A Pastry Ruler May Sound Crazy, But I’m Obsessed With Making Perfect Cookies


These trusty, cheerful pastry rulers saved me from myself. Without their help, I surely would have perished in my pursuit to bake 400-plus sugar cookies for a big party (okay, it was a wedding; okay, it was my wedding).

Hold up: What even is a pastry ruler? I first learned about these dead-simple tools when I was baking 300 sandwich cookies a week (do you sense a trend?) at a small café, and I ordered a set of my own when I grasped the enormity of my wedding cookie task. The rulers I bought come in a set of three Lifesaver-colored couples that are themselves 1/16-, 3/16-, and 1/4-inch thick. Select the thickness you want (1/4-inch for cookies, but maybe a bit thinner—like 3/16—for pie, and even thinner still for fondant or, godspeed, pasta) and position your dough in between a pair. When you move the rolling pin along them like a track, you’ll squish the dough into the exact thickness of the bars surrounding it, no thinner or thicker.

pastry ruler 2

Photo by Chelsie Craig

I favor the sturdy plastic rulers over the Silicone sets: Since Silicone is squishy, there’s a chance that if you Hulk out and push too hard, you’ll accidentally get a thinner dough than desired.

This is great because, let’s be real: When’s the last time you took a ruler to your dough and tried to measure its height? It’s impossible! And can anyone who doesn’t roll dough on the reg visualize the difference between 1/4 inch and 1/8 inch? That’s crazy talk! The pastry rulers guarantee that you’ve rolled an even slab of dough to the thickness specified by the recipe, which means that baking times will be more reliable, elusive textures (crispy or flaky or tender) will be more achievable, and cookie batches will bake more evenly.

Sure, pastry rulers aren’t the only path to uniform dough, but they are the most versatile. The alternatives include Silicone rings that screw into a corresponding pin, elevating it the desired height above the work surface, and the Epicurious-endorsed J.K. Adams Lovely Rolling Pin, a beautiful pin ingeniously designed to yield 1/4-inch dough every time. (Or, get a set that includes a sibling 1/8-inch pin). With both of these designs, the issue is the same: You’re stuck with a speciality pin that probably can’t be used in every single way you’d like. And before you know it, you’ll end up with a whole drawer of rolling pins, and who has space for that?

I’d rather have a singular fancy stick—dead-simple but exceedingly useful—in my drawer, just so long as I also have the pastry rulers that make me feel like a card-carrying Cookier ready for CookieCon.

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