ebwmom Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 6:32am
post #1 of

I have made two batches of sugar cookies today, one with margarine and the other 1/2 margarine and 1/2 butter and they both spread so much while baking. My recipe has sour cream in it but I still use a lot of flour. I even freeze the cut out cookie dough 15-20 minutes before I bake it. Any suggestions please let me know.
Thanks, Ruth

24 replies
Bluehue Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 6:41am
post #2 of

icon_sad.gif Sorry that happened to you.
I really don't have *the* answer as to why - but might it be the sour cream ?

I use the NFSC recipe - and am thirlled with how it never runs/spreads.
Have never been happier since finding it on here.
After i have cut the shapes out i just pop them in the fridge for 5 minutes and then straight into the prepped oven.

Are you able to post the entire recipe - so as we can see what other ingrediants are in the mix....maybe then someone will be able to gauge why this happens to your cookies.


Bluehue. icon_smile.gif

JanH Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 6:44am
post #3 of

Your all butter and half butter/margarine recipes are identical since margarine has the same amount of water content as butter) so the results were the same.

Have you tried the No Fail Sugar Cookie recipe on CC:
(Uses all butter, but doesn't spread.)

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake_recipe-2055-0-No-Fail-Sugar-Cookies.html

HTH

liv6 Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 6:47am
post #4 of

I just started school for baking but according to my course book these are the reasons for spreading too much.
Baking temp too low
Not enough flour
Too much sugar
Too much leavening(chemical leaveners or creaming)
Not enough liquid
Pans greased too much

Hope that helps

ebwmom Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 6:50am
post #5 of

here is the recipe I used
2 cups margarine
3 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teasp vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teasp salt
2 teas baking powder
1 teas baking soda
8 cups flour

I usually cut them about 1/4 inch thick. I really like recipe because they stay soft but maybe I will try NFSC and see how that works.

ebwmom Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 6:58am
post #6 of

JanH- would it be best to try all butter next time?

Liv6- I bake at 375 but sometimes I add 1/2 cup more sugar, do you think that is to much? What if I left out the soda?

thanks for the tips and I may play around with things when i get more time.
Ruth

Bluehue Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 7:18am
post #7 of

Just a note -
When i started baking *seriously i went and checked out all the butters at my local supermarket - and i was icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif at the ammount of water in them and how that ammount varied from Brand to Brand.
Then i found a Brand that has NO WATER - mind you it costs about AUS$1.50 more per 250 grams.
But when i bake for customers - i use that and calculate that into my end cost.

Have you ever looked at the water content on your butter/margarine wrapping?

Just thought i might mention it -
Some people don't even realise that some butters have alot of water included in teh end product.
Perhaps it is different where you come from - *shrugs*
Don't mean to sound bossy icon_redface.gif just a little snippet of info.

Bluehue icon_smile.gif

ebwmom Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 7:26am
post #8 of

Bluehue-
Thanks for the info. I never thought about checking for water content and this is going to make me sound like a total idiot but where does it tell me how much water is in the butter? No you are so not bossy, I need all the help I can get.

JanH Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 7:28am
post #9 of

It doesn't make any difference if you use all butter, margarine or a combination of butter and margarine - the amount of fat and water is exactly the same.

Using shortening which has is 100% fat (no water content) and has a higher melting point than butter/margarine would decrease the amount of spread, but the flavor & mouthfeel wouldn't be the same.

Science of Cookies:
(Lots of great info with lots of hints and tips.)

http://www.post-gazette.com/food/20011129cookies1129fnp1.asp

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Cookie/CookieTips.htm

http://www.cookies-in-motion.com/Baking.html

http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/questions-about-making-cookies.htm/printable

HTH

Bluehue Posted 10 Apr 2009 , 7:57am
Quote:
Originally Posted by ebwmom

Bluehue-
Thanks for the info. I never thought about checking for water content and this is going to make me sound like a total idiot but where does it tell me how much water is in the butter? No you are so not bossy, I need all the help I can get.




