The Real Reason Your Cookies Are Falling Apart

How often has this happened to you? You are baking cookies, you have read the recipe twice and then followed it to the letter, the dough looks perfect, and the aroma as your first batch bakes is almost intoxicating. But, when it comes time to move your freshly baked cookies from baking sheet to serving plate — and yes, you let them cool first — those cookies are not having any part of it. Instead of cooperating, those cookies simply crumble. And when you nab yourself a sample, you realize that, in this case, appearances are not so deceiving after all. Instead of tender and chewy, your cookies deliver a dense, dry mouthfeel. 

When things do not go as planned, people sometimes chalk it up to "how the cookie crumbles," the implication being that, no matter how much you plan and how precisely you follow your plans, things still have a way of going wrong. But as it turns out, dry, crumbly cookies are not so much a "chance" occurrence. Rather, the real reason your cookies are falling apart may be one particular mistake that many home bakers make even while under the mistaken belief they are following a recipe to the letter. Read on to understand why your cookies are crumbling. 

You're probably using too much of this ingredient

Baking requires precision, and if you find your homemade cookies are falling apart, then there's a good chance you have been using too much flour (via Fine Cooking). But wait — how is that even possible if you followed the recipe? Actually, it is quite possible if you have been measuring your flour by volume (i.e., by scooping it into a measuring cup). What many professional bakers will tell you is that flour should always be measured by weight, not volume. And that means using a digital scale. 

"When you're weighing ingredients, you get the same result every time," Happy Fun Bake Time host Duff Goldman told Mashed during an exclusive interview. "If you know that you need 96 grams of flour, then you put a bowl on the scale and you weigh out 96 grams of flour," but "if you need a cup of flour, it's like, well, what's a cup? How much do I press it down? Do I pack it all the way in there, do I leave it very loose?" That's why, if you watch the "Great British Baking Show," you might have noticed that the contestants rarely measure by volume. As GBBS judge Paul Hollywood has noted, "I always weigh ingredients using digital scales .... It's more accurate and helps create the perfect bake (via Hollywood's website).