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How do you keep cookies from spreading while baking?

I just made some great peanutbutter cookies over the weekend but no matter what I did they spread out. I was trying to make big, thick, chewy cookies but got thin ones instead. I chilled the dough and made sure that the pans were completely cooled before putting them in the oven. I even tried to pile the dough in high spoonfulls. What else could I have done?

 
WindyTheWidow

Asked by WindyTheWidow at 12:13 PM on Sep. 22, 2009 in Food & Drink

Level 5 (87 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (15)
  • My cookies are spreading too much – First, always start with a cold baking sheet. If your dough is too soft, put it in the refrigerator for 15 or 20 minutes until it firms up. Check the recipe. Is it calling for an ungreased baking sheet and you are using a greased baking sheet? This will also cause your cookies to spread.

    Anonymous

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:09 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • Could have been too much butter. Did you follow the recipe exactly?
    LilyandEmmasMom

    Answer by LilyandEmmasMom at 12:33 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • Here is a website with good suggestions

    http://www.wrenscottage.com/kitchen/tips/cookietips.php
    GailllAZ

    Answer by GailllAZ at 12:55 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • I followed the recipe precisely.
    WindyTheWidow

    Answer by WindyTheWidow at 1:17 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • Check your oven temp. Did you preheat before you added the cookie sheets? When you added them, did you have your oven open for an extended amount of time?

    If your oven thermostat is off, it could be running a few degrees cold. Also if your oven is open for awhile, it takes time to get back up to temperature. In the meantime, the fats melt and the cookie spreads.

    Did you use butter or margarine? If you used margarine, check the water content. Too much water and they spread out also.
    geminilove

    Answer by geminilove at 1:58 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • could have been the butter! I've noticed if I add too much butter the cookies are flat as pancakes. since you followed the recipe precisely, try decreasing the amt of butter and see if that helps. you could also replace some of the butter w/ applesauce. too much applesauce will make the cookies cakey, but replacing some of the butter w/ it will make them fluffy!
    Owl_Feather

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 2:05 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • The oven was preheated and the door didn't stay open long. The recipe called for the oven to only be 300 degrees, do you think that wasn't high enough so the cookies "melted?"

    I like the applesauce idea, do you think replacing part of the butter with shortening would've helped? Or freezing the dough?
    WindyTheWidow

    Answer by WindyTheWidow at 2:08 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • anon 209 has a good point! ungreased cookie sheet versus greased can make a huge difference. i hate it when recipes dont add that important detail lol
    Owl_Feather

    Answer by Owl_Feather at 2:12 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • you also may want to check your oven temp....I know that mine may SAY 300 but I know in fact that it is not. Another thing might be that you are handling them too much. Try using a metal scooper like the one Pampered Chef sells to scoop your cookies, that way you dont ever touch them. The oils on your hands can make a difference as well! And when I want thicker chewier cookies (although they aren't very large in circumference I don't do the criss cross pattern with the fork. You might also try using a Meatball sized scooper instead of the a melon ball size scooper (make sense?) and cut down on the time in the oven, allowing the "cooking" process to complete on the tray for the last minute or so!
    swimmachic23

    Answer by swimmachic23 at 2:56 PM on Sep. 22, 2009

  • I separate them, my pans are big so I can fit 12 to a pan, I make them no bigger than a tablespoon which makes big cookies.

    Knightquester

    Answer by Knightquester at 3:12 PM on Sep. 22, 2009