Chris - from Danville, CA
There are a number of reasons your cookies could be spreading. First, make sure the fat you are using (butter, margarine, vegetable shortening) is correct. A recipe that calls for butter should only be made with sticks of real butter – not low fat butter. Also, margarine needs to be a stick and be at least 70% fat; it should never be from a tub and should not be referred to as a “spread”.
When making your cookies, make sure the butter or margarine are not over-softened. It should be soft to the touch but not appear oily or melted. Butter or margarine can be taken from the refrigerator (not the freezer), then cut into 8-10 pieces and placed in the mixer bowl. When beaten with an electric mixer, it will soften to the perfect consistency.
If your cookie dough seems soft before forming, refrigerate it for 20 minutes before placing the dough onto the cookie sheet. Finally, always make sure your cookie sheet is at room temperature, not warm, before placing your unbaked cookies on it.