Determined to have those yummy cookies once again, K braved the recipe once more, even chilling the dough in the refrigerator before baking-- only to yield the same spread-out, flat and crispy cookies. How frustrating! I decided to make those cookies and see what happens.
Oh, guess what?! I had the same problem! My instinct was that the butter was too warm. With the weather warming up, the butter came to "room temperature" much faster than before and I must admit the butter seemed a tad too warm when I used it. Room-temperature butter means you should be able to make an impression in the butter with your finger, but the impression should not stay. This, and more tips for successful baking can be found here, a very useful resource!
I also looked into Shirley O. Corriher's BakeWise and these are her suggestions for less spread in cookies:
- decrease the amount of fat
- use an egg for liquid
- use cake flour (which is higher in moisture)
- increase the amount of flour
- cut the sugar by a few tablespoons
- switch from baking powder to baking soda
- use unsweetened chocolate
- use regular cocoa
- use cold ingredients or chill dough before going into the oven (the cookies, not you!)
I hope this information proves useful! It makes me really unhappy when a recipe does not turn out, especially when you are salivating after a cookie you knew you would enjoy. I hope these tips can avert many disappointments.