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You might have dropped the batter onto warm cookie sheets, causing excessive spreading. Let your cookie sheets cool completely before reusing. Or, you might have greased the cookie sheets too much. Just use a light coating of shortening or cooking spray to prepare your cookie sheets and only grease the cookie sheets if it’s specified in the recipe.
You may have stirred the batter until all of the lumps were out and it looked smooth. This produces muffins or quick breads with pointed tops and elongated cells (tunnels) throughout the product. Muffins or quick bread with these undesirable characteristics still taste good, but they are usually tough. Next time, stir the batter just until moistened—the batter should still be lumpy.
Mixing the batter differently from the recipe directions may cause muffins or quick breads to crumble. For quick breads, also be sure to completely cool them before slicing. Sometimes, it even helps to tightly wrap the cooled bread in foil and store it overnight before slicing.
You might have mixed the fat with the flour beyond coarse crumb stage (coarse crumbs are the size of small peas). The resulting fat particles are too small and you end up with mealy biscuits instead of flakey. If butter is used in your recipe, be sure to start with it cold. This makes it easier to cut it into the flour and get coarse crumbs.
Toasting brings out the full flavor and aroma of nuts. It also keeps nuts crisp in moist mixtures such as salads. So if your recipe calls for toasted nuts, it’s best to toast them.
Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place on the middle rack of an oven preheated to 350° F and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden, stirring after half of the baking time. Or, place the nuts in a single layer in a skillet. Heat them over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden, stirring or shaking the nuts constantly.