Difficulty Achieving Perfectly Shaped Cookies

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Every time I attempt to bake cookies, I face a consistent issue my cookies never maintain their intended shape. I meticulously follow recipes, measure ingredients accurately and yet, my cookies tend to spread out too much while baking, resulting in thin, misshapen treats. I've experimented with various methods to combat this problem. I've adjusted oven temperatures, tried chilling the dough for longer periods and even tested different types of baking sheets, but none of these approaches seem to make a significant difference.

I've scoured the internet for tips and tricks, but I'm still struggling. It's disheartening to put effort into creating beautiful cookies only to have them turn out unattractive and inconsistent in shape. I'm reaching out to this forum in hopes that someone might have experienced a similar issue or possesses expert knowledge that could guide me toward baking cookies that retain their intended shape, edges and thickness.

I'd appreciate any advice, techniques, or specific steps that successful bakers follow to achieve perfectly shaped cookies. Thank you in advance for your help!
 
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its the recipe, certain recipes are formulated to maintain shape in the oven.
scottish shortbread holds its shape well,
vs anything with baking powder or soda will flow out of puff up.
 
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If you are making cookies with a cookie scoop, make sure the scoop is PACKED tightly. Over fill the scoop, then drag it against the side of your bowl 2-3 times to make sure it's really jammed into the scoop, no gaps. I have also found that you need to know what weights of ingredients, particularly the flour, the recipe author uses. Some recipe authors vary the weight of their cups of flour from 4.25 ounce to 5 ounces per cup. Yeah, I'm old, I don't know metric, LOL, I still think in ounces. The amount of flour in your recipe will make a big difference in the outcome.
 
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If you are making cookies with a cookie scoop, make sure the scoop is PACKED tightly. Over fill the scoop, then drag it against the side of your bowl 2-3 times to make sure it's really jammed into the scoop, no gaps. I have also found that you need to know what weights of ingredients, particularly the flour, the recipe author uses. Some recipe authors vary the weight of their cups of flour from 4.25 ounce to 5 ounces per cup. Yeah, I'm old, I don't know metric, LOL, I still think in ounces. The amount of flour in your recipe will make a big difference in the outcome.
I'm going metric , inch by inch.
 
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Every time I attempt to bake cookies, I face a consistent issue my cookies never maintain their intended shape. I meticulously follow recipes, measure ingredients accurately and yet, my cookies tend to spread out too much while baking, resulting in thin, misshapen treats. I've experimented with various methods to combat this problem. I've adjusted oven temperatures, tried chilling the dough for longer periods and even tested different types of baking sheets, but none of these approaches seem to make a significant difference.

I've scoured the internet for tips and tricks, but I'm still struggling. It's disheartening to put effort into creating beautiful cookies only to have them turn out unattractive and inconsistent in shape. I'm reaching out to this forum in hopes that someone might have experienced a similar issue or possesses expert knowledge that could guide me toward baking cookies that retain their intended shape, edges and thickness.

I'd appreciate any advice, techniques, or specific steps that successful bakers follow to achieve perfectly shaped cookies. Thank you in advance for your help!

If you are getting thin mis-shapened cookies, most likely it's a creaming issue.

Butter temperature is key to a properly mixed dough/batter. Recipes incorrectly state “room temperature” butter. Butter should be 65°F/18°C. Beating causes friction. Friction creates heat. Creaming butter and sugar is a form of mechanical leavening. To trap the air bubbles and rise properly, butter must retain some plasticity. When butter is too warm, it loses it plasticity.

The melting point of butter 92°F. If the butter is too warm after mixing the dough, it will reach the melting point to quickly and throw off the timing of the chemical reactions necessary to build and set the structure of the dough.

Butter is an emulsion of fat and water; butter separates just above it melting point temperature.

The water heats, then turns to steam.

The steam expands the dough.

Around 122°F (50°C) starch gelatinization begins.

At 144°F (60°C) protein denaturation begins.

Starch gelatinization and protein denaturation are key to rise, spread, and setting the cookie dough.

Temperature of cookie dough after mixing should not exceed 68°F/20°C.

Chilling the dough after mixing will not fix over-creamed butter. So it’s important to cream butter that is 65°F or cooler. I cream butter straight out of the refrigerator. You just need to learn what properly creamed butter looks like.

Keep chilling dough after mixing. Resting the dough allows the flour to hydrate.

Type and amount of sugar is also important. Granulated sugar creates more spread, a thinner, crispier cookie. Brown sugar creates a thicker chewier cookie. So when using both types, slightly more brown sugar to granulated sugar will help control the spread for a more uniform cookie.

Sugar is hydroscopic, meaning it absorbs water from its environment. The higher the sugar-to-flour ratio, the more water the dough will absorb from ingredients (eggs, brown sugar) with water and from the air. More water creates a weaker dough. Weaker dough has a weaker structure.

To ensure good strength of the cookie dough the sugar should be equal or just slightly more to the weight of the flour. I find 100% - 105% sugar weight to flour works best.

Weigh each dough ball for consistency. A 35g dough ball is the minimum size for a 2 1/2” cookie. For a 4” bakery size cookie, I use 75g.

After forming dough balls, chill for a good 20 min before baking.

Do not grease baking sheet. Use parchment paper.

If a cookie still bakes up misshapen, round out the cookie edges. As soon as the cookies comes out of the oven, place a cup or small prep bowl over the cookie, then circle the cup around the cookie to round it out. This has to be done when the cookie is still very hot as the edge will set within a minute of cooling.
 

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