7 Rules for Making Perfect Cookies From Scratch Every Time – Plus 1 Great Buttermilk Cookie Recipe

Cookie making isn’t an exact science, but it does take some basic tips and techniques to get the job done right. Take any cookie recipe you have (see below), apply these 7 simple rules to that recipe, and you’ll make perfect homemade cookies every time.

1) Use a good soft wheat flour with low gluten content.

2) Sift the flour on its own once, then sift it again with the other dry ingredients of the recipe. This will create the perfect lightness for your cookies.

3) The most flaky and best textured cookies are made using lard as the fat in the cookie recipe. If you don’t feel comfortable using all the lard for your cookies, try using half lard and half vegetable shortening. But never use vegetable oils in a cookie recipe.

4) Refrigerate the bowl and the fat used, and work quickly to prevent the fat from melting. Each grain of flour should be coated with fat to prevent the gluten in the flour from being activated by the water. If you turn gluten on, you’ll end up with a tough, heavy cookie.

5) Buy a good cookie cutter that makes a nice clean cut. It should also allow air to escape (an open top), allowing the cookies to rise properly.

6) Roll out cookie dough once. If you reroll the dough, the gluten in the cookie recipe will harden the dough, resulting in very heavy and dense cookies.

7) For even cooking, turn the pan once during cooking. If you are baking more than one cookie sheet full of cookies at a time, switch the position of the pans once during baking.

Before the invention of baking powder, cooks always used buttermilk in cookies. It would help them to rise. Although it still works today, people appreciate the flavor of buttermilk more than its ability to make cookie dough rise.

Buttermilk Cookies Recipe


2 1/2 cups good soft wheat flour

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons of yeast

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 tablespoons lard, chilled

2 tablespoons vegetable shortening, chilled

1 cup chilled buttermilk


Position the oven rack in the middle and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a baking sheet.

Sift the flour, then sift together all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Using a large fork or pastry blender, stir in lard and vegetable shortening until a dish is formed.

Pour in the buttermilk and mix the ingredients until a sticky dough forms.

Flour your hands and a pastry board or work surface. Unmold the dough and knead it gently, just 4 to 6 times. Roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick.

Cut the dough with a 2-3 inch round cookie cutter or round cookie cutter.

Move the cookies to the baking sheet, arranging them so they just barely harden. Bake the cookies for about 10 minutes, or until puffed and golden (remember to flip the pan halfway through).

Serve cookies warm and with butter.

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