I've been using the recipes in the book Cookie Craft. I love the taste of the chocolate and the sugar cookies. I don't really have a problem with spreading on normal sized cookies, but I've been doing postcard cookies and the cutter I use is quite large (about a 5 x 3 inch rectangle). These rectangles never hold their shape in the oven and come out usually fatter in the middle and uneven on the sides. I am making sure to completely chill the dough after I roll it out. I roll it to 1/4 thick between two pieces of parchment paper, pop it in the freezer for about 5-10 minutes, cut them out, place them on the cookie sheet, and sometimes if they've warmed up a bit I'll put them back in the freezer or in the fridge on the baking sheet to firm up again before popping them in the oven. Is there any way to keep them from spreading and to maintain the crisp straight shape of the rectangle? TIA!
One thing that normally do is cut out the baking powder/soda from the recipe. They are leavening agents and cause the cookie to puff or spread. This weekend I used them and my cookies did puff and spread. I then turned down my oven from the recommended temp and they came out great.
I have the same thing happen to me on anything that is square or rectangular - even though I don't consider slight spreading a problem on most cookie shapes, squares always have that slight bulge. I still haven't done it, but I was considering curving the sides of my cutter inward on all four sides to see if that would compensate for the spread and give me a straight edge on the baked cookie. Maybe you could try that, or maybe someone else has some better advice for us both!! Good luck and happy baking!
How funny, I have used the NFSC recipe from here, which has great shape but tastes - eh....so I used a different one that called for no leavening at all and they spread like mad! What the heck?
I was going to try and combine the two recipes and see if I could find a good middle ground. Curved the sides in is a great idea, I might have to try it!
The recipes I've used don't have any leavening agents at all. I've done pretty intrictate snowflakes and other shapes that have some detail in them and those all come out just fine. Like SweetDreams said, it seems to be the square and rectangle shapes that bulge and distort in the middle. That's a good idea about curving in the sides of the cutter and seeing if that will work for the bulge. I think I'll have my hubby make me an experimental rectangle cutter tonight with slightly curved sides and see if that makes a difference. If it does, I'll be sure to let you know!
The reason I ask is because I bought some vintage santa postcard wafer paper designs (I'm sure you've seen them) and in the pictures on the website, their cookies are so crisp and clean lines. I did some Halloween ones and while everyone oohed and ahhed over them, the fact that they weren't perfectly straight drove me crazy. No one noticed, but I did and I wanted to try to do better ones for Christmas.
Brilliant idea, SweetDreamsAT!
Oh! I just made a batch of NFSC last night for the very first time....love it, however....the baking powder taste. Can I omit/cut down this stuff without it affecting the cookie shape or anything else?
You sure can.
when I make the nfsc I completely omit the baking powder and halve the butter and use shortening instead and they keep their shape perfectly, oh and I add a little extra sugar too.
I always omit completely the baking powder in the NFSC recipe. First of all, because it makes the cookie spread when baking, and second because I hate the taste of baking powder. The NFSC recipe works fine without it...
Oh thanks a lot! Whew...no more baking powder for me then!
I use a shortbread recipe with no leavening. One thing that helps me with spreading is to beat the butter only long enough to get it creamy. If I beat it to light and fluffy I get horrible spread. Id also be interested to hear if anyone has a foolproof suggestion for the rectangles and squares. I wonder if you could get a bunch of rectangle cookie cutters and cut the cookies but leave them in the cutters to bake? Then the tops would probably be too puffy. Yikes.
Thanks for all the info on the NFSC.