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Kristen is the Creative Director of Food52
It sounds like your baking powder (or soda) might be too old -- here's how to test: http://www.food52.com/blog...
Your baking powder may be old. Stir 1 tsp into 1/2 c very hot water. If it doesn't bubble immediately, replace it. Baking powder is only good for about 6 months once opened.
My troubleshooter when it comes to baking is to let the dough "chill out". This is an especially important step for cookie dough! Chilling the dough is a great trick for spread prevention. Anywhere from half an hour to overnight has done the trick for me, but longer isn't harmful.
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