Over here in Ausatralia it is law that every food product has Every ingrediant listed on the packaging...along with quantities and all numbers relating to food colourings.
A few years ago they also passed a law stating whether anything contains nuts & eggs - due to people having allergies.
Our butters are either wrapped in a grease proof paper or foil.
Come in blocks of either 250 grams or 500 grams - and the list of ingrediants are printed clearly on the side...post a link for an example
http://images.google.com.au/images?hl=en&q=western%20star%20butter&cr=countryAU&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi

Margarines and butter/margarine blends come in plastic tubs - as do butter/olive oil blends.

The taste is also differant when there is no water content -
Something so small and insignificant can make such a differance.
Don't know if you have ingrediants listed on all your food stuffs - or whether it is law or not -
Googling might assist you if it isn't listed

Bluehue. icon_smile.gif

JanH Posted 11 Apr 2009 , 8:07am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluehue

Just a note -
When i started baking *seriously i went and checked out all the butters at my local supermarket - and i was icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gif at the ammount of water in them and how that ammount varied from Brand to Brand.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ebwmom

Bluehue-
Thanks for the info. I never thought about checking for water content and this is going to make me sound like a total idiot but where does it tell me how much water is in the butter?




The production of butter in the United States is standardized according to USDA guidelines so that the fat content can be no less than 80%. icon_smile.gif

Eveything you ever wanted to know about butter and margarine:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter

U.S. standards for grades of butter:

http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004470

Difference between butter and margarine:

http://www.ochef.com/864.htm

Found a composition breakdown of Australian butter:

http://tinyurl.com/cbv6xt

The fat and water components don't appear to be significantly different than the composition breakdown for American butter:

http://tinyurl.com/ceut8s

HTH

sweeteecakes Posted 13 Apr 2009 , 8:33pm

Have you tried baking without the baking powder & soda?

ebwmom Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 12:49am

sweeteecakes,
I never thought about leaving out the baking powder a
& soda. I always thought you needed those when you baked something.

Twopeasinapod Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 6:47pm

I had trouble with my cookies spreading too much and I was using the NFSC recipe. I cut the baking powder back by half and it works beautiful now! I think that can make a big difference. My cookies were spreading so much before I did this that some of the shapes were nearly unrecognizable. Hope this helps! icon_smile.gif

sweeteecakes Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 6:58pm

I don't use any baking powder or baking soda at all. I cut them both. They are both leavening agents which are used to help baked goods rise. My cookies taste the same without them.

countygirl28 Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 8:47pm

I too use the NFSC recipe from here. It truly is a "no fail" recipe IMO. icon_wink.gif I didn't realize that you could use less baking powder in them. Does this make a difference in the way they turn out?

drakegore Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 9:15pm

i use the cookie craft recipe and it has no baking powder in it at all. the only leavening it gets is from creaming (and i am careful not to overcream because that can cause spreading) and they rise beautifully with a nice flat surface for decorating. refridgerate for 15 minutes, bake at 350 for about 12 minutes and they keep their shape.

diane

Twopeasinapod Posted 14 Apr 2009 , 10:05pm

Yes, I think that too much baking powder can make a difference in the cookie. Once I cut down the amount in the NFSC, my cookies keep their shape and rise also. I am much happier with the outcome since I have cut the baking powder in half. I have never thought of just totally leaving it out. Haven't tried that!

khufstetler Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 8:07pm

Okay - HERE is a NFSC question...

Say you:

(possibly could have) overcreamed AND (definitely) used the whole amount of baking powder.

Say you:

ALREADY have EIGHT batches of dough frozen in rolled out sheets.

Say you:

have to have all these cookies ready by 10am Saturday morning.

Say you:

made a test sheet of them and they spread like crazy at a 30 minute pre-heated oven at 350.


Anybody have any suggestions on how to stop the spreading from here on out?

My cookie sheets were cold, used parchment and only had six cookies on the sheet.

OMG. Out of the hundreds of dozens of cookies I have made, I've never had this happen before. I thought maybe my baking powder was bad or something. Can someone help me? I don't want to make a whole new eight batches of dough. No I don't. icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif

mija10417 Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 8:22pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by khufstetler

Okay - HERE is a NFSC question...

Say you:

(possibly could have) overcreamed AND (definitely) used the whole amount of baking powder.

Say you:

ALREADY have EIGHT batches of dough frozen in rolled out sheets.

