12 May 2007

Why are my cookies flat?

I need all you bakers out there to provide me with your expertise. What is happening here??

The last two batches of cookies I have made have come out like this. First it was chocolate chip cookies and now oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Today I used the recipe from the Betty Crocker cookbook.
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter or stick margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3 cups quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Heat oven to 375
2. Beat all ingredients except oats, flour and raisins in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in oats, flour and chocolate.
2. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Pretty basic recipe. I should say I've had pretty good luck baking cookies in the past. They always come out just fine so this is just baffling me.

The only thing I can think of is maybe I've over mixed the dough? I used my KitchenAid the last two times also. When you make cookies do you mix them by hand or with a mixer? Does over mixing the butter make them go flat??

I should also say I Hate (with a capital H) my oven! It is a gas oven with a turn dial so I don't really know the real temperature. I turned the oven down for the second batch and they looked at first like they weren't going to fall, but then did right at the end too. Also it cooks really unevenly too. My cookies--before they turn flat--are already super brown near the front of the oven, but barely done at the back.

Any ideas?? I have the dough in the fridge right now so I'm going to try another batch with the chilled dough so we'll see what happens.


julie P said...

Baking can be so scientific! Are you at a higher altitude (3500 feet or over)? That can make a difference in needing to add flour and tweak a couple other things. they also have thermometers made to keep inside your oven so you always know what the "real" temp is. Not too pricey, if I'm remembering right. Especially if you get it at Bed, Bath & Beyond with a 20% off coupon! I have lots of extra coupons, let me know if you need one.

Corrie said...

Sometimes it is from having butter that is too soft - add flour (a very little bit at a time). Using parchment paper helps too.

If you're still having trouble, try using some shortening (in place of the butter/marg) and don't cream it very long.

Terina said...

you could try using a different pan. one of my cookie sheets is made my Bakers Secret and that is the only one that i can make cookies on. if i make them on regular cookie sheets, they burn.

Melissa said...

I've had the same problem - and usually it's just like Corrie said - the butter or margarine is too soft. I had someone explain it to me one time, but I don't remember all the details. Hopefully putting it in the fridge will help. Good luck - you'll have to let us know what you did and if it worked!

tracy m said...

What everyone else said, about the butter being too soft. Alton Brown on food network addressed this issue once- you might have some luck with a search. Basically, if the butter melts to liquid before the outside crisps up and the leavener has a chance to work, you end up with liquid cookies.

Melissa said...

Did you try it? How did the rest of the cookies turn out?

Jamie J said...

Hey Melissa, thanks for asking. I haven't tried yet, sorry! I'll do it this morning. I'm interested to see what happens though because my butter wasn't too soft before. It had only been sitting on the counter for maybe 45 minutes before I put it it the bowl. Hopefully it will work! I'll let you know!

Jamie J said...

Well some of them survived this time. The majority of them did not fall and they were even pretty tasty. Maybe I should chill my dough from now on....Thanks for your help everyone!

s'mee said...

o.k. this is very late in posting, but perhaps you'll get this in an e-mail...

I had the same situation with flat cookies. Partially for all the reasons mentioned already. I fixed it by:

Use 50/50 butter and shortening (I use the butter flavored crisco and it works well)measure accurately!

I also add 1/2 - 1 cup more of flour to my recipes...this you'll just have to test until you find the right amout for each recipe.
Flour is weird. Some has more protiens than others and some have more gluten, yada yada...either way: fluff the flour with a spoon prior to SPOONING into your measuring cup, don't tamp, just level off with a knife. Never scoop your measuring cup into the flour and dump...it's like packing the flour and that's not good.

Lower your temperature on the oven by 50 degrees and set your timer every time. Find the perfect time for each recipe, write it down and pull out the cookies at that set time, every time.

I live at 3000 ft. so technically the altitude should not apply, and it doesn't in most things, but cookies? yikes.