I used to think I could bake pretty good cookies. Lately, all I can make are flat cookies that fall apart before I can even scrape them off the cookie sheet. I've tried various recipes and they all do the same thing. I don't know if it's my oven, the cookie sheets, the ingredients or me! --iVillager sara283
Don't worry sara283:
If you have not changed the recipes or switched brands of ingredients, then I have a feeling that your problem has to do with your oven. Does this only happen during certain times of the year? Are you using an oven thermometer? Ovens can sometimes act up which will affect the look and consistency of the cookies.
Here is my guide to flat-free cookies:
1. Choose your butter carefully. I find that certain stick butters work better than others, such as Land O Lakes. If you have switched to margarine, the cookies will spread more. And be sure not to over-cream the butter if you are using a powerful mixer. The cookies will turn out flatter if you inadvertently over-creaming the butter and sugar.
2. Consider using shortening. Some bakers like to use a combination of 50 percent butter and 50 percent shortening. Shortening is not as sensitive to shifts in temperature and the butter will give the cookie flavor. Cookies made with shortening will not spread as much or become thin and crispy.
3. Use cold ingredients when mixing the recipe.
4. Use half dark brown sugar and half white sugar for a chewier cookie.
5. Preheat the oven before putting the cookies in. Make sure you have a hot oven.
6. Hang an oven thermometer, available from the grocery store, in your oven. Adjust the temperature as necessary.
7. Place the cookie dough on cold baking sheets only.
8. Refrigerate the dough, formed on the baking sheet, before baking. I place the cookie sheet with the dough on it in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes. Place the cookie sheet directly into the oven.
9. It is better to slightly undercook cookies then to overbake them. Let them sit for one minute on the cookie sheet before removing them to the cooling rack.
Sarah Phillips is the author of Healthy Oven Baking Book.