I get lots and lots of questions about baking issues. There is nothing more frustrating than putting in effort to bake something and it doesn't turn out as you expected. Today we will tackle cookie baking issues. I've created a chart to help with all the possible causes of the misbehaving cookies. Just look on the left side for the problem and then the right side for potential solution. Always make sure your oven is calibrated correctly and keep a thermometer inside the oven to double check the cooking temperature accuracy.
Also, I thought it might help to know what the essential cookie ingredients do in the baking process:
Butter/margarine - The more butter that is in the cookie the crispier it is, so if you like a puffy cookie, use a lower butter ratio recipe.
Flour - Also, impacts how a cookie spreads. Only use all-purpose flour in cookies (high-gluten flour and cake flour do not let the cookies spread well enough)
Baking Powder and Baking Soda - Both are leavening agents. Baking soda helps the browning process.
Sugar - Sweetens and thins cookies because sugar melts in the oven. White sugar makes thinner cookies than brown sugar or honey. Brown sugar cookies maintain moisture after baking and tend to be chewier and white sugar cookies are crispier.
Eggs - Binding