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How do you keep your cookies from flattening out?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 

I made cookies from scratch for the first time last night. I am no baker, but once in a while I enjoy a cookie and the idea that I could basically customize it to anything I like is enough to give it a go. I use some pretty decent air insulated aluminum cookie sheets, but regardless of whether it is a store bought mix, or in the case last night from scratch, my cookies tend to flatten out around the edges.

 

 

Are the shapes you see in store bought cookies not realistic in a home oven or is there something I'm doing wrong? I cooked these at 375.

post #2 of 28

Could you post your recipe? 

Is your batter/dough at room temperature? Try chilling them, or even freezing the cookie dough balls, for a few hours. Or reduce baking soda if using.

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post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 

This is what I followed for the dough..

 

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened

  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

  • 1/3 cup white sugar

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 1/8 cups sifted all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Creamed the butter and sugars, then mixed in the vanilla and egg, finally sifted the flour, salt, and baking soda.

 

I didn't think of freezing it, I used it as it was so basically close to room temperature. I did use a melon scooper so the dough was in perfect balls on the baking sheet.

 

This is what I'd like to someday achieve:

post #4 of 28

A few suggestions...

 

I agree with chilling the dough until it's really cold.  I often chill it overnight.  Form the dough into balls for baking and line the pans with parchment paper.  

 

I suggest NOT using the insulated baking sheets.  They take too long to heat and encourage the spreading problem. Use light-colored, heavy-duty aluminum baking sheets. 

 

Don't put dough on warm or hot baking sheets.

 

Make sure your oven is preheated to the right temp when it signals it is.  Check it with an oven thermometer.  Some home ovens can take longer to preheat than you think,    

post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 

@Skyler Thanks for the suggestions.. all good things. I thought I had gotten some of the better cookie sheets.. oh well. I have some plain aluminum pans. I'll have to get a thermometer for the oven, I don't trust it any further than I could throw it.

post #6 of 28

It's mostly about water content of the dough via your fat choice. Margarine spreads the most, butter the second, shortening the least. 

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post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 

I used salted butter.. since the recipe called for it (minus the salted part, but that's what I had on hand). Does shortening offer the same quality of flavor as butter? Are we talking Crisco basically?

post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post
 

@Skyler Thanks for the suggestions.. all good things. I thought I had gotten some of the better cookie sheets.. oh well. I have some plain aluminum pans. I'll have to get a thermometer for the oven, I don't trust it any further than I could throw it.

You're welcome.:)  I also bought those insulated sheets when they first came out thinking they'd be good.  I got rid of all of them several years back.  Do check your oven temp. and CHILL your dough.

 

Butter does spread more than shortening, but if you chill the dough you should be fine.  Yes...you get much better flavor from butter.  I never use shortening (yes...Crisco) in cookies.  Again, no reason to if you put cold dough in a well-preheated oven.

 

One more thing...I break the rule and often use (good quality) salted butter when baking.  It's just a taste preference after doing lots of testing.  Don't tell the baking police.;)  

post #9 of 28

Shortening doesn't offer the flavor of butter. 

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post #10 of 28

We have been disappointed in the results using the ole faithful traditional toll house recipe,

so I went hunting on the `net and found the land o lakes butter recipe and many of the comments

left on that site suggest placing the dough in the `fridge for 48 hours, yep, 2 days... it works!

as to using butter flavored Crisco, I feel that the cookie is too crisp

we go for BUTTER, MMM!

post #11 of 28
You'll have to send that cookie eastshores, I'll have a closer inspection.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #12 of 28

Chilling the dough overnight or 24 hours also works great.  You can also chill it a few hours (for easier handling), form the balls, then stick them back in the fridge until the next day...or freeze for future baking.  Occasionally I'll chill the dough slightly, roll it into logs, wrap them well, then chill them for slicing and baking later.  Most cookie doughs freeze beautifully which is a big convenience.  

post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skyler View Post
 

Chilling the dough overnight or 24 hours also works great.  You can also chill it a few hours (for easier handling), form the balls, then stick them back in the fridge until the next day...or freeze for future baking.  Occasionally I'll chill the dough slightly, roll it into logs, wrap them well, then chill them for slicing and baking later.  Most cookie doughs freeze beautifully which is a big convenience.  

 

Ok this part is the first that made me really think this could be a big difference.. a ball is naturally going to collapse with the center being higher and the edges thinner. Maybe I need to pack my dough into parchment paper to form a log and then chill it? Actually I'm now 90% sure that's the solution.

post #14 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post
 

 

Ok this part is the first that made me really think this could be a big difference.. a ball is naturally going to collapse with the center being higher and the edges thinner. Maybe I need to pack my dough into parchment paper to form a log and then chill it? Actually I'm now 90% sure that's the solution.

You'll be fine with a log or the balls of dough which is what I do more often, especially for drop cookies like choc. chip or oatmeal.  For me, the centers and edges are about the same thickness on the baked cookies.  Yes...you can use parchment for wrapping the logs for chilling...wax paper is fine, too.  For freezing, I wrap them in wax paper then heavy-duty foil. I suggest slicing the logs fairly thick for something like choc. chip or oatmeal cookies.  Keep in mind your baking time will be a bit longer, depending on thickness.  Sorry to put the damper on those insulated cookie sheets.  It took me a while to figure out WHY my cut-out sugar cookies were losing their shape and other drop cookies were spreading too much.  Also, it might just be my imagination, but parchment seems to help with the spreading issue, too.  I never use Silpat or nonstick baking sheets for cookies.


Edited by Skyler - 2/5/14 at 8:26am
post #15 of 28

I too prefer using butter to shortening, even though shortening solves the spreading problem. 

