Why a Cookie Does Not Spread
In order to get a perfectly shaped cookie, you’ll often want your cookies to spread out a little as they bake. If your dough isn’t spreading like you expect when it’s in the oven, consider the reasons why cookies don’t spread and make the necessary adjustments.
Dough Is Too Firm
Dough being too stiff to spread is a common problem. If you find yourself in this situation, chances are good that you’ve added too much flour to your dough. In order to fix this, try adding in some more liquid (milk, water, or softened butter) one tablespoon at a time until your dough is slightly looser.
Dough Is Too Cold
If your dough has been sitting in the fridge for too long, it may be too cold and firm to spread properly. Simply allow it to sit out for 30 to 60 minutes so it can return to room temperature. This should fix your problem.
Oven Is Not Hot Enough
Cookies spread while baking because the fats in the dough melt. If your oven isn’t set to a high enough temperature, this won’t happen. Make sure that your oven has preheated to the appropriate temperature before baking.
Butter Is Too Cold
Make sure to pay close attention to the ingredients listed in your cookie recipe. If it calls for softened butter, you don’t want to immediately remove the butter from the refrigerator and add it to your dough. Leave your butter out for about a half-hour before mixing it in the dough. If you’ve already added cold butter to your dough, then leave the dough out to sit until it reaches room temperature before baking it.