How to fix crumbly cookie dough

Let’s face it: cookie dough can get too crumbly making it difficult for you to bake soft and supple cookies for your loved ones.

And it’s quite annoying, to say the least- everyone has been waiting for a toothsome feast of dessert cookies and you can’t imagine letting them down.

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The good news is you can still treat yourself and your bosom buddies to a party of gooey homemade cookies with a few extra steps. 

Read on to learn how to fix crumbly cookie dough whatever your cookie recipe.

How to fix crumbly cookie dough

Let’s be honest here: all you have to do to come up with the perfect cookie dough is avoid the pitfalls.

In fact, most of the time we’re too blame if the cookie dough turns out a bit crumbly -it’s not the recipe or the weather (I’m kidding!).

I’m not suggesting that you become James Bond but tracing what you might have missed or perhaps something you overdid could help you quickly sort out the dough.

Before I take you to the actual fixes, here’s a quick rundown of what may have made your cookie dough such dry and a pain to bake with…

·        Putting too little butter/fat

I’m guilty of this: the first time I baked drop cookies, I added too little fat fearing that too much of it would have made the cookies flat and greasy.

Well, how wrong I was – my dough came out too dry and crumbly and with that, my dream of surprising my boyfriend with sweet, crispy cookies on his birthday went up in smoke.

Moral of the story? Forget about really good cookie dough if you’re guilty of denying it butter.

Luckily, you can quickly fix this (more on this shortly).

Tip: Using the incorrect type of fat or other wrong substitutes could also make your dough a bit crumbly

·        You added too little liquid

Likewise, adding too little milk or water can cause dryness (where required).

I will show you how to correct this problem soon but next time, try to observe the indicated liquid measurements when kneading your dough.

·        You did not mix the dough the right way

In many cases, the dough becomes dry and hard because of over mixing it.

Of course, you should stop when the dough has blended justly but some of us continue mixing it beyond the required doneness leading to the formation of excess gluten.

·        Other ways you might have messed up

In addition to the errors I have mentioned above, there are a few other omissions/commissions that may affect the quality of your dough:

1.      You may not have followed the recipe

Did you follow all the steps in the recipe in the correct order?

Sometimes skipping a step or introducing an extra procedure during dough preparation can be the source of issues that cause the dough to dry.

2.      You refrigerated the dough excessively

Although some recipes recommend that you refrigerate the dough, exposing it to temperatures below the room temperature may contribute to its drying up and becoming crumbly.

This is particularly common if you’ve left it too long in the refrigerator.

3.      You got other ingredients measurements wrong

You cannot afford to get any measurement wrong.

For instance, adding fewer eggs than required can result in dryness because the other ingredients won’t bind well.

Helpful cookie dough preparation tips

Here now are a couple of practices that may help make the job of mixing and beating your dough easy:

  • Ingredients- Use the best cookie baking ingredients possible. This means making sure you buy the recommended chocolate (or cocoa powder) quality, butter, etc.
  • Mix at the correct temp– Before mixing, make sure all chilled ingredients will be at room temperature. This is a trick that professionals use to make the dough more tender. This practice also helps dough come together a little faster.
  • Beat butter/shortening- Beating butter/shortening with your electric mixer until flawlessly smooth helps soften it sufficiently. As a result, it mixes with the remaining ingredients completely. Remember that butter that has not been mixed improperly may cause the dough to be crumbly.

How to fix crumbly cookie dough step by step

Here’s how you can reverse the mess:

Step 1: Preparing the dough

Start by placing your dough on baking paper (measure and cut a big enough piece).

Step 2: Add cooking oil

Next, pour about one teaspoon of your favorite cooking oil into the dough.

Step 3: Work the cooking oil into the dough

Now you want the cooking oil to spread into the dough as much as possible.

To achieve this, knead and pull your dough together as much as you can.

Step 4: Test the dough

Check if the dough has softened enough and proceed to bake everyone’s favorite cookie if you’re happy with the results.

If not, move to step 5.

Step 5: Apply more oil

To make it soften further, add another teaspoon of the cooking oil.

Note: It might be necessary to add more oil (examine the degree of ‘crumbling’ and add as necessary).

Step 6: Work the added oil into the dough

You again start to knead the door until it becomes soft and bouncy.

Step 7: Chill the dough

Wrap the dough up in your baking paper and let it sit in your fridge for about 30 minutes.

Step 8: Pull it from the refrigerator

Finally, get it out of the fridge.

It should be now easy to work with.

Wrap up

Whether you’re a baking pro or a novice baker, the above eight steps will help you rescue crumbly cookie dough every time.

You can also choose to add a small amount of milk (or even softened butter) to the dough instead of cooking oil.

You don’t want the dough to become sticky so add the milk gradually, if you take this route.

In short, fixing your annoyingly crumbly cookie dough simply comes down to moistening it with cooking oil, milk, or butter then massaging it a bit:

Happy baking!

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