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8 Common Peanut Butter Cookie Problems and Solutions

8 Common Peanut Butter Cookie Problems and Solutions

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Eating a batch of peanut butter cookies with a warm drink is a fantastic experience not many can say no to. However, you’ll find a few saying no to the experience of baking the batch itself! Why, you might wonder?

It’s because baking peanut butter cookies can be troublesome, as many things can go wrong—especially if you’re a beginner.

Luckily for you, today I’ll cover the most common peanut butter cookie problems and solutions! So, get your apron, ready your ingredients, and let’s begin!

P.S. These tips will help you out with most types of cookies, not just peanut butter ones.

Problem 1: Cookies Spread Too Much and Don’t Hold Their Shape

The first issue we have here is the cookie dough melting and spreading too much in the pan. This can be really annoying, as you’ll end up with a few cookies attached to each other.

Moreover, it can leave your cookies extra thin or make them lose their shape.

This usually happens for various reasons, including using room temperature/ warm butter, too much baking soda/powder, or not enough flour.

How To Fix it

To avoid the dough spreading too much, you’ll need to carefully review your recipe and make sure you’re using the right quantities.

If you’re sure you’ve used the right quantities, you can try increasing the flour ratio a little to help reduce the spreading.

You can also use parchment paper or silicone mats, which can help reduce the spreading compared to a greasy aluminum baking sheet.

Problem 2: Cookies Spread Aren’t Spreading Enough

How do you feel when you scoop a little ball of cookie dough, place it on the pan, and bake it, only for it to come out looking like… a ball?

When you place the little ball-shaped dough in the pan, we expect it to melt into the flat disc-like cookie shape.

However, when it retains the same form it went in, there’s a problem, and it’s probably the flour’s fault!

How To Fix it

Fixing this issue requires the opposite of what we did in the previous one. This means you’ll need to check the quantities you used and lower the flour content.

However, the type of peanut butter you use can also pose an issue. Natural peanut butter spreads, often denser, may not spread as processed types. Hence, you might have to switch.

Problem 3: Cookies Are Too Hard

Cookies are supposed to be warm, chewy, and just a little tender. So, you’ve got a huge problem on your hand when you bite into one, and it’s hard!

Hard cookies are usually the result of overbaking the cookies for longer than usual—even a couple of minutes can make a difference. Also, high oven temperatures can affect the baking process.

How To Fix it

Besides making sure you don’t leave them in the oven for too long or use high temperatures, you’ll also need to do other things.

For instance, take a look at the fat content you have in the recipe. This means the butter and oil, which add moisture and tenderness to the cookies.

If it’s insufficient compared to the dry ingredients, like flour, it’s best to add more.

Problem 4: Cookies Are Bland

The problem with peanut butter cookies is that many depend on the butter to add flavor.

However, it can get pretty bland without other additions or if you’re not using the best type of peanut butter out there.

Other factors that can affect the cookies’ flavor are actually the flour and salt, which might sound odd to a novice chef!

How To Fix it

For starters, you’ll need to pick a good type of peanut butter to ensure you get that sweet, rich, nutty flavor.

After that, look at how much sugar you’re using in the recipe. If you can, add a little bit more. Moreover, a pinch of salt can help enhance all other flavors, so don’t forget about it!

Finally, too much flour or using the wrong type can take away from the cookie’s flavor. For a pro-tip, toast your flour, then use it immediately for a nutty, more complex flavor.

Problem 5: Cookies Burn Too Quickly

Many cooks encounter this problem with peanut butter cookies and other cookies too. They’re standing there waiting for their batch to ready up, only to smell something burning!

Of course, this can be really disappointing, especially when one part of the batch seems fine while the other is too brownish.

Incorrect baking time and an overly hot oven are among the several factors contributing to this issue.

How To Fix it

The first step here is to ensure you preheat the oven for about 10 minutes before inserting the first cookie sheet. You can also use an oven thermometer to guarantee the temperature is correct.

Once done, place the sheet in the oven and start a timer to avoid leaving it too long. Now, another thing you can do is change the type of baking sheet you use.

Some sheets, especially dark-colored ones, absorb more heat than light ones, which can lead to burning.

You can also change the cookies’ position in the oven to get them away from the heating elements.

Finally, one more factor that can lead to your cookies burning up too fast can be dryness and lack of sufficient moisture.

Problem 6: Cookies Bake Unevenly

A similar problem to your peanut butter cookies burning too quickly is baking unevenly. Sometimes when baking these cookies, you’ll notice that some are cooked thoroughly, while others aren’t.

In fact, you might notice this problem in one cookie! This is usually due to several factors, such as a problem with the oven or the baking sheet material.

How To Fix it

First things first, you’ll need to test out your oven’s hot spots. Make a little test batch and observe which areas cook fast.

This can help you figure out where to position your baking sheet or if you’ll need to rotate it during the baking process.

Once you have that covered, ensure you’re scooping consistent dough cuts. For this, you can use a cookie scoop, which will help you make uniform cookies.

Finally, avoid overcrowding the cookies in the sheet to allow for proper heat circulation.

Problem 7: Cookies Are Too Grainy or Gritty

As I mentioned earlier, cookies are supposed to be chewy and soft.

And when it comes to peanut butter cookies, this softness can be juxtaposed with a little crunchiness from the butter itself.

Yet, it can be displeasing when this crunch turns to an overly grainy or gritty texture that leaves the cookie crumbling in your hand. Mostly, the cause behind this issue is sugar.

How To Fix it

The grainy or gritty texture of cookies is usually the fault of sugar. So, your first step should be to choose fine or caster sugar, which can dissolve more easily than coarse granulated sugar.

Moreover, since we’re making peanut butter cookies, it’s best to opt for creamy, homogenized peanut butter, especially one without any chunks, if possible.

Finally, thoroughly cream your butter and sugar until the mixture turns light and fluffy. This process will help to dissolve the sugar, reducing the gritty or grainy texture.

Problem 8: Cookies Have a Greasy Texture

There are times when you’ll make the most delicious peanut cookie batch that doesn’t give you any trouble while baking.

However, they’ll have this final oily, greasy texture that makes enjoying them a tad hard. This often stems from the fat content in the dough, either from the butter or peanut butter used.

How To Fix it

To avoid having oily cookies, you’ll need to ensure the recipe has a correct balance of fat and flour.

In this case, you can slightly reduce the fat or increase the flour, but not too much, as it can lead to dryness.

Moreover, it’s best to choose an all-natural peanut butter with no added oils or sugars because they tend to increase the oil content in the cookies, making them extra greasy.

Finally, use parchment paper under the cookies to absorb some of the excess grease during the baking process.

Final Thoughts

Baking peanut butter cookies shouldn’t be a hassle, even if you’re just learning.

All you need to do is keep the previous common peanut butter cookie problems and solutions in your mind and you should be ready!

Remember, review your ingredients thoroughly, use parchment sheets, bring an oven thermometer and a timer, and everything should be fine. Happy baking!

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