HELP! 1st time cookie baker -- the Spritz cookies look like pancakes!
At my age I can do without a Christmas tree and without outside decorations, but I do miss the smell (and eating) of home-made cookies during the holidays. Soooo, I thought I would be adventuresome and try my hand at some Spritz cookies.Bought a cookie press (the kind suggested by Cook's Illustrated), compared three different recipes (found they were basically identical) and ventured forth.Well, the cookies didn't taste too bad (sugar & butter!), but they all flattened out like pancakes while baking. I even tried a few different discs (shapes) but each batch resulted in the same flat, pancake look. What did I do wrong? It must be something in the baking technique as all the recipes were simple and straight forward. And yes, I cooled the baking sheets in between batches.If I receive (hopefully) some helpful advice from you bakers out there I will try another batch over the week-end.
Don't give up! There could be a couple of reasons the cookies are flattening. Could be the ratio of butter, flour, sugar, eggs, or the way you're measuring the flour or handling the dough. You're right, most recipes are the same, but some call for more eggs than others, and flours vary.
Butter should be beaten a bit first to begin the creaming process. Once butter is more pliable, add sugar. Then the mixture gets creamed to a fluffy stage. Don't overbeat to the point where the butter becomes so warm and soft that it begins to break down the structure. When adding flour, add enough to create a fairly stiff dough. Try piping and if not stiff enough to pipe (producing cookies that don't hold their shape), add a little bit of flour. If dough is too stiff (producing dry, cracked cookies), add a portion of egg to get the right consistency.
It's possible you let the butter get too soft before creaming it. Cook's Illustrated had a whole article on that sometime last year.