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Butter fleeing a cookie dough...

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My VSO is from Como in northern Italy and among the things I have learned to make that please her mightily are krumiri, lovely buttery and lemony cornmeal cookies. I have always used the recipe from "A Passion for Piedmont" by Matt Kramer. When I first tried this recipe about five years ago it worked perfect even if the batter was the devil to push out of the pastry bag through the half-inch star tip.

Anyway, out of the numerous times I have made thus dough perhaps 60% of the time the cookies have immediately flattened out in the oven and lost their shallow-v-shaped log shape. Taste is fine, but the look is all wrong. I have tried numerous things, from chilling the dough before piping it out, to using or not using a silpat or parchment paper, and for the life of me I cannot figure out what causes the problem.

Yesterday I tried making a batch again and the result was a total meltdown - literally. After I put the erstwhile cookies in the oven I started washing the bowl out and then thought to turn the oven light on so I could watch the progress and I was surprised and dismayed to see that not only had the dough completely flattened out but all of the butter had fled the dough and now I had this little flat boomerang shapes boiling in a sea of butter. Luckily I used a sheet pan that had real sides to it!

So, the question is, what is going on and how do I avoid this? The ingredients are: butter (1.5 sticks), sugar, lemon zest, 1 egg plus an egg yolk, flour and cornmeal.

Any ideas? Thanks.

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  1. Have you tried chilling the dough AFTER piping? I do this with cookies that have a lot of butter. Also, do you always use the same kind of butter? I find that European-style butter works best for cookies of this type (lower moisture content).

    1. What is the consistency of the butter when you first cut it into the flour? Somewhat firm, but pliable or is it soft? Aim for the former. I agree with pikawicca to chill the dough. About 15-30 min. in the fridge should do it. Hope this helps.