Dough is the heart of your cookies, and when done well it will have a positive effect on how your final cookies turn out. Any problems with the dough can result in cookies that are, for example, too dry, flat or hard. In other cases, the flaws present themselves before the dough even reaches the oven, as they make handling and baking difficult. Fortunately, there are fixes for these dough problems.
Things You'll Need
The Dough Is Too Sticky
Place the dough in large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
Set the bowl in your refrigerator and leave it to chill for up to one hour.
Remove the dough and empty it onto a work surface that is lightly dusted with flour.
Dust the surface of the dough lightly with flour if it still sticks to your hands or the rolling pin.
The Dough Is Too Soft and Is Spreading
Place the dough into a large bowl and cover it with plastic wrap.
Set the dough in your refrigerator and let it chill for one hour before attempting to handle it again.
Add more flour, 1 tbsp. at a time, if the dough is still soft.
Knead the added flour into the dough until it reaches the desired firmness.
Overly Dry and Crumbly Dough
Dampen a cloth with lukewarm water.
Place the cloth over the dough and let it sit for 30 minutes.
Add 1 tbsp. of milk if the dough is still overly dry. Knead it into the dough using your hands.
Add more milk, 1 tbsp. at a time, until the dough is manageable and no longer crumbles.
Dough Falls Apart when Transferred to Cookie Sheet
Roll the dough directly on the cookie sheet instead of your normal working surface.
Place the cookie sheet with the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 20 to 30 minutes.
Remove the cookie sheet from the refrigerator and use your cookie cutters to cut out your shapes.
Lift the cookie cut-outs from the chilled cookie sheet with a spatula and transfer them to a new cookie sheet before putting them in the oven to bake.
References and ResourcesLand O'Lakes: Cookie FAQ - How to Bake Cookies
Cutco Cutlery: Cooking Tips - Cookies
Good Housekeeping: Troubleshooting Your Cookie Problems
"How to Repair Food, Third Edition"; Tanya Zeryck, et al; 2010