Even the best bakers sometimes run into trouble with their favorite cookie recipes! Here are some common problems and solutions for making your next batch perfect!


Cookies spread too much.

  • Place cookies on a cool baking sheet.
  • Replace part of the butter in the recipe with shortening.
  • If using margarine, check label and make sure it contains 80% vegetable oil.

Cookies don't spread enough.

  • Use all butter instead of shortening or margarine.
  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid such as milk or water.
  • Let dough stand at room temperature before baking.

Cookies are tough.

  • The dough was overhandled or overmixed; use a light touch when mixing.
  • Too much flour was worked into the dough.
  • Add 1 or 2 tablespoons more of shortening or butter or sugar.

Cookies are too brown.

  • Check oven temperature with an oven thermometer.
  • Use heavy-gauged, dull aluminum baking sheets. Dark baking sheets will cause the cookies to be overly brown.

Cookies are too pale.

  • Check oven temperature with an oven thermometer.
  • Use heavy-gauged, dull aluminum baking sheets. Insulated baking sheets cause cookies to be pale in color.
  • Use butter, not shortening or margarine.
  • Substitute 1 to 2 tablespoons corn syrup for the sugar.

Bars baked unevenly.

  • Spread batter evenly in pan.
  • Check to make sure oven rack is level.

Bars are overbaked.

  • Use pan size called for in recipe, too large a pan will cause batter to be thin and dry.
  • Check oven temperature with an oven thermometer.
  • Check 5 minutes sooner than the recommended baking time.

Bars are gummy.

  • Use pan size called for in recipe, too small a pan will cause batter to be thick and may be gummy or cake-like.

Bars are tough.

  • Stir in dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. Overmixing will cause the bars to be tough.

Crust is soggy.

  • Crust was not baked long enough before placing filling on top.

Crumb crust is too crumbly.

  • Cut in a little more butter so that the crust will stick together.

Brownies crumble when they are cut.

  • Cool completely before cutting. Use a sawing motion when cutting. Warm blade of knife in hot water, then dry and make a cut. Clean and rewarm knife after each cut.