Crumbly cookie dough
Usually when cookie dough falls apart, it is because the flour is not sufficiently hydrated, that is to say, it has not absorbed enough water.
There are two factors at play:
- The ratio of liquid in the recipe (from eggs, milk, water, juice, coffee, or any other source) to flour (by weight)
- The amount of time that the dough has had to rest and absorb the water.
Typically, when you are saying your dough is crumbly, it is going to be a rolling type cookie, like a sugar cookie. These often benefit very much from a resting period of at least four hours in order to fully hydrate the flour.
Another common cause is measurement. Flour, especially when measured in a measuring cup, is very easy to mis-measure, and the ratio of flour to liquid is extremely important. I strongly recommend weighing flour for all baking purposes. Quality recipes and cookbooks will indicate flour by weight, or tell you how much their standard cup weighs. If you cannot find this information for a particular recipe, using 4.25 ounces of flour by weight for each cup is a good guess.
What you don't want to do is add flour to the recipe; that will only exacerbate the problem.
In a cookie recipe, the culprit could be too little butter as well (though that would be much harder to add later).
There are many reasons.
- Add a little milk or water until it reaches the right consistency. Add a very little at a time. When making cut out cookies try not to overwork the dough as it tends to become tough.
- Bake Cookies on a SILICONE MAT.
- Bake them frozen (I cut out the pieces a few days in advance).
- Add more flour. My recipe is about the same .. it's 4 whole eggs but I put about 6 cups of flours. And I don't have that much flavoring.
- Not enough liquid - try adding another egg, or some more butter, or golden syrup.