The Prepared Pantry's
Helpful Baking Tips

In This Issue:

Troubleshooting Cookies
Refer a Friend
A Holiday Special: The Heritage Collection
What to do with Leftover Cranberry Sauce
Finding a Substitute for Rum
Can I Substitute Butter for Shortening?

Troubleshooting Cookies

Christmastime is cookie time.  Many of us will make tons of cookies.  Some of them will turn out better than others.  We thought it might be helpful to provide a troubleshooting guide for less than perfect cookies.  So here goes:

Cookie Troubleshooting Guide

If your cookies are too tough . . . 

You may have used too much flour or a flour with too high of a protein content.  Unless you want a chewy cookie, do not use bread flour.  Check your measurements--the cookies may not have enough fat or the amount of sugar may be wrong.


If your cookies are too crumbly . . .


They may have too much sugar, shortening, or leavening or may not be thoroughly mixed.  Try adding more eggs. 


If your cookies are too hard . . .


They may have been baked too long or at a temperature that was too low.  Too much flour or not enough shortening or liquid will make them hard also. 


If your cookies are too dry . . .


The same elements that make cookies too hard, may make them too dry.  Try baking them at a higher temperature for a shorter period.  Substitute brown sugar (with its higher moisture content) for part of the granulated sugar. 


If your cookies are too brown . . .


The cookies were most likely baked too long or at too high of a temperature.  Too much sugar may make a cookie brown too readily. 


If your cookies are not browned enough . . .


The baking temperature was too low, they were not baked long enough, or there was too little sugar.   


If your cookies spread too much . . .


The baking temperature may be too low.  Too much sugar, shortening, or leavening will cause spread.  If pans are greased with too much shortening, spread may occur.  Add a little more flour or chill your dough before forming the cookies.   


If your cookies don't spread enough . . .


The opposite conditions that create too much spread may cause your cookies not to spread enough.  There may not be enough sugar, shortening, or leavening, or the temperature is too high.  Try adding more grease to the pan and baking at a lower temperature. 


If the edges or crust turns out sugary . . .


The cookies probably have too much sugar.  The dough may have been inadequately mixed. 


If your cookies have a poor flavor . . .


Make sure all the flavoring ingredients were added.  Dated or low quality ingredients may not impart strong enough flavors.  Improperly washed baking pans will sometimes cause a cookie to taste bad.   


If your cookies stick to the pans . . .

         The pans probably weren't greased adequately.  Too much sugar will make cookies stick.  Cookies are usually easier
         to remove from their pans immediately after coming from the oven.

Refer a Friend

If you have friend or family member that you think would appreciate these newsletters you can share with them in three ways.  Send us an
email and we will contact your friend with subscription information.  Click here to sign up your friend yourself or forward this email to friend with the suggestion that they subscribe.  Every subscriber will have a chance to win 1000 cookies (mixes to make 1,000 cookies to be exact) on Christmas Eve. 

There is no cost and your friends can unsubscribe at any time with the click of a button.

A Holiday Special: The Heritage Collection

In the
Holiday Specials section of our store, you will find such treats as Ciabatta Bread and Grandma’s Country Cookie Pak, all at special prices for the holidays.  Last week, we added a new Sampler Pak, The Heritage Collection.  The Heritage Collection is a collection of our favorite traditional breads: Old Wisconsin Cheddar Bread, Old-Fashioned Honey Wheat Bread , Irish Potato Wheat Bread , and Sunday Dinner Rolls   The regular price for this collection will be $12.95 but during the holidays, it’s on sale for only $9.49--that’s $2.37 per mix.  

We think our samplers make thoughtful and attractive gifts.  We’ll ship them to your friends or family far away and even include personal greeting cards if you desire.   

What to do with Leftover Cranberry Sauce

If your refrigerator looks like our refrigerator, there’s some leftover cranberry sauce tucked away somewhere.  Rather than throw it out, turn it into a treat.  (These tips work for both whole-berry and jellied sauces.)

•  Mix that cranberry sauce with cream cheese to make an attractive and tasty spread for bagels or toast or use it to fill celery sticks as an eye-catching addition to an appetizer tray. 

•  Cranberry sauce makes an unusual and delicious topping for ice cream.  For a great sundae, top ice cream with cranberry sauce and sprinkle with nuts or try a festive banana split with a little cranberry sauce tucked under the whipped cream.

•  Heat it in a saucepan or microwave with a little butter and orange zest to make a terrific glaze for ham or chicken. 

Finding a Substitute for Rum

Yes, I know--some of the best pastry chefs will say that there is no substitute for rum.  (And we don’t know of anything else that will work for flambé.)  But for those of our readers who don’t have rum in their homes and would like to try some of those special holiday recipes that call for rum, we thought we would suggest a substitute. 

In the spice aisle of your grocery store, with the flavorings and extracts, you will find a rum flavoring.  Add a touch of this flavoring to apple juice for a rum substitute that works quite nicely.  In a pinch, if you don’t have that rum flavoring, use just the apple juice. 

Can I Substitute Butter for Shortening?

Speaking of substitutes, the question came up this week, “Can I substitute butter for shortening in my cookie recipes?” 

The answer is a qualified “yes”.  We have substituted butter in many of our recipes and believe butter makes a tastier, healthier cookie.  (Shortening and margarine are made with hydrogenated fat and most of us would like to reduce hydrogenated fat in our diets.) 

Your cookies will turn out a little differently if you substitute butter for shortening.  Shortening makes a cookie that is crisp on the edges and chewy in the middle.  Butter makes a cookie crisper throughout.  Because of the moisture in butter, cookies made with butter tend to spread more during baking. 

If you need to, you can counteract some of the spread and crispness in the butter cookie with the addition of an extra egg.   Whole eggs or egg yolks give cookies a cake-like texture.  So try your favorite recipe with butter instead of shortening and bake a few of the cookies.  If they turn out too crisp or too flat, add an egg and try again.

We went to great lengths to develop a snickerdoodle cookie that used butter instead of shortening.  Check out our Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix.   These are the only snickerdoodles that we have found that do not call for shortening. 

Your Friends at,

The Prepared Pantry