My No Fail Sugar Cookies Failed

Baking By gscout73 Updated 7 Jan 2017 , 7:12pm by shannonann

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gscout73 Posted 16 Dec 2016 , 4:36am
post #1 of 14

I followed the recipe to the letter, but my cookies did not hold their shape. They spread and puffed up. Instead of defined cookies in holiday shapes, I ended up with this... The ones that looks like flowers are supposed to be snowflakes.

[postimage id="6009" thumb="900"]

13 replies
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Jackie Posted 16 Dec 2016 , 9:30am
post #2 of 14

I am curious.. What brand / kind of flour did you use, and how much baking powder?

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pastychef Posted 16 Dec 2016 , 3:23pm
post #3 of 14

Did you chill your cutouts before baking? Sugar cookie dough can be so weird. Sometimes incorporating more flour into the dough can help it hold shapes, but if you reroll the scraps (which picks up more flour everytime), they get slightly more blobby with each reroll. My recipe makes too much dough for me to work with at once, so I split it and work with one half a time so the other half can stay chilled. Cold dough at every stage seems to be the best best against the blobbing.

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gscout73 Posted 17 Dec 2016 , 1:00am
post #4 of 14

Thank you Jackie and pastychef for answering my call.

Jackie: I used Gold Medal all purpose flower and exactly the amount of baking powder called for 1/2 tsp

pastychef: I followed the recommendation to roll between wax paper and chill THAT, then cut the chilled dough and put on cookie sheet. For the 2nd and 3rd batches I even made sure the cookie sheet was cool by putting THAT in the freezer first.


At this moment I have the rest of the dough split in half and already rolled out and chilling in the fridge. I just want really pretty, defined cookies. If I wanted puffed/swelled cookies I'd get the pre-made dough roll or box mix.

I have enough ingredients to make more, but first I want to correct whatever is wrong.

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gscout73 Posted 17 Dec 2016 , 1:04am
post #5 of 14

Oh, and that round thing with the tiny hole is supposed to be the shape of a wreath.

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ypierce82 Posted 17 Dec 2016 , 1:05am
post #6 of 14

I always omit the baking powder so they don't puff or spread. When I used baking powder and they did puff, I used my fondant smoother to press them flat while they are still warm. I'm too impatient for chilling dough, so I never do that lol

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gscout73 Posted 17 Dec 2016 , 1:16am
post #7 of 14

Thank you, ypierce82, but the puff includes spreading, which is what made them loose their definition.

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gscout73 Posted 17 Dec 2016 , 1:17am
post #8 of 14

Also, I did not think that tiny amount in all that flower would make that much of a difference.

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gscout73 Posted 17 Dec 2016 , 3:40pm
post #9 of 14

Jackie, I've read the comments thread for this recipe, and I am wondering if I did not knead the dough sufficiently. How long should I knead it?

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Limpy Posted 18 Dec 2016 , 4:08pm
post #10 of 14

This is the ONLY cookie recipe that I use & it never fails. Tips:

- Use half butter & half (white) shortening.

-Omit baking powder to prevent spreading.

When making, I divide dough into four pieces. Put three pieces in the fridge while rolling out the fourth piece.

Each piece is rolled out between sheets of parchment paper, so no additional flour is used.

For perfect thickness every time, I use two paintsticks (clean, kept just for baking), that have been glued together with a gluegun (or use two rubber bands at each end). You will need four paintsticks (two for each side).

Place dough on parchment, sticks on either side, parchment on top. Roll. Sticks act as a guide so that rolling pin cannot go beneath sticks & you have the perfect thickness for all cookies. No extra flour needed, so no dry cookies. Place dough with parchment on cookie sheet in fridge to chill for 15 minutes. Take another portion of cookie dough & do the same till all dough has been rolled. Bake in 350F preheated oven. 3" cookies take 15 minutes. I always bake on parchment or on a Silpat (silicone sheet).

Let me know how it works.

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gscout73 Posted 19 Dec 2016 , 1:20am
post #11 of 14

Thank you, Limpy. I'll try it and let you know!!

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siftandwhisk Posted 7 Jan 2017 , 12:49am
post #12 of 14

im not a cutout cookie person, but I got it in my head to bake a chocolate thin mint for the holidays.  So I wanted a crisp, sharp edged cookie, that didn't spread an iota.  What I learned:

Leavening: ditch it

over-creaming: cream no higher than medium speed and mix until butter and sugar is just incorporated 

butter temperature: most recipes state room temperature.  There's no standard for room temperature.  Butter should be depress easily under gentle pressure, but not be consistency of thick mayonnaise. Too warm butter will spread dough.

Correct oven temperature: oven needs to be hot enough to set dough quickly.

thickness of dough: too thick and oven heat won't set dough fast enough

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gscout73 Posted 7 Jan 2017 , 3:00pm
post #13 of 14

Thank you, siftandwhisk. I'm going to try today. Your tips and Limpy are what I need. i'll post pics and let you know how they turn out.

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shannonann Posted 7 Jan 2017 , 7:12pm
post #14 of 14

I use the recipe from

It doesn't require any chilling and no flour for rolling out. It is a dream to work with and is delicious.

I make the dough. My 14 year old daughter rolls it out, cuts shapes and bakes. It has never failed for us. 

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