I have just tried the Butter Cut-Out Cookies recipe and it was such a nice dough and lovely to eat. I was just a bit confused as when they came out the oven they had spread out a lot and were a bit misshaped. Could you please help me? Thank you!
Nigella's Butter Cut-Out Cookies (from HOW TO BE A DOMESTIC GODDESS) is a sugar cookie dough that can be rolled and cut out into shapes before baking. The cookie dough can spread slightly on baking, but should not spread so much that the cookies become misshapen. One possible reason is the amount of baking powder in the dough. Make sure that this is measured carefully and use a level teaspoon. Also use a 5ml measuring teaspoon. Too much baking powder can cause the cookies to spread too much.
The other usual reason is that the cookie dough is very warm when it goes into the oven, which means that the butter melts too quickly as the cookies bake and causes spreading. To reduce the risk of this you can thoroughly chill the cut-out cookie dough shapes before baking them or even freeze and bake them direct from frozen (the baking time is usually the same for thin, small cookies). Finally, bear in mind that the cookies cut out from re-rolled dough are more likely to lose their shape as there can be a little bit of air trapped in the dough scraps and also the glutens in the dough will have been stretched more with extra rolling, both of which can affect the shape of the cookie.