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Old 11-10-2004, 10:50 AM   #21
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Lisa, one last thing you might want to check is your oven's temp; this is a common problems that foils us all the time; it's very common for an oven to go 'out of temp'. Get yourself a good oven thermometer, and give it a test run.

Do you also know that when that little bell goes off when you've preheated your oven, you should wait at least another 15 minutes? Almost all oven timers go off before the preset heat is reached - don't ask me why!!

If your oven wasn't hot enough, it would account for the dough spreading like that.
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Old 11-10-2004, 11:35 AM   #22
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Hi marmalady, thanks for your suggestion :) I do have an oven thermometer, and it read exactly 350..so I don't think it was the oven temperature. I also tried preheating it for a short time (10 minutes) and then on another test batch, a long time (20 minutes). I truly do think it has something to do with the flour minus baking powder, but I won't know until I try it.

I wonder if Food Network chefs (as some chefs without TV shows do) purposely leave out an ingredient or two, in certain recipes, so people will buy their cookbooks?
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Old 11-10-2004, 02:28 PM   #23
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PA and all, my apologies for the confusion regarding the baking powder. It is, indeed 1/2 teaspoon and I have edited the original recipe I posted to show same.

Ah, humility....

It's not any more difficult to pipe from a chilled piping bag, than to load chilled dough into the bag, then pipe. But it is easier and cleaner, if you will. Being butter based, the stuff warms pretty quickly!
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Old 11-11-2004, 12:47 PM   #24
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I just baked the cookies again, this time with the added 1/2 tsp of baking powder, but the stars still flattened into puffy disks. I did exactly as I did last time, except this time I chilled the dough in the pastry bag for two hours, then piped them, then chilled them for two more hours. No luck.

On the TV show, her cookies came out like the ones you see at the Italian Bakery -- perfectly puffy stars, the star tip ridges golden atop the lighter cookie.

I'm at the pojnt where I almost want to phone Tyler Florence for a little Food 911..LOL. I've been baking for ages, so I really don't know what else I can do, except try the Cook's Illustrated spritz/star cookie recipe which calls for one egg yolk and two Tbs of heavy cream, instead of the one whole egg, although I have a feeling they will flatten too.

Any other ideas? Should I try self rising flour? Will the addition of the baking soda do anything?
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Old 11-11-2004, 12:52 PM   #25
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Is there a difference in Star Tips? Audeo mentioned #4. Are there different numbered tips? Perhaps thats whats missing.
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Old 11-11-2004, 04:32 PM   #26
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That's a great question, deb. I have a whole bunch that I put away so well that I can't find at this moment, of course, or I would measure the end's diameter. That #4 size came from the top of my head and still think I'm right in that this is the tip size I used. It's a medium tip, not as large as a #5 or #6, the latter being as large as my little finger.

I will find them and confirm. In the interim, I do wonder what size Lisa was using....
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Old 11-11-2004, 06:40 PM   #27
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Hmmm this one's 'stump the forum' for sure! The absolute last thing I can think of is your brand of butter; different brands have more water content in them - and the labels don't say, so you don't really know til you've melted some down; I've found more 'spatter' means more water in the butter.
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Old 11-11-2004, 08:31 PM   #28
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I would suggest using an 827 tip. It's large and you'd need a minimum 16 bag. The opening is large, so hardly anything can get stuck in it. It's perfect for making whipped cream rosettes on cakes and pies. It's also the perfect tip for macaroons. I'm sure it will do a great job for these cookies.
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Old 11-12-2004, 07:41 AM   #29
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This is truly baffling, Lisa. So sorry for the frustrations and I can't imagine what the heck is going on. I'd try marmalady's suggestion of checking your butter, but beyond that....

Geez. Stumped for sure.
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Old 11-12-2004, 11:04 AM   #30
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Thanks again for the replies, everyone :)
I usually use Land O' Lakes unsalted butter in all of my baking recipes. Also, I used a number 828 star tip for these. I did try using a few smaller ones (I changed the tip and piped different sizes on one batch), but they still flattened and spread. I truly think something is definitely 'off' in this recipe. I'm probably going to try the Cook's Illustrated recipe with the egg yolk and heavy cream, and see how that works out.

In the mean time, I did manage to make my 'flat' cookies look great. I sandwiched half of them with raspberry jam, and the other half with Valrhona semi-sweet chocolate, then dipped the tops in the melted chocolate, and rolled them in different toppings, such as colored crystallized sugar, sprinkles, and nuts. I used the last bits of chocolate to simply drizzle over the cookies that weren't dipped, when there was no longer enough to dip the top of the cookie. They came out quite pretty, and looked just like the ones from the bakery. In other words, the aesthetics were somewhat salvaged, flat or not..LOL
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