Butter makes cookies spread if the dough is too soft before baking. Not having the butter at the right consistency when making the dough. The dough should be soft enough to allow you to poke an indentation with your finger, but the indentation shouldn’t stay.
Having a slightly tacky or sticky feeling shows that the dough isn’t too dry, which is important if you want your cookies to spread just enough. If you don’t want your cookies to spread, they shouldn’t be sticky.
You have several options: The simplest solution: add flour (and a bit of sugar). The true-to-the-recipe solution: double the rest of the ingredients. The “I am out of flour and sugar” solution: spread the mix out in the oven (at a low temperature) and dry it, mixing it up regularly to even out the temperature.
Place one baking sheet at a time onto center rack of preheated 350 degree F oven. Bake until cookies are golden around the edges, still have pale tops, and are soft in the center, about 8 to 10 minutes. (Do not overbake! They will firm up more during cooling.)
As a general rule of thumb, you should refrigerate cookie dough for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. More than that and you won’t see a noticeable difference in the final product, says Haught Brown.
Cookie dough is sticky and difficult to roll and cut. The dough probably became too warm. In particular, doughs rich in butter and egg are especially difficult to handle if not kept very cold. A quick chill in the refrigerator or freezer will make most doughs behave—butter solidifies quickly.
Soft – Dough that’s “soft” or “runny” can be thickened by adding one or two tablespoons of flour to your mix. This will help keep your batch from “Spreading” and coming out of the oven looking like flat, not-so-cookie-like puddles.
Start by adding a teaspoon of water or milk and mix it. If the cookie dough seems dry and crumbly then add more water or milk.
How do you fix runny dough?
(Tip: add a tiny bit of sugar with each tablespoon of flour to keep the sweet taste.) If you’re feeling extra hopeless, try adding the flour and then placing the dough in the fridge to harden up. This method works for dough that isn’t runny, so it can do wonders for dough that needs a little more help.