Dry or Hard

Here are some helpful solutions for the common causes:

  • A different fat than what was called for in the recipe was used

    The texture of a cookie prepared with vegetable shortening will be different. If using shortening in place of butter or margarine, substitute equal amounts of shortening for butter or margarine. Then add 2 tablespoons water for each cup of shortening used.

  • Dough was overmixed

    When adding the flour, be careful not to overmix. (Don't mix too vigorously or too long – follow recipe directions.) Overmixing develops the gluten in the flour, which can produce tough cookies. If the recipe doesn't call for an electric mixer, mix in dry ingredients using a wooden spoon.

  • Ratio of dry ingredients to fats and liquids is too high
    • When dry ingredients like flour are "scooped" into the measuring cup directly from the container, it compresses, or becomes packed. So you will be adding more flour than called for in the recipe. Spoon flour from the container into the dry measuring cup and use a metal spatula or the flat side of a knife to level the flour even with the top of the cup.
    • Clear glass or plastic measuring cups with pouring lips and handles are used to measure liquids. For dry ingredients, always use a measuring cup that comes as a "nested" set (i.e. separate cups to measure 1/4, 1/3, 1/2 and 1 cup).
  • Too little fat was used or the vegetable oil spread contains less fat and more water than butter or margarine

    Check package to make sure the product you used contained at least 70% fat. Spreads with less fat – including diet "margarines" – contain more water, which affects the tenderness of cookies and other baked goods.

  • As altitude increases, liquids and even the moisture in foods evaporate faster
    • Sea level recipes for cookies may give acceptable, but different results at high altitudes. It is best to bake a test cookie to determine if different amounts of flour and/or liquid, or temperature changes are required.
    • Cookies may or may not need a 15 to 25°F temperature increase, depending on other ingredients used.
    • Substitute brown sugar for granulated sugar.
    • Be careful not to overmeasure dry ingredients or overbake the cookies. Learn more about High-Altitude Baking