4 Common Cookie Fails and How to Avoid Them

December 9th, 2015 by Elizabeth Nelson

Before you start your holiday cookie baking, make sure you avoid the #CookieFail! Check out these 4 common cookie fails and empower yourself for a #CookieWin.


  1. My cookies are too tough.

While a tough cookie might be a good thing if you’re talking about a person with grit, a tough holiday cookie is a problem. When baking cookies, it’s important to only mix or knead the dough just until it’s combined or ready to roll. Overmixing is the most common cause of tough cookies.


  1. My cookies are stuck to the pan.

If you’re worried that your cookies will stick to the pan, you can use parchment paper to line the pan before placing the cookies (but don’t line a pan with parchment if you’re planning to make spritz cookies—you won’t be able to form the cookies properly). Another way to avoid stuck cookies is to make sure that the cookies are not allowed to cool fully on the pan—be sure to remove them about 5 minutes after they come out of the oven, and let them finish cooling on a cooling grid.


  1. My cookies spread too much.

Cutout cookies can be tricky to make because as they spread, they can lose their shape. It’s important to roll the cookies out to the thickness specified in the recipe. Our roll-out cookie recipe specifies a 1/8” thickness. If the cookies are rolled thicker than that, they will spread too much while they bake.


  1. My cookies burned.

When starting your holiday baking, it’s important to make sure your oven temperature is accurate. An inexpensive oven thermometer can provide some peace of mind (and hopefully avoid some cookie disasters)! After making sure your oven is at the correct temperature, start checking the cookies for doneness a minute or two before the time on the recipe to get an idea of how they’re baking. This will give you a better idea of how the cookie recipe will bake in your oven.


Elizabeth Nelson Elizabeth Nelson is the Culinary Manager of the Wilton Test Kitchen. A graduate of the University of Missouri and Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston, she loves developing recipes for Wilton’s product lines and websites, as well as testing out new and existing products in the Test Kitchen. Outside of work, she enjoys running and spending time with family and friends.

18 Replies

  1. LuAnn says:

    I believe your comment in #4 of your article should read “peace of mind”, not “piece of mind”. ‘Piece of mind” is what you’d give someone, if you’re telling them off!!

  2. Mona says:

    You had like 1170 cookies and bars, but I did not see any pecan tarts !!!

    Do you ever list candy like you do cookies ?

  3. Jean Phillips says:

    The filled cookie/pie crust cupcake cookie in the picture looks delicious. What is it called and is the recipe available.

  4. Hope Murphy says:

    Thank you for the great tips on making candy. they have helped ot alot

  5. Tom says:

    As a home baker who likes to try new things, I have purchased and have been gifted several Wilton cookie baking pan molds. I would like to use them over the holidays but do not know how. Unfortunately, I am a little confused by the depth and size of the individual molds on each pan.
    These pans have about 9 cookies shapes with a depth of up to 1/2 inch in some cases. I do not know how to best use them as they seem so deep…and I don’t know if the dough gets rolled out and then placed in the molds or if they get spoon filled?
    Can you direct me to a source that would demonstrate their use..and provide me with a recipe that would work for these molds? Any advice that you give would be appreciated, as they are now just collecting dust on my shelves.
    Tom O’Connell

  6. Patricia Steward says:

    What is the shelf life of sprinkles, meringue powder, flavorings, tinting paste, basically all of your products.
    Why does Wilton not put expiration/use by dates on your products. When I find them on sale at craft stores I hesitate to buy them because I am afraid they are old.
    Is there any way to tell the shelf life of your products, if not please start putting a USE BEFORE DATE on your products.

    • Jean Spong says:

      If you look at a bag, flavoring, meringue and see a code this will tell you when the product was MADE.
      The first two numbers are the last two numbers of the year: 2016=16, the next three numbers are the day of the year it was produced, 113=April 23. So the code would read 16113.
      I had sent an email to Wilton asking about the codes on their chocolate wafers and this is what I was told. Hope this helps!

      • Desiree Smith says:

        Hi Jean,

        I spoke with our Food and Regulatory team and the information you received is actually not correct. I do apologize for the misinformation you’ve received. Wilton uses lot codes on packaging which is the number you describe seeing. The code is not an expiration date. Our team can look up and verify expiration dates when we are provided with said lot code.

        Thank you,

    • Desiree Smith says:

      Hi Patricia,

      Wilton uses a lot code system on our packaging to identify when a product was manufactured. If you have some products and would like us to look up the expiration date based off the lot code, we are happy to do so. I can provide general guidelines on product shelf life, however, without knowing the lot code I cannot tell you when that batch of products were manufactured.

      I can tell you meringue powder is good for 24 months from date of manufacture, sprinkles are good for 36 months, and icing colors are good for 36 months from date of manufacture.

      Thank you,

  7. Lori says:

    Thank you for posting the link for the White Russian Cookie Cups (http://www.wilton.com/white-russian-mini-cookie-cups/WLTREAT-28.html), but sadly the instructions don’t list the amount of flour needed for this recipe.

    • Desiree Smith says:

      Hi Lori – sorry about that – we recently made some changes to our website and it looks like the supply list is missing for this recipe. I will reach out to our Test Kitchen and get back to you. Thanks!

  8. Susan Lambert says:

    My cookie dough is not coming out of the press consistently. It goes through the disk but does not fall to the cookie sheet below. This is after the initial attempts to prime the press after filling it with new dough. Any suggestions?

  9. Marlene Youde says:

    Thin cookies are also because people don’t chill the dough as the recipe states.

  10. this is the second request for this Item. I am not real computer savvy and not sure where to find your response so if at all possible could you send me an email with the answer or else tell me where to find the answer. Thank you, soo much.QUESTION, I would like to know where to purchase and the price for the little Applepie cookie cutters advertised from your Wilton add this past week. I looked all over under cookies , molds supplies, etc.when I put the name in the search bar it said nothing found.Also, I would like to know if I could use my own apple pie filling or must it only be canned apple Pie filling . Thank you, soo.much. OH one more question do you sell LIME ZEST or know where I can buy some? Thanks again.

    Grammie “B”

    • Desiree Smith says:

      Hi Kathleen,

      I do apologize, but I have not come across your comment before. Is this the cutter set you are looking for?


      There is also this set: http://www.wilton.com/double-cut-out-pie-crust-cutters/417-5155.html

      As for your question on apple pie filling, I contacted our Test Kitchen for some insight. They said that for the most part, you can use your own apple pie filling, but it will affect how the recipe works. For example, a pie filling made with raw apples will need to bake a lot longer than one made with canned filling. A pie filling that is home-canned or cooked before putting into the pie shell will cook more similarly to canned filling. You’ll have to use your best judgment here, as we can only guarantee results for recipes we have created and tested. For basic apple pies where we are essentially giving decorating instructions, this substitution should not be much of a problem. For recipes that use apple pie filling as a component of the recipe, or if the size is not standard (like a mini pie), it can get more tricky.

      Lime zest is produced when grating the rind of a lime. We are not aware of any pre-made lime zest; it would be best to grate a lime.

      Thank you,

  11. Megan Dunlop says:

    Hi was just wandering if I could get a picture of a colour chart for the colour right food colours

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