Why are my sugar cookies spreading?
Why are my sugar cookies spreading? I see this question at least 20 times a day. There are actually quite a few different answers to this question, but there are also quite a few ways to fix the problem!
I will start by saying that these problems are the ones I see most often and why I developed my sugar cookie recipes the way I did. The technique in which I make my dough contributes to the way it behaves. I specialize in no chill and no spread. I understand that you can chill or freeze your dough and use other recipes and not have spreading. I wanted to make a way to cut out that extra step. As a mother and business owner I try to find the fastest (while also reliable) way to get things done. I’m sharing all my secrets and techniques with you to help you be as successful as possible! All of my sugar cookie recipes can be found HERE!
- Baking on silicone mats vs parchment paper– I do find that when baking sugar cookies on silicone baking mats they spread. The silicone tends to let the butter pool on it, and that will contribute to the dough spreading. Parchment paper on the other hand, will absorb a bit of the butter and grip the dough better.
- Beating the butter and sugar before adding the other ingredients– When you beat your butter and sugar together, this incorporates little air bubbles into the mixture. Once you add the other ingredients and bake your cookies, these air bubbles expand and cause the cookies to spread while baking.
- Adding baking powder– It’s literally the job of baking powder to produce air while baking. Again, this will cause spreading while your sugar cookies are baking. I don’t use it in any of my sugar cookie recipes.
- Weighing your ingredients– Baking anything is science. It’s a precise procedure to get the optimal results. I give weights with all of my baking recipes. I know there are plenty of online weight converters, however, they do differ from one another. The weights I give are my exact weights. If you follow my weights, you’re going to get the same results I get. We all measure ingredients differently. The weight that I get when measuring 1 cup of flour will be different from anyone else. When I’m developing a recipe I record the specific weight of everything I used. This way I know that anyone else that used those same measurements will be able to get the same results that I did.
- Using an oven thermometer– Why does this play a role in your cookies spreading? If your oven temperature is off in either direction, it will change the way your cookies bake. If it’s too low they’ll take longer to bake and end up with a different texture than you wanted. If it’s too high, they can spread more and turn out browned and crunchy or even still raw in the middle.
- Following the directions given for that specific recipe– Surely this doesn’t contribute to sugar cookies spreading, right?! It actually does! The main reason I have such detailed directions and pictures in my recipes is because I have such specific techniques that I’ve developed for the best results. So many times I get a question about why a recipe didn’t turn out and the culprit 85% of the time is that the directions weren’t followed. Every time I say this I think of one of my favorite movies “Ratatouille”. When Colette is teaching Linguini and he misinterprets her and writes “always do something unexpected…”, and she shouts back at him “NO! Follow the recipe!!”. Haha, this is always how I feel about baking especially.
With all that said, have fun and don’t be intimidated to bake your day delicious!! As always, if you have any questions or a problem I missed, comment and let me know! I will happily help you troubleshoot your problem and fix it! 🙂