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Cookie Troubleshooting Guide

CookieTroubleshooting_beauty
Perfect Cookie:
The photo at the left is slightly rounded on top and evenly golden brown. Flat Cookie: In the middle cookie, the butter was too soft or partially melted, the flour was under measured or the cookie sheet was too hot. Round or Hard Cookie: Too much flour was used and cookie was over-baked.

 

Cookie-baking blunders making you feel crumby? Learn about 11 common conundrums, their likely causes and how to achieve the perfect batch of cookies every time.

Problem: My Cookies Are Too Tough

Why?
  • Overworked the dough (especially likely with cutouts).
  • Added too much flour.
  • Used flour with too high of a protein content (e.g. bread flour).
  • Didn't use enough fat or sugar in the dough.
  •   Fix It
  • Use a light touch; work with dough as little as possible once flour is added to avoid having the dough stiffen up as it is worked.
  • Spoon flour into a measuring cup, rather than scooping the cup directly into the flour canister. Scooping compacts the flour, which means you end up with too much.
  • Try substituting pastry flour for the all-purpose flour. Pastry flour has less protein, so it develops less gluten when worked.
  • Start by adding ¼ cup extra sugar or butter to the dough. Sugar and fat are the ingredients that make a cookie tender.
  • Problem: My Cookies Are Hard and Dry

    Why?
  • Added too much flour.
  • Stored cookies improperly.
  • Overbaked the cookies.
  • Needed more fat or sugar.
  •  
    Fix It
  • Spoon flour into a measuring cup, rather than scooping the cup directly into the flour canister. Scooping compacts the flour, which means you end up with too much.
  • Store cookies in an airtight container; freeze them for long-term storage.
  • Check oven temperature accuracy or bake a few minutes less.
  • Start by adding ¼ cup extra sugar or butter to the dough. Sugar and fat are the ingredients that make a cookie tender.
  • Problem: My Cookies Are Too Pale 

    Why?
  • Used an insulated cookie sheet.
  • Baked at low oven temperature.
  • Underbaked the cookies.
  • Needed more sugar.
  •                
    Fix it
  • Use a heavy dull-aluminum cookie sheet. It allows heat to melt the sugar and brown the cookie.
  • Increase temperature by 25 degrees. Extra heat helps cookies brown.
  • Bake a couple of minutes longer.
  • Start by adding ¼ cup extra sugar to the dough. Sugar is a key ingredient for browning cookies.
  • Problem: My Cookies Are Too Crusty

    Why?
  • Added too much sugar.
  • Overbaked the cookies.
  • Used a dark cookie sheet.
  •                          Fix it
  • Cut back sugar by ¼ cup or use brown sugar (which has more moisture) as a substitute.
  • Check oven temperature accuracy, bake a few minutes less, or reduce temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Use a heavy dull-aluminum pan.
  • Problem: My Cookies/Bars Are Too Gummy 

    Why?
  • Added too much liquid/moisture.
  • Underbaked the cookies/bars.
  • Used too small a pan.
  •                  Fix it
  • Decrease egg amount (use yolk instead of whole egg or use 1 less egg) or add some flour.
  • Bake a couple of minutes longer. Cookies are done when the edges are firm. Bar cookies typically are done when a toothpick inserted in to the center of the pan comes out clean.
  • Make sure you're using the pan size called for in the recipe. A smaller pan will make the batter too thick for the designated baking time.
  • Problem: My Cookies Are Too Dark

    Why?
  • Used a dark pan.
  • Added too much sugar.
  • Overbaked the cookies


  • Fix it
  • Use a heavy dull-aluminum pan.
  • Cut back by about ¼ cup sugar to prevent overbrowning.
  • Check oven temperature accuracy, bake a few minutes less, or reduce temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Problem: My Cookies/Bars Are Too Crumbly

    Why?
  • Added too much flour.
  • Dough needs more fat.
  • Didn't let cookies cool long enough.
  •  
    Fix it
  • Cut back by ¼ cup flour to start.
  • Spoon flour into a measuring cup, rather than scooping the cup directly into the flour canister. Scooping compacts the flour, which means you end up with too much.
  • Add 2 to 4 tablespoons more fat to the dough. Fat makes cookies tender.
  • Be patient and let bars cool completely before cutting, or cool cookies a couple of minutes longer.
  • Problem: My Cookies Are Too Flat

