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This was my mother's recipe that my sisters and I have made several years. They use to work now they go flat. We are going nuts trying to figure out why. Any suggestion would be welcomed.

Eisenhower Cookies (really a ginger spice cookie)

2 cubes of margarine
1 cup and 3 tbsp sugar
1 well beaten egg
2 cups of flour (after sifting)
1 tsp cinammon
1 tsp ginger
2 tsp of baking soda
2 small pinch of salt
4 tbsp of yellow label molasses

Make into balls, roll in sugar, bake at 350 for about 10 minutes, depending on oven.

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I changed the title a bit for clarification. What do you mean with flat? –  BaffledCook Oct 14 '12 at 22:09
    
@Brooke- some suggestions: check your oven's temperature with a thermometer, don't put dough on a hot cookie sheet, try non-insulated cookie sheets - they heat up faster so the cookie sets before it runs too much. –  Kristina Lopez Oct 15 '12 at 4:16
    
What kind of margarine are you using? If you've changed to tub/spread margarines then that could be the culprit as they have more water content than stick margarine. –  djmadscribbler Oct 15 '12 at 17:23
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2 Answers

Have you tried using fresh baking soda? I really don't see anything else that could be off here, especially if the recipe has worked well in the past.

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yes.I have, i have tried using butter too but never shortening...Ok this is a crazy thought but would a hand mixer change the consitancy compare to a kitchen aid mixer. I now use a kitchen aid mixer...does it over beat the butter and sugar? –  brooke gritch Oct 14 '12 at 23:39
    
You get leavening problems from underbeating, not overbeating, so this shouldn't be the problem. Unless the mechanical action heats the butter to a stage where it is too soft and flows too early in the oven. Do you chill the cookies before baking? –  rumtscho Oct 14 '12 at 23:47
    
yes.. I swear this problem has baffled us...It was our christmas cookie recipe that we all loved but nevermore....( i just watched the movie The Raven)..My sister and I just cannot figured it out. Would lowering the oven temperature help? –  brooke gritch Oct 15 '12 at 2:30
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@brookegritch, as rumtscho indicates, maybe the butter gets too warm. You could leave the dough in the fridge for 20 minutes after beating. –  BaffledCook Oct 15 '12 at 8:10
    
thank you everyone for your advise...will try again –  brooke gritch Oct 15 '12 at 19:44
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Over time ingredients change, equipment changes, etc. Your flour could get too moist, your molasses could have more water content, etc. Some suggestions:

  • Use fresh dry ingredients
  • Put your dough in the fridge to cool before you bake
  • Give it a stiffer consistency by adding a tablespoon or two more flour. A little bit more isn't going to change the flavor noticeably
    • Raise the oven temperature a bit, lowering it will just make them run more before they set
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I found a Martha Stewart chewy spice molassas cookie recipe that was so similar that I tried it out today. Pay dirt...it worked. The only ingredient that I change was I used ground ginger instead of the nutmeg. Tasted just like the ones mother used to make. YEA –  brooke gritch Oct 18 '12 at 21:54
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well a year later I tried your tip on adding two extra tablespoons of flour and I am sure glad I did. It worked perfectly...now I finally have my mothers recipe to perfection. THANK YOU –  Brooke Gritch Sep 26 '13 at 20:36
    
Glad to hear it. I'm going to try the recipe. –  GdD Sep 27 '13 at 8:11
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