Have your cookies ever spread out too flat when you bake them? Mine have and I was so disappointed. Actually I was mad. How did this happen? What did I do wrong?
I recently attended the Sunday Chocolate Festival at Hotel Roanoke and during one of the early classes there was a forum with locally known chefs. The number one question asked of the chefs was how I keep cookies from going flat when baking. I was very glad someone else asked so I could learn from their expertise.
The answer is to make sure you use the creaming method when mixing your butter and sugar for the appropriate amount of time. Not long enough or too long will affect the texture of your cookie. The best creaming time varies based on where you live (altitude, humidity, temperature etc.). The creaming method is the critical step in making perfect cookies. The best way to perfect your creaming method is practice.
First, make sure your butter is at room temperature. Remove it from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes prior to mixing. Learn to watch the mixture and, when it becomes light and creamy, stop. Do not rush the process. Mix on low to medium just long enough to create the perfect creamed mixture.
Reminder: there is a difference between butter and margarine, so read your recipe carefully. Butter can cause more spreading since it has more fat content than margarine.
Last, chill the cookie dough at least two hours prior to baking to allow the butter to firm up and reduce spreading while baking. Not chilling the dough will increase the chances of your cookies spreading. Always put cookie dough on a cold cookie sheet.
What tips do you have to reduce the flat and/or spread out cookies?