Lower your oven temperature. I’d try going down about 10 degrees at first until you find what works for you. You can also try cutting back on the flour. I’d try about an 1/4th cup at a time. These are the simplest solutions, but there are other tips you can try too.
If you mix your cookie dough a lot, try mixing the dough just until the ingredients are all mixed. The more you mix the dough, the more the gluten proteins in the flour are activated, which in turn, decreases spread and makes for a tough cookie.
Fault 3: Too tough, too crumbly, too hard. All of these problems can be solved with pretty much the same solutions and they are all pretty quick fixes!
Solutions: The very first solution I can give for these problems is to cut back on the flour and mixing time. (Flour can create a lot of problems!) Second, if your cookie is too tough or too hard, try adding some fat. Nothing like fixing up a cookie with some more fat! Just add a big spoonful of Crisco and your hard cookie should have a pretty good texture next time around. If your cookie is too crumbly, cut back on the sugar. Although sugar contributes to a nice tender cookie, too much of it can just make it fall apart.
Don’t be afraid to try all sorts of different changes to your cookies. It’s all about finding the amount of ingredients that is just right for you. It’ll be worth it when you finally create your perfect cookie! And if in the process you make some cookies that just aren’t right, channel your inner Julia Child and, “Never apologize.”