    Why?
  • Added too much fat or sugar.
  • Used all butter.
  • Baked at a low oven temperature.
  • Used room temperature/soft dough
  • Used a warm pan.
  •      
    Fix it
  • Use half butter and half shortening, or reduce sugar amount. Butter and sugar make cookies spread.
  • Check oven temperature accuracy, bake a few minutes more, or increase temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Chill dough before using.
  • Place dough on cooled, clean pans to prevent early spread of cookies.
  • Problem: My Cookies Brown Unevenly

    Why?
  • Made cookies with
    random, inconsistent
    sizes or thicknesses.
  • Baked cookies in an oven with inaccurate oven temperatures.
  •  
    Fix it
  • Use a cookie scoop to help make sure all cookies are the same size. Make sure cut-out cookies are the same thickness.
  • Check oven temperature accuracy with an oven thermometer.
  • Problem: My Cookies Always Burn

    Why?
  • Overbaked the cookies.
  • Used a dark pan.
  • Added too much sugar.
  •                  
    Fix it
  • Check oven temperature accuracy, bake a few minutes less, or reduce temperature by 25 degrees.
  • Use a heavy dull-aluminum pan.
  • Reduce sugar amount to prevent overbrowning.
  • Problem: My Cookies Are Stuck to the Pan

    Why?
  • Forgot to grease/line
    the cookie sheet or pan.
  • The cookies are delicate and contain a lot of sugar.
  •   Fix It
  • Lightly grease cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  • Line pans for bars with lightly greased or non-stick aluminum foil.
  • Problem: My Cookies Are Too Stiff

    Why?
  • Added too much flour.
  • Baked dough immediately after it had removed from the refrigerator/freezer.
  •  
    Fix It
  • Cut back by ¼ cup flour to start.
  • Spoon flour into a measuring cup, rather than scooping the cup directly into the flour canister. Scooping compacts the flour, which means you end up with too much.
  • Bring the dough to room temperature before baking.



  • Write A Comment
    Comments
    1 - 10 of 11 Comments Previous  1 2  Next 
    sew_neat@msn.com said: Posted: 12/1/2013 8:15 AM
    thanks good review for baking good quality cookies.
     
    suzannew said: Posted: 4/30/2013 10:01 AM
    I want to add to your cookie and cake mixes ingredients such as dry oats or dried fruit so for the cookie mixes will the oats make for a small amount of added moisture needed in them?
     
    DianneMB said: Posted: 1/5/2013 1:20 PM
    Can I use Cookie Mix for cupcakes?
     
    KellyAnne said: Posted: 12/10/2012 2:41 PM
    My cookies bake golden brown on the bottoms, but aren't quite done on the tops... What is my problem??? I follow the directions. I use dull cookie sheets w/no edges. I measure carefully. I use a scoop. I have a temp guage in the oven. I lower the heat, lengthen the minutes. It's making me nuts!!!
     
    BEBO1998 said: Posted: 12/10/2012 12:46 PM
    I ALWAYS bake one or two test cookies before I fill the cookie sheets. I can adjust lots of problems by doing this. Also, light cookie sheets for me (use 4) two to fill, two to cool down by sitting them on frozen gel packs.
     
    clarbun2 said: Posted: 12/5/2012 6:54 PM
    If you use margarine that does not have enough fat content, cookies or other baking does not turn out right.
     
    sandi0415 said: Posted: 12/5/2012 3:19 PM
    This is a very annoying problem. It's so bad that I rarely bake cookies. The cookie won't actually stick to the pan but the center of the cookie pulls away from the outside of the cookie. when you turn the cookie over, there is actually space between the center of the cookie & the outer "shell." I have used both a dark aluminum pan and an insulated silver aluminum pan. same result.
     
    crowell6 said: Posted: 12/5/2012 2:39 PM
    my cookies brown on the edges and are raw in the middle even when I turn down the oven temp. I am using a dark cookie sheet. What is a dull aluminum pan?
     
    BettyCrockerEditor said: Posted: 12/5/2012 2:08 PM
    Cookies that turn hard may mean they have too much flour. Spoon flour into a measuring cup rather than scooping. Scooping flour means you can get an extra quarter cup of flour for every two cups you use and that means tough, hard cookies.
     
    PMCrocker said: Posted: 11/29/2012 6:48 PM
    My cookies turn hard after the first day. I store them in an air tight jar. What am I doing wrong. The cookies are supposed to be chewy light.
     
    1 - 10 of 11 Comments Previous  1 2  Next 
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