Cookie Panic!

It’s cookie season in the Ashtar household!

Now I’m not exactly a great baker. Not even a great cook.

Okay–so I botched up the Ramen Noodles the first time I tries to prepare them. Boiling water is tricky! But that was years ago–and I’ve been trying to get better!

I’m poor this Christmas season because as some of you might already know from my constant bitching, I’ve been having a bit of trouble finding a source of income. But that’s no excuse for skimping on holiday cheer! I’m baking cookies for my friends and loved ones!

I don’t know what happened to my cookie dough, but something is greviously wrong when I try to bake. The dough expands -far- too widely, and so far, they’ve been invariably coming out too soft and doughy. Needing to be cooked to a near-burned consistency just to maintain a good shape. They taste fine, but am I forgetting an ingredient that will give it more ‘bulk’?

I need a culinary hero! A master chef! If anyone out there can help me, I’ll be eternally grateful! :stuck_out_tongue:

Eh, misshapen cookies often taste just as good as perfect ones. Feel free to send me the rejects.

What kind of cookie are you making? Sugar? Shortbread? Gingerbread? Knowing this would probably result in some specific baking tips.

A lot of cut out cookies will keep their shape better while baking if you put the tray in the refrig for about 20 minutes before you put it in the oven.

Did you use butter? Sometimes if you use butter instead of margerine your thick cookie will burn on the bottom before it bakes inside. Butter will also cause a cookie to spread more. Other than that, I can’t think of anything.

Sorry, sorry … but to clarify … put the tray with the unbaked cookies on it in the refrig. When I read that again, I realized it looks like I am recommending putting just the tray in the refrig. Chilling the unbaked cookies helps them keep their shape.

Suo Na, are you implying that butter and margarine are interchangeable? In my experience, the chemical differences between the two make simple substitutions difficult. This is esp. true in baking where the fats in butter/oil often are crucial to the final outcome(flakiness,etc.). The high water content in margarine must be taken into account.
I personally have not used margarine in over five years so maybe there’s some amazing breakthrough I’m not aware of but I am just not fond of the stuff for many reasons, cooking difficulties and its taste at the top.

Not a flame, just a point on cooking.

Baking powder
dry milk

That’s the base mix that I’m using. I can’t really determine how much I used of each ingredient because I didn’t take careful note…I finished baking the first batch, anyway. They seem to be allright, except they’re absolutely -huge- and soft. :slight_smile: That might be allright with some, but I was hoping for something smaller and harder.

mmmmm, huge and soft, mmmmmmmm

I’m terribly sorry, I don’t know what’s coming over me…

Ashy feeds MikeG a cookie.

“but I was hoping for something smaller and harder.”

Now were right up my alley. :smiley:

On the cookie problem, not being a chef by any stretch of the imagination, I could be wrong here, but you might try a little less baking soda. Just a thought.

Or you could buy the Pillsbury slice-off-tube-o-cookies. Foolproof if not impressive.

I asked my mom, she’s in the middle of a cookie baking frenzy for Xmas. She said “oh, she probably needs to add more flour. Sometimes if you use extra large eggs, you need to add a bit more flour to make up for the extra egg, it helps the batter stand up.”
I don’t know what you’re baking, but after seeing my mom bake cookies for probably 20 years, including at her bakery, I have concluded that a cookie is a mysterious piece of chemistry that relies on more than a bit of art rather than science. If you can get the proportions of ingredients to dance around their melting and crystalizing points in a certain way, it’s magic. It’s tricky. It’s easy to make small changes to the temperatures or the proprtions and you end up way off the mark. But some recipes are more forgiving than others.

The cookies spread way out when there’s not enough flour in proportion to the liquids. Too much butter and you get flat cookies with crisp edges. I like crisp and do this on purpose, unless I make cutout sugar cookies.

See, there’s the difference between you and me. I prefer huge and hard. :wink:

I am a guy!

No cookie for you! :smiley:

Thanks for the info anyways, ya’ll. I’m starting my next batch tomorrow -bright- and early! So I’ll try more flour and see how things go then. :slight_smile:

Are you saying that you are not following a recipe? If so, then that’s your problem.

Baking relies on fairly complex chemical reactions and interrelationships. It’s not like cooking, where you can vary the proportions of ingredients. Baking is tricky, and cookies are expecially tricky.

As MikeG said, you can’t even interchange butter and margarine. There are many recipes which say that you can use either, but they were specifically designed that way, and the results will be noticeably different depending on which one you use.

So, if you are not following a recipe to the letter (number?), than that is the problem. If you are carefully following a recipe, then please post it here so we can take a look at it. If there is an error in the recipe, one of us might well be able to spot it.