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Cookie Dough Fiasco! :-O

I have a terrible problem with this cookie dough: http://sweetapolita.com/2012/11/the-p...

The dough is too soft, even after chilling in the refrigerator for 2 days. It is difficult to roll out, sticky, floppy, impossible to cut out cookies and transfer them. Of course it tastes delicious. And of course I made a literal ton of it!

I have followed the directions completely. And I work in a cold house, 64 degrees.

Would kneading in more flour help?

Does anyone have a sturdier recipe for chocolate cut-outs to share with me? I have found that more flour and baking powder work better in basic vanilla sugar cookie cutouts, by trial and error.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. are you sure your measures were correct?

    you could ad back in some flour and cocoa and see what happens.

    i have made these and they were well-received. rolling out dough for cookies is a pita for me, so i rarely do it.


    1. Were you using the measurements by volume or weight?

      If the former, my guess is that your ratios are probably off.

      If the latter, your guess is as good as mine.

      1. If you can't make the dough work as cut out cookies and don't want to waste it , you could always just roll balls of dough, put them on a cookie sheet, and flatten them a little with the back of a spoon. Obviously they won't look the same or be quite as crispy, but you could still decorate them, if that was your plan.

        1. the issue i see with that recipe is that while quite dry due to the relatively high ratio of dry ingredients (flour, cocoa), the cocoa itself in that high of an amount has a tendency to make the dough sticky. what's more, the ratio of butter seems low to me. the recipe is like a 2:3:4, but the butter to sugar ratio has been inverted and sugar exceeds butter... the eggs add moisture so that the flour can be incorporated, but these will also make for a stickier, less sturdy and cooperative dough to roll out.

          1. Roll out between parchment paper, freeze for 20 minutes, cut and immediately transfer using a thin metal spatula.

            This works great on the stickiest doughs.

            4 Replies
              1. re: Becca Porter

                That looks exactly like the type of recipe I am looking for. My regular sugar cookie recipe uses baking powder and a larger proportion of flour, just as that one does.

                  1. Your issue is you need to weight out the flour, you most likely had much less flour than the recipe called for.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: treb

                      What do I do when the recipe calls for flour by volume?

                      1. re: drloripalooza

                        The recipe you linked to in the OP does list the ingredients by weight (e.g. in grams).

                        Always bake by weighing your ingredients, not by measuring them by volume. You most likely followed the directions in terms of cups of that, and spoons of this, which is why you ended up with a sloppy mess.

                        If you want to do any serious baking, invest in a scale. You can get a good one for less than $10.

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          Oops, my bad. Still think I'll try out the "smitten" recipe above, though.

                          1. re: drloripalooza

                            Cooks Illustrated also has an awesome recipe for dark chocolate cut outs.

                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                  Great to hear, MidwesternerTT. I don't really consider baking Christmas cookies serious baking at all -- and I've never had trouble with my sugar cookie or gingerbread cut-outs. I have some rather intricate snowflake cookie cutters that I like to pipe with royal icing and thought that chocolate cookies would be a treat for my family and friends. It seems that few people like gingerbread any more :( -- one of my grandmother's and grandfather's great loves. If I were attempting artisan bread, I would of course use a scale, but I have never had trouble with layer cakes, pie crust, or cookies, just figured on the humidity or not (when the heat is on) of my environment.

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                I've been successfully(seriously) home-baking cookies, cakes, breads, etc for more than 40 years without a scale. Sometimes the recipe is just wrong - typo, transposition, or math-error by whoever's posting or publishing. If measurements are given as weight I always re-check the conversion. Glad to read some more great troubleshooting and recovery techniques here.

                          2. In my experience, cocoa always make dough easier to work, not more difficult. Humidity and other factors can cause measuring by volume to vary ... bottom line is, if you need more flour, add it. I always put flour down when rolling out cookie dough ... always.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: foiegras

                              That risks a lot. It definitely makes rerolling the scraps less likely. The extra flour toughens the cookies.

                              Parchment + Freezing works without using more flour. That said, for most cookies I use a light dusting of flour and only reroll once. It wouldn't work for my gingerbread cookies though.

                                1. re: Becca Porter

                                  I've made many, many dozen very good cookies. In a case where the dough is sticky and unworkable, adding flour is not a problem. I agree that unlimited amounts of flour should not be added indiscriminately to any dough, but it's already been stated that the dough in question is "impossible" to work.

                                  My point was that the needed flour doesn't necessarily have to be worked into the dough upfront (depending on exactly how sticky it is), but can be added during rolling.

                                  Also that if you measure by volume, you are not getting a standard product, so it should come as no surprise when adjustment is needed.