Air Bubbles in Cookies

Hi Everyone, I am new to this  forum, could anyone help me out with some advice or suggestions as to why I get air bubbles on the tops of cookie when I bake them.

The recipe is a simple rolled cookie recipe where you cream the butter and sugar and add eggs and flour.

I have added extra flour to firm the dough in bid to prevent air bubbles but no such luck.

I have not over creamed the ingredients or over rolled or overworked the dough.

Any advice would be most appreciated.

 

Thanking You

Original Post

I'm no expert; however, how much leavening are you using (baking powder or soda?) You might try reducing or eliminating that. Also, eggs can make dough rise and bubble (I believe.) If you beat too much air into eggs before adding them to your dough, maybe that might be giving your cookies bubbles. (For cookie recipes using eggs that I often make, I do fork-beat the eggs and add my flavor extract to that before introducing it to the sugar/butter mixture ...but I do it first thing and set it aside so it has time to fall back down a little, while still being combined well with the extract.)

 

This is simply my overall theory on the matter, though: cookies were developed to begin with when bakers needed to test the temperature of their ovens (pre-electricity days)--so they put a little batter in the oven first to make sure their cakes wouldn't burn or would cook. Cake batters, of course, need to rise and bubble upon baking to give them their light, fluffy texture--so the ingredients in the cake batters were developed to do that. But, cookies recipes were developed from those early days of baking cakes. If you want flat, dense(r) cookies, however, using cake ingredients that were designed to make them rise (eggs, leavening powders) actually counter that desired texture of thicker, more structurally dense cookies. 

 

So, here is what I think, if you are having trouble with bubbling cookie tops: leave out or greatly reduce the eggs and baking powders/sodas. Maybe try a shortbread-type dough (butter, sugar, flour, salt, vanilla--that's it. Ina Garten has a delicious one that you could google. I get raves for cookies I make using that recipe, and I doubt you could make it bubble if you tried! LOL)

 

Good luck...again, I'm no expert--just someone who has been baking for more than forty years, so I've probably experienced every disaster that is known to bakers at one time or another!) [Also, never underestimate how your method of making doughs and batters matters...there is a reason one can't just dump all the ingredients into a bowl at once and stir--another lesson I've learned over the years! That's a whole 'nuther reason something could go wrong with a final product...]

Wow!!! Thank you sooooooo much for the advice!

I really needed some scientific baking explanations. 

I use 1 tsp of baking powder in 4 cups of flour.

When I baked Lindy Smith's Vanilla Cookie Recipe, I had no bubbles whatsoever, but I found the cookie very dense. The cookie dough was made by rubbing diced butter into the flour (+ baking powder) and sugar then adding wet ingredients including eggs and golden syrup. It tasted divine but it was a tough cookie. I propose to try adding more golden syrup since it contains invert syrup which is made up of glucose and fructose. The glucose should keep the cookie chewy on the inside and crisp on the outside.

 

Do you perhaps know the science behind the flour to butter ratio, eg. the more flour to butter might mean the cookie would be more tougher.

I think it is generally accepted that the standard ratio for cookies is 1:2:3 by weight (1 part sugar, 2 parts butter, 3 parts flour.) And you can actually get a decent sugar cookie using simply that ratio of those three ingredients (I have a Turkish Butter Cookie recipe that does just that!) If your recipe calls for an egg, it might include some extra flour. If you add additional fat (like peanut butter, for instance,) you would likely want to decrease the butter. Same with sweet add-ons (like chocolate or butterscotch chips)...you might, then, have to decrease the sugar.

 

Usually, the less you mess with the dough, the better, as too much handling can result in a tougher cookie. So, it seems reasonable to me that a recipe that calls for rubbing the diced butter into the flour could result in a pretty dense cookie--with the possibility of getting air pockets in the structure of it, as well. I have actually never heard of using that technique for making cookies--only for biscuits or pie crusts. So that's a new one for me.

 

But again, I am no expert. Maybe trying a few different recipes will be your route to finding what works best for you. Good luck!

I also struggle with air bubbles on my cookie surfaces, but aside from air bubbles, I cannot seem to get an even/smooth/uncracked cookie surface. Can anyone share advice or a possible cookie recipe that creates a nice smooth cookie surface? I have tried a sugar cookie dough as well as a shortbread dough, and the shortbread dough produces air bubbles, while the sugar cookie dough seems to crack or create ridges on the surface. Is this just normal? Is there a certain technique necessary to get a very nice smooth surface? Thank you!

Cookiesanddoughnyc,
There are techniques out there that help, although I never have that particular issue. You should definitely post this question as a new topic on the forum, that is if you still need an answer. Include the type of oven (convection?), the temperature you bake at, and any other relevant information. For example, do they crack halfway through baking, or while cooling on the rack?

Might be too much flour in the recipe, so it dries out when baking? Also, too much leavening/egg can make it rise until it puffs and cracks, then fall back on itself. The placement of your tray in the oven can be an issue, as can placing the cut out dough on a pan still hot from the oven. You have to get it just right, lol.

I always flatten my cookies a bit while they are hot out of the oven, that get a very level surface. I believe a lot of people use a fondant smoother, although I use the flat lid of a ceramic canister. Hope you solve the issue.

Hi Ashley. I am just now reading your post. I am nowhere near a professional, but I make about 1000 of these cookies every Christmas for my son's fellow officers. Those darn bubbles drove me nuts until I tried this: Immediately after removing the cookies from the oven, leave them on the cookie sheet, place a piece of parchment on top (to prevent sticking), then a matching cookie sheet, and then something heavy. (I use a patio block wrapped in a pillow case.) Any bubbles will be squished out and you'll have a nice flat surface. The shape of the cookie only very slightly affected. (A star will still be a star, etc.) I use the Big Batch Sugar Cookie recipe from CopperGifts.com, which does contain baking powder and eggs.

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Hi I read through this thread and I think Ashley talked about Ina Gartens shortbread recipe. I just made it yesterday for a job and have air bubbles. So not true.

I do believe the problem is the butter not soft enough and beating on a high speed. This incorporates air. 

I was in a hurry of course so did everything fast. This is a no no when baking.

 

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