Fixing Crumbly Cookie Dough

Cookie dough is a testy thing—there’s so much that can go right, and so much that can go wrong. Last week, we offered tips on how to fix runny cookie dough, but another common issue is crumbly cookie dough.

Why does dough get so crumbly? There are a few reasons. Using the wrong fats—for example, margarine instead of butter—or adding too many dry ingredients can remove liquid aspects from the dough, which results in crumbling. Refrigerating dough for too long can also make it dry, because the air removes moisture.

Luckily, there are a few ways to fix your dough without throwing it out and starting again! Try the following to save it before it’s too far gone.

First: Add Liquid

Slowly, add more liquid to the dough. You don’t want to dump a quarter-cup of milk in and make it too runny. Start by adding a teaspoon of milk or water, continuing to mix until there’s enough liquid to moisten it.

Use Your Fats

Like I mentioned, using the wrong fats can cause your dough to crumble. So, when adding more fats, add only those that are in the original recipe. So, if it calls for oil, don’t add butter—add that oil. Add slowly, teaspoon by teaspoon; too much fat will change the dough entirely.

Knead It Out

Over-mixing can create dry, crumbly dough. So, add your liquids or fat, pull it out of the mixer, and get your hands dirty. Texture is everything, and you can’t feel it when it’s in a stand mixer. Tender loving care can help rescue your dough from the brink.

Keep It Out

I mentioned that too much air from a fridge can change the texture of your dough. So, leave your dough out at room temperature. You can warm it quickly by setting it near a warm source or cutting the dough into smaller pieces rather than a full mound.

Dry dough can be saved in a variety of ways if you fix it quick enough. You’ll learn by trial and error, but hey: there’s no such thing as making too much dough if you’re dedicated enough to the art of the cookie!

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