Say you:

have to have all these cookies ready by 10am Saturday morning.

Say you:

made a test sheet of them and they spread like crazy at a 30 minute pre-heated oven at 350.


Anybody have any suggestions on how to stop the spreading from here on out?

My cookie sheets were cold, used parchment and only had six cookies on the sheet.

OMG. Out of the hundreds of dozens of cookies I have made, I've never had this happen before. I thought maybe my baking powder was bad or something. Can someone help me? I don't want to make a whole new eight batches of dough. No I don't. icon_cry.gificon_cry.gificon_cry.gif





Not sure how your oven is, but I know my oven has to be preheated for AT LEAST 45min for my cookies not to spread. If I don't give it enough time, the first two or three batches will spread on me.

Also, I remember someone posting that the dough should be cold but not the cookie sheets you put into the oven. They should be at room temperature. I chill them on one cookie sheet and then just tranfer them to a room temp one for the oven.

crislen Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 8:25pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by liv6

I just started school for baking but according to my course book these are the reasons for spreading too much.
Baking temp too low
Not enough flour
Too much sugar
Too much leavening(chemical leaveners or creaming)
Not enough liquid
Pans greased too much

Hope that helps




I use that exact same recipe - but I'm not too particular on spreading since I know that this recipe tends to spread, I've never had it not spread at least a little.

However, I find that the more you work (cream, kneed, rework scraps etc.) the dough for that recipe, the more it spreads and possible bubbles. I also make sure I use all 8 cups of flour. Maybe try making sure you work the dough as little as possible and cut down on the sugar and up the flour?

It is possible you might want to cut back on the sugar a bit and be really careful

TracyLH Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 8:46pm

I currently use a recipe very similar to the NFSC, except that I use 1/2 cup less of sugar and use 1 tablespoon of pure vanilla extract and only 1/4 tsp of baking powder. I may play with upping the sugar back to 2 cups, but this recipe has worked for me as long as I don't overcream the butter and once I add the dry ingredients, I mix it only to the point where it comes together and then pull it out of the mixer and knead it a few times by hand.

Khufstetler - Oh, my gosh. I am am so sorry icon_sad.gif , but that doesn't do you any good. I hope someone has the magic answer for you. Mija has covered the preheating issue and the importance that the dough is cold after cutting out. Hopefully that will help. Did you try a few of them without parchment? I think I am just grabbing at the wind there.

PinkZiab Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 9:04pm

I haven't read all fo the responses because my display is all screwy, so forgive me if this is a repeat, but the best tip I can give you to limit spread is to roll and cut your cookies, then put the ENTIRE baking tray into your refrigerator until the dough is very well chilled. This will make the fat (butter/margarine/whatever) nice and firm, and will limit the spread you get when you place them int he oven, vs putting room temp dough in the oven, where the fat is already softened, it will then melt quicker, and your cookies will spread more. It also helps to give you a more tender cookie when you allow the dough to rest after rolling (it allows the gluten time to relax).

TracyLH Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 10:53am

PinkZiab - Well, I learn something new every day! I chill my dough after rolling, but was not aware of the gluten issue. Thanks for enlightening me! How long do you recommend letting it rest? Thanks for your expertise!

khufstetler Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:44pm

THanks for the suggestions!

I over cream the butter and sugar - I know I do. I try really hard to limit the mixing time once I add in the dry ingredients though.

I put my dough in the fridge for a bit before rolling, not too long - then I roll out and put sheets in freezer until frozen, cut shapes and put BACk in freezer for a bit and then they go directly to oven. Like I said, I have never really had that much spreading at all.

I use MMF, so it is important not to spread.

What I did with some of these I'm worried about, was cut the MMF out of a cutter one size bigger than the cookie size cutter. I put the MMF on straight out of the oven, I like the way it melts onto the cookie. And it tastes wonderful that way. Worked for one batch. Now to figure out what to do with the other 80 dozen icon_surprised.gif



*you know, I don't have time to post often - or to post pics for that matter, but I want you folks to know that if I ever have a question or an idea - I come straight here. You people are, in my opinion - experts in this field and I owe any success I have to this site* THANK YOU SO MUCH

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%