Too Much Butter In Cookies – What You Should Do
There are few things better than freshly baked cookies! But, sometimes we are so deep in our own thoughts that we completely lose focus on what we are doing!
And yes, we admit that there have been a few times that we have added a dollop or two too much butter to our cookie recipes.
Too much butter in cookies creates very flat, greasy, and just unappealing treats—not at all what you originally had in mind. And, even worse, they usually end up being a completely different texture to what you wanted.
Luckily, over the years we have accumulated a few techniques to help fix cookies with too much butter.
So, what should you do if there’s too much butter in your cookies? First, fix the ratios of other ingredients and simply make a larger batch of cookies. If you cannot do that, you can bake the cookies as is and chill them to prevent them from spreading too much.
In this article, we will be diving deep into the science behind fixing cookies with too much butter.
Not only will you better understand how butter functions in baked goods, but also understand how to fix the problems—that’s what good bakers are all about!
Function Of Butter In Cookies
Butter has a ton of functions in cookies—more than you might think! First and foremost, this fat contributes to nearly every element of a cookie including its texture, flavor, and overall appearance.
When it comes to appearance, butter helps give cookies their delicious golden brown color when the milk proteins inside start to brown in the heat of the oven.
Without butter, or with some other kind of substitute, you will be left with a bland-looking cookie that has very little color.
Furthermore, butter helps give cookies their structure in a couple of ways.
When butter is creamed along with sugar, it gets aerated. Once the cookie is baked, the air inside the butter is converted to steam. The steam expands the air pockets, and the cookie rises.
When this technique is used in conjunction with leavening agents like baking soda or baking powder, it creates very fluffy cookies with a lot of rise. Fluffy cookies usually mean soft as well, not crispy.
Butter naturally contains fat and moisture. Both these elements contribute to the gluten development in the flour.
For cookies, you generally want very little gluten to create crisper cookies. The more gluten you have, the chewier the cookie will be. Neither of these is bad or better, but bottom line is that butter has an effect on which one you get.
The fat helps coat the flour particles which prevent liquid from making contact with it. Liquid helps aid gluten development. So, by preventing it from helping, you will be left with less gluten and a crisper cookie.
Function Of Softened Butter In Cookies
Softened butter functions in a different way from cold butter. It has the perfect temperature to be aerated while also not melting as soon as it enters the oven.
This means your cookies will be able to hold their own shape when they are baked and not spread (fall flat) too much.
Soft butter also helps prevent gluten development which means your cookie will have a much finer texture like cake, and not like bread.
Function Of Melted Butter In Cookies
Melted butter helps give cookies a very chewy texture. Melted butter helps create softer doughs because it is in a liquid form. This liquid actually aids the gluten formation in the flour which contributes to the chewy texture.
And, if you need flat and crisp cookies, bake the dough immediately after it has been mixed. Do not allow the dough to rest or place it in the fridge, because the butter will start solidifying again and give the dough more structure.
What Happens To Cookies With Too Much Butter
So, hopefully, you have noticed that you added too much butter before mixing the entire dough together.
If not, you will see quite a change in the final outcome of your cookies. Here are some obvious signs that your recipe has way too much butter!
Remember, all of these signs should be compared to what the actual cookies should be (according to the recipe).
- Flat cookies. While flat cookies can be the result of many things, an excess amount of butter can be one of the reasons. Butter makes a soft dough that is much more prone to spreading.
- Extremely chewy cookies (when the recipe isn’t meant to make chewy cookies). This is because of the liquid content in the butter. Moisture helps develop gluten and gluten helps make chewy cookies.
- Oily cookies are never good – no matter what anyone says! There is a massive difference between moist and straight-up greasy cookies. An excess amount of butter will naturally make cookies greasy and change the flavor and mouthfeel of the cookies too. This will also ultimately affect the shelf life of the cookies, shortening them by quite a lot.
How To Fix Cookies With Too Much Butter
Unfortunately, while there are many ways you can fix this problem, they aren’t all easy and straightforward. And, even worse, you can’t fix it once the cookies have been baked.
The best and arguably the only time to properly fix a cookie dough with too much butter is when you are creaming the butter and sugar (or any step where you haven’t fully made the dough yet).
Make More Cookies
Your best option would be to adjust the quantities of the other ingredients—every one of them! Once the butter has been incorporated into your dough, it will never come out! So, the simple solution is to make more cookies!
Let’s say that you have added about 50% more butter than you should have. Then, all you have to do is add about 50% more of the rest of the ingredients too!
If you accidentally used twice the amount of butter called for, just double the rest of the ingredients in the recipe.
Luckily, with butter and cookies, the butter is often first creamed with sugar. So it is extremely easy to fix this problem before it becomes a bigger problem!
Chill The Cookie Dough
So, this fix sort of goes in conjunction with the above-mentioned method, but it is entirely optional. You don’t have to alter the quantity of the ingredients and you can use the dough as-is.
But, by simply chilling the cookie dough in the fridge for 1-2 hours, the butter will become more solid and will help prevent the cookie dough from spreading much less.
You can also use cold cooking sheets instead of warm ones. This will keep the base of the cookie in place for longer which will help the structure set before it starts spreading.
Bake The Cookies A Little Longer
Seeing as the cookies will be relatively flat and thin, you still want them to be fully cooked. And, to be honest, we are way past the point of having soft AND fully cooked cookies.
So, you can ensure that they are still fully cooked by baking them for another 5 minutes or so. This will definitely leave you with crispy cookies, but they will be equally delicious and get rid of some of the oiliness.
One thing to be mindful of is the oven temperature. While you want crispy cookies, you don’t want burnt ones! If you have to, lower the oven temperature slightly and continue baking them.
Some cookie doughs won’t crisp up in the oven and only become hard once cooled. For these, it is often difficult to decide exactly when to remove them.
Bake Them As They Are
Finally, it might be helpful to just bake the cookies as they are! If it’s not too much butter, it’ll only affect the textural outcome, but they’ll still be perfectly edible!
You will definitely have flatter cookies. This is because there is essentially more liquid present (even if you didn’t use melted butter) and you will have a softer dough. A softer dough has less structure and will definitely not rise.
But, flat cookies aren’t necessarily the end of the world! They are much better than no cookies at all!
Now that we’ve gone over what to do if you’ve added too much butter to your cookie dough, let’s take a look at a few related questions on the subject!
Can I only add flour to make the dough thicker?
By only adding flour to your cookie dough, you will change the consistency. This doesn’t fix the problem you are dealing with and you are actually creating more problems.
Baking is a science and if you don’t use the ingredients in the correct ratios, you are just going to end up with a mess. By only adding more flour, you could possibly just create an extremely hard, dense, and flavorless cookie.
Can you fix the greasiness of cookies that has too much butter in them?
If you have a cookie that is super greasy, the best bet is to dab it with some paper towels after it’s done baking. This won’t affect the texture of your cookie in any way, only remove the grease.
Trying to remove greasiness before the cookies are baked is very difficult and requires the addition of binding ingredients like eggs or flour. But again, this is difficult to do and you may end up causing worse changes.
Does too much butter create sticky cookies?
Too much butter does not make sticky cookies or sticky cookie dough. Stickiness in cookies usually has something to do with the sugar inside the cookie and how it dissolved (if it even did).