 

I often have the problem of cookies spreading.  I notice it is worse if I put butter in the microwave on the "soften" setting.  If left out to soften naturally to room temp, the problem is reduced. Also I noticed that creaming butter with the sugar in my stand mixer too long makes the spreading worse. If I cream it by hand the problem is lessened. 

 

I have read that using a higher fat content (lower water content) butter is a factor in keeping cookies from spreading when baking.  From what I've read online, most generic butters and mass produced butters in the U.S. are 80% fat content, leaving 20% water.  Plugra is 82.5% butterfat, which means less water. I haven't tested this out. Has anyone else?  http://www.sfgate.com/recipes/article/When-Put-to-the-Test-Here-s-How-Butter-Brands-3236719.php

post #16 of 28

And BTW salted butter has more water content than unsalted butter - that probably played into your problem as well. http://www.webexhibits.org/butter/baking.html

post #17 of 28

I found that if I melted the butter and mixed the sugar in to cream it, it worked much better.  Never had cookies flatten doing it that way.  I know that goes against convention but it works like a charm for me.

post #18 of 28

I don't have the spreading problem when using salted butter.  I do think the quality can make a difference.  For a long time I was buying butter at Sam's Club from Keller's Creamery under the Mid-America Farms label.  They also make Plugra.  They stopped carrying it so I went back to Land-O-Lakes and also use butter from Trader Joe's...their own label and Kerrygold.  

 

This might help some...scroll down to "Cookies too flat..."  However, I would forget the suggestion to use shortening...you don't need to...use butter!

 

http://baking911.com/learn/baked-goods/cookies/problems-and-solutions  


Edited by Skyler - 2/5/14 at 4:39pm
post #19 of 28

I succeeded by cooking my cookies in the upper third of the oven using the temperature recommended on the side of the package.  Slower and longer.

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post #20 of 28

As I was making yet another batch of Land O Lakes Chewy Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookies (without the spreaing problem)

I wonder, is it that your creaming process is shall we say, not creamy enough?  Prior to having my KitchenAid mixer, I realized

that I was not creaming enough and therefore the edges were 'breaking'

But as you can see, I no longer have that problem.

post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 

I'm not sure.. I used a spatula and stirred until I didn't see any more grain to the sugar. I felt like I creamed it enough but maybe not. It was my first time!

post #22 of 28

Once upon a time I had an eBakery. I needed a recreatable recipe that produced uniform chocolate chip cookies. I worked with a friend from another forum and we came up with an all butter recipe that worked. I used cold butter and cream the butter and sugar well. Here's the recipe.

 

Kyle


Ingredients 
AP Flour 2 CUPS 
Cake Flour ¾ CUP 
Salt ½ tsp 
Butter 16 TBS 
Sugar ¾ CUP 
Brn. Suqar ¾ CUP
Eggs 1 Large
Eqq Yolks 1 Large
Baking Soda 3/8 tsp 
Vanilla 1 tsp 
Chocolate Chips 12 Oz.


Cream cold butter and both sugars. 
Lightly mix egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Add to Butter/Sugar.
Sift dry ingredients and add to batter.
Add chips.
Bake TBS sized cookies (I use a #40 scoop) about 14 minutes@ 350º
Makes about 4 dozen

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post #23 of 28

@ Kaneohigirlaz - you are right, I have heard that about creaming the sugar and butter as well, that you should whip it on high in the mixer for about 8-10 minutes until it turns white and fluffy. I tried that but my cookies still flattened. I see your recipe you posted calls for baking powder. That certainly would help the cookies to rise and not flatten out! I am going to try it. 

Thanks!

post #24 of 28
@ColleenS hubby loves chocolate chip cookies and this is now his favorite recipe. I never thought about it before, but yeah, using baking soda and powder could add to the height of the cookie.
@eastshores , along that same thought, are your baking soda/powder fresh? I replace mine every few months.
In addition, using the stand mixer is so much better for creaming over mixing by hand, which I did for many years before my husband got me a KitchenAid. I think that he bought that more for himself than me, he winds up getting a better product in the end. wink.gif
post #25 of 28

Okay I'm using the premade chocolate chip cookie from wallys, the dough that's square shaped and scored.  My cookies began retaining their domed shape when baked in the upper third of the oven, at the same tamperature, for a longer time, twenty to thirty% longer time.

 

 

Previously those cookies were baked in the center rack where, I think, the heat was more intense on the bottom of the cookie thus causing it to "melt" or collapse as it were.  Placed higher in the oven in the upper third, it seems as if the bottom baked at a cooler temperature and took longer to complete, allowing the domed shape more pemanency.


Edited by kokopuffs - 3/9/14 at 4:58pm

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-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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post #26 of 28

I know everyone else has given ideas and suggestions, but honestly, my thought is that you're looking for something that is not what a chocolate chip cookie is supposed to be. 

 

IMO, a good chocolate chip cookie is SUPPOSED to be flatter and slightly crispy around the edges, moving to a soft, chewy center. To me the the perfectly even, puffy cookie like in the grocery store lacks the good blend of textures that a home baked cookie has - it's sacrificed texture and mouthfeel for appearance. 

post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by kara View Post

 

IMO, a good chocolate chip cookie is SUPPOSED to be flatter and slightly crispy around the edges, moving to a soft, chewy center. To me the the perfectly even, puffy cookie like in the grocery store lacks the good blend of textures that a home baked cookie has - it's sacrificed texture and mouthfeel for appearance. 

 

To me, no!  I prefer my CC cookies crunchy all the way thru and light.  And baking them as mentioned in the upper third of my oven produces just what I desire!     8)

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

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post #28 of 28

... and that's what makes the world go round, right?

We all have our own personal preferences in every dish/recipe.

One of my own philosophies in life is, if we were all exactly the same, this would be a very boring World.

I'll take a cookie, any way you want to give it to me!:lips:

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