Baking is a hobby that many people take on as a way to relax and relieve stress. Unfortunately, sometimes baking can end up being the direct cause of your stress and anxiety if you don’t know how to do it correctly.
The truth is, baking isn’t always as simple as people make it out to be and in fact takes some serious skill to make it happen.
So, Your Cookies Aren’t Spreading
Cookies are usually one of the easier baking projects that someone can take on, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t come with any problems of its own.
Sometimes for example, you may find that your cookies aren’t spreading. This can be incredibly frustrating and understandably so. However, rest assured that it’s an issue that can be fixed.
One of the main reasons why your cookies may not be spreading is because you’ve added a bit too much flour to the mixture. To get your cookie batter to come out perfectly you need to make sure the ratio of butter to flour is correct. If not, you could end up with a mess on your hands.
A good way to prevent this from happening is to level off the flour you are measuring so that you aren’t adding in an excessive amount. You don’t need to pack the flour into the measuring cup – simply level it off.
Another common reason for the lack of spread in your cookies could be due to the fact that you left your cookie dough to chill for too long. Baking cold cookie dough is a surefire way to make sure your cookies don’t reach their full potential.
Let your cookie dough sit out for a little while until it reaches room temperature before you bake it. This will prevent your cookies from forming in small chunks instead of larger discs.
We mentioned earlier that butter plays a role in the way your cookies are baked. If the butter you used in your cookie dough wasn’t at the right temperature, it could result in a hot mess of cookies.
For your cookies to spread, you need to make sure your butter is cool but not frozen. However, you also don’t want it to be too warm as this could have the opposite effect and cause your cookies to spread too much.
In this case, room temperature butter is your best bet.
Another important aspect when baking cookies is to make sure that your oven’s temperature is set correctly. Not preheating your oven could mean that the oven isn’t warm enough for your cookies to bake, which in turn would cause your cookies to be undercooked.
Other Common Cookie Problems
Again, baking cookies can be a much more difficult task than people expect it to be, especially if you’re making them from scratch. There are several other problems that could arise during the cookie baking process, but don’t worry – we’ve got the solution to all of them.
If your cookies are hard and tough, it could be not only a hazard to your teeth, but they won’t be enjoyable in the slightest. A major reason why cookies end up hard is because people tend to overmix their cookie dough.
Your tough cookies could also be a result of having used too much flour, sugar, or even having overbaked your cookies. Be sure to follow recipes as accurately as possible and make sure that you’re always preheating your oven before baking.
Crumbly cookies are another common issue in baking. This happens when either you haven’t mixed your dough long enough, or there isn’t enough gluten in it. To fix this, you can always switch up the type of flour you’re baking with, or add in an egg yolk for added moisture.
There’s nothing worse than taking a bite out of a cookie only to find out that it’s not cooked all the way through. As delicious as raw cookie dough may be, it’s not healthy when consumed in large quantities and will also cause your cookies to go bad.
If you’ve noticed that your cookies are baking unevenly, make it a habit to rotate your cookie sheet halfway through the baking process. This way, all angles of your cookies are getting baked properly.
You can also try and put in just one cookie sheet at a time as opposed to trying to bake several at a time.
Burnt cookies are another big no-no in the world of baking. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do about this after the fact aside from trying to scrape off the burnt parts of the cookie. However, there are some things you can do to prevent this from happening in the future.
First, be sure you are avoiding dark nonstick pans. These tend to burn cookies much more quickly than other cookie sheets do. You also want to make sure you are keeping an eye on your cookies as often as you can, especially as it gets closer to the end of the baking time.
After working so hard to create the perfect cookie you want to be able to store them so that you can keep them fresh for as long as possible. That’s why it’s important to store them properly.
Before storing your cookies, be sure that they have cooled down completely first. Then you’ll want to place them in an airtight container so that they remain fresh. If you store them like this you should be able to keep your cookies fresh for up to three weeks.
Softer cookies, on the other hand, may be a bit more difficult to store because they tend to lose moisture quickly. But to prevent this from happening, store them in an airtight container and put pieces of parchment paper in between them to keep them from sticking together.
If you really want your cookies to last longer, you may want to consider freezing them. To do this, simply put them in a freezer bag or airtight container and place them in the fridge. Again, use parchment paper to separate cookies and to keep them from getting stuck together.
If stored in the freezer, your cookies should last up to three months.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.