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Why are my cookies spreading???

I have a tried and true chocolate chip cookie recipe (it's a knock-off of the Keebler Softbake Cookies). But the last batch I made, when I went to bake them, they spread in the oven and got flat. Generally they usually stay a little more formed and have more height to them.

What could have gone wrong? I chilled the dough, used butter, not margarine and followed the recipe exactly. Is there anything I can do to remedy the dough???

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  1. Add a little flour to some of the dough, bake the test amount and see if that helps. That is what works when I have that problem. Flour amount varies a lot if you do not weigh it.

    You use a plain baking sheet (not non stick) and do not grease it?

    2 Replies
      1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

        That should be fine. Try the additional flour.

    1. What's your weather like? If it's humid, rainy, or you're under a high-pressure system, it has a remarkably bad effect on baking -- things will spread instead of rise.

      1. Try 1/2 butter and 1/2 margerine or shortening next time. Butter recipes will spread more easily...

        5 Replies
        1. re: KSlink

          I was going to ask, do you usually use margarine? Because butter will spread like crazy.

          1. re: coll

            Grrrr.....I always get confused - I thought margarine caused the spread! Oy.

            1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

              I only remember because Crisco gives you the most fluff, so I think of margarine in a similar vein. Butter I reserve for something rich and crispy. I've subbed all of these for each other and gradually understood the benefits of each!

              1. re: coll

                Thanks Coll - this makes it much clearer for me. And reminds me that I have a recipe for "milk supply cookies" that specifically calls for margarine and those come out higher!

                1. re: CurlieGlamourGirlie

                  I've learned the hard way about subbing butter for margarine, and when you learn the hard way it sticks in your mind! I make a crumb sheet cake that calls for 2 sticks butter and 2 sticks margarine, any other way it just isn't right.

        2. Yep. Spreading usually has to do with the fat you are using.

          1. Gotta go with margarine and extra flour. I also find refrigerating the dough before baking helps.

            The last batch of CCCs that I made, I used this recipe: http://www.lovefromtheoven.com/2011/0...
            Seriously AMAZING and nice and "plump." I might try cutting back on the sugar just a little the next time, but they really were about the best CCCs that I have ever had in my life!

            1. If you're absolutely sure that you followed the recipe exactly as you always did, I'd bet it's the flour. Instead of measuring it volumetrically, weigh it.

                1. re: jbsiegel

                  this was going to be my guess.

                  The temperature of the dough when you put it in the oven can have a dramatic affect as well.

                  If you've made it before and it has worked - then you have probably done something slightly differently and just don't realize it. Try it again and see if it works again before tinkering with everything.

                2. Mine tend to spread too much if I've beaten the flour for too long into the butter/sugar.

                  1. Since this recipe has worked before, I would suggest you may have over creamed the butter, or started with butter that is too warm. If it is over creamed, chilling the dough can't bring back the lost emulsification. The butter should still feel slightly cool after creaming.

                    2 Replies
                      1. re: maxie

                        I've ALWAYS started my cookies with cold marg/butter (I HATE when they turn into pancakes). I also tend to be heavy-handed on the flour (to the extent that I usually have to toss in a Tbsp or so of water in order to get it all to mix together). Seems to work well in making thick cookies. My oldest, most beat-up, dark-colored, cheapo cookie sheet is also the best for them!

                      2. Every time I read the title of this thread it makes me giggle a little bit like I'm Beavis & Butthead.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: joonjoon

                          Ha!!! Now I will too! :)

                          (This is like a sign I see in my neighborhood for 'stump grinding'. It never fails to get a chuckle out of me!)