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02/04/2013 09:21 am ET

How To Prevent Cookies From Spreading

Flickr: Zestbienbeautouza

Ah, chocolate chip cookies. What's not to love? They're gooey, warm, sweet and -- ahhh! They're all bleeding into one another to create a gigantic, seriously unappetizing-looking mess!

This has happened to the best of us at one point or another. There's no better mood-dampener than to have your much-anticipated cookie-fest interrupted by a baking error. Which is why we're here to help you fix it.

Of course, some cookies are best crispy and wafer-thin. But when you're expecting a soft and chewy cookie and what you get is a crumbly, spread-out mess, it's time to reassess your process. These tricks can help:

Use margarine
Butter melts at a lower temperature than margarine, so if you're struggling with spread-out cookies, try switching out butter for margarine as a quick fix.

Refrigerate the dough
If you're uncomfortable with using faux-butter, try refrigerating your cookie dough before baking it. This, of course, lowers the dough's temperature and means that it will warm up less slowly, thus disallowing quick spreading.

Don't grease the pan
Rather than greasing your pan, use a non-stick pan without grease. Grease causes spreading. Parchment paper also works, as an alternative to a non-stick pan.

We hope one of these methods will help you make the type of cookies you desire!

Do you have any handy cooking tips for frequent kitchen mistakes? Let us know in the comments!

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