My dough spreading in the oven is the hurdle that I am currently trying to overcome.
Have you seen photos of cookies on the web that are absolutely perfect in shape? Perfect, square sides. Crisp, clean shapes. Flat, gorgeous tops. How I ask you? Actually I asked the experts. Here's what they say . . .
Chill the shapes before baking.
Don't overcrowd the cookie sheet.
Check your oven's temperature to be sure it's accurate.
Don't over do re-rolling. (Some say that the cookies made later, re-rolled from scraps, tend to spread more.)
Don't over beat the butter/sugar. Mix just until incorporated.
Use less baking powder.
Add more flour if the dough is sticky.
Let the dough rest for a few minutes after mixing and before rolling.
Use quality butter with less water in it.
Use the proper pans - heavy, metal (not dark or nonstick).
Sometimes my dough spreads more than other times. I'm determined to find out what it is that's causing the problem.
These cookies actually didn't spread very much. I made these same flowers the other night and they came out nothing like this. Way more spreading!
Notice how much these spread! Oy! Wonky squares. (More on these cookies here.)
Stay tuned for a little ol' experiment!
Edit: I ran the experiment. You can see it here.
And a follow-up post here.