Archive for: cookie cutters
It may not be time for spring as far as the flowers in your garden are concerned (even during a mild winter), but with this set of Garden Cookie Cutters you can get spring started in the comfort of your kitchen. These cookie cutters are some of the cutest cutters I’ve seen in a long time because the plastic is shaped just like the finished cookies. The cutters punch out very detailed cookies not just the outlines of cookies – in eight different designs, including a rose, daisy, tulip, dahlia, ladybug, butterfly, bumble bee and dragonfly. They’re easy to grip and kids will have just as much fun with them as adults, especially since the plastic handles are more kid-friendly than you’ll find on some cookie cutters.
Once the cookies have baked, you can serve them as-is and enjoy the look of the plain designs. You can also whip up some colored frosting and fill in the details on the cookies for a more colorful array. As always with cookies like this, I recommend using a homemade butter cookie dough that won’t spread too much so that you preserve as much of the design as possible after baking, rather than using store-bought sugar cookie dough which will still work, but typically spreads enough that you lose some of the finer details from cookie cutters like these.
One of my favorite Halloween traditions is carving pumpkins into jack o’lanterns and I always carve at least a few every year. The spooky faces of carved pumpkins don’t always translate well into baked goods like cookies, because it is very difficult to carve out the eyes, nose and mouth of a cookie-sized jack o’ lantern unless you have a very sharp, small knife and a lot of patience. This Jack-O-Lantern Cookie Cutter Set, which I spotted at a recent trip to Williams Sonoma, makes jack o’lantern cookies as easy as putting together a Mr Potato Head. The set starts out with a heavy duty pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter and comes with a number of tiny additional cutters that make pumpkin eye, nose and mouth shapes. It’s fun to put together the different combinations and much easier than the hand “carved” method.
The only trick to using a detailed cookie cutter set like this one is that you need to use a cookie dough that won’t spread – or won’t spread very much – to preserve the neat cutouts on the pumpkin faces. Store bought sugar cookie dough (a favorite with kids doing holiday baking projects) will spread too much and won’t produce good results. A relatively stiff homemade butter cookie dough with a minimum of leavening agents (or none) is typically the best choice, like my Best Butter Cookie Dough. To dress it up to match your Halloween cookie cutters, mix a little black and orange food coloring into the dough and you’ll have very authentic looking Jack o’Lantern cookies.
I haven’t had the urge to make my own comic book in some time – but I will admit that as a kid I spent countless hours (usually on family trips) illustrating my own comic series in journals and notebooks. I actually preferred to make my own rather than read other people’s comics, though looking back I would put money on the fact that my stories, given that I was still in grade school, were far from anything that would have attracted a group of fans at Comic-Con. When I saw a display set up with these Spider-Man Comic Book Cookie Cutters at Williams Sonoma, I was intrigued because of the level of detail on the cookies. But the cookie cutter set has an ingenious design that allows you to make your own comic books (well, the covers at least) on a cookie canvas in your own kitchen.
The cookie cutter set comes with a double sided rectangular cutter, that both cuts out the shape of the comics and stamps the cut-out with an authentic logo