I make a lot of cookies. A lot. And it’s taken me a while to figure out how to keep them from being flat. On the rare occasion when I get a flat — heh heh – I run through this mental checklist in my mind to figure out what I did wrong.
1. Baking Soda and/or Baking Powder - did I put the right amount in? If so, is it old? Nothing will make a cookie flat faster than expired leavener.
2. Flour - Unbleached flour will make your cookies flatter. I know, I know. I prefer to use unbleached flour too because it’s less processed. But the fact is, unbleached flour has a higher protein content. The protein ties up the liquid keeping it from turing to steam and puffing up the cookie. Bleached flour has less protein, which means puffier cookies. Cake flour also has less protein.
3. Butter- Fact: using all butter (vs. shortening) makes for tasty but flat cookies. That said, I personally won’t use shortening in my cookies. I just can’t stomach it. But if you can, you might do half shortening and half butter.
4. Beating/Creaming - a lot of recipes tell you to cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and airy. Don’t do that. The more air you incorporate while beating, the more the cookies will deflate after you take them out of the oven. Treat your cookies like you would your cakes…beating only until ingredients are incorporated.
5. Chilling the dough. It’s no secret that chilling your dough before baking makes for a fluffier cookie. But it works much better if you portion out your dough into balls, place it on the cookie sheet and chill the whole thing, including the cookie sheet (vs. chilling the whole bowl of dough and scooping before you bake).
6. Dough shape. You should always leave your dough in mounds or balls — don’t flatten them before baking. The higher you start, the higher your finished product.
Oh, and there is a secret ingredient to make your cookies thick and tender every time…it’s pudding mix! Just a few tablespoons makes a world of difference. My friend Jenny gives a perfect example here!
How do you keep your cookies from going flat?