If there is anything that I have learned along the way in my royal icing sugar cookie'ing journey, it is that everyone has various theories and ideas of and problematic occurrences.
For nearly three solid years after perfecting my sugar cookie recipe, my oven faithfully baked beautiful shapes with zero spread and then one day all went south. So what happened?
Honestly I do not fully know. However, I am here to provide you with what I did to re-perfect my process and recipe in hopes of helping you!
1. BUTTER - For years I faithfully used Costco Kirkland brand butter. Suddenly my cookies began spreading on the edges. I know only use Land O Lakes butter. I toyed around once going back to Costco and my cookies instantly spread again on the edges. Costco Kirkland butter is known to have a higher water content. Now keep in mind I live in a very high altitude, dry environment, however, be aware of the water content your butter holds and really invest in a high quality butter. Everyone claims vanilla bean is the high cost of the cookie. As an accountant for years, I actually broke down my cookie costs to the pennies, and it was actually the butter that holds the greatest cost in each cookie for me! Also, I always use cold butter straight out of the fridge.
2. OVEN - I happen to have a pretty nice (although older) oven that operates both as convection and conventional. To be honest, I hate it. I really do not feel it works well as both although I do know some that love theirs. I even went through various tips of placing a pizza oven platter at the base of my oven to balance the heat and monitoring the temperature with an in-oven gauge. I ultimately opted to ditch it for purposes of my business, and purchased a really well priced convection oven for my cookie office. It took a minute to perfect, but has truly become one of my most reliable and favorite cookie tools. Read more about it HERE.
3. SUGAR - I modified my sugar cookie recipe to really focus in on the sugar content vs. the butter content. Too much sugar will flatten your cookie. I know many claim that using solely powdered sugar creates a simple no-fail/no-spread sugar cookie, however, I personally find that method completely creates a dry tasting sugar cookie. I feel I really have found a beautiful taste in my recipe, and the balance of ingredients help you create that no chill/no fail sugar cookie recipe. Find it for free HERE.
4. FLOUR - I am not entirely sure how much my flour really plays into the chance of spread, although I am a firm believer in a great quality mix for the end results in my recipe. You can make your own pastry flour very simply. Find my favorite ingredients I use to make the perfect sugar cookie HERE.
I hope some of these insights and tips help you solve any spread issues you are having. Feel free to comment below as well in regards to your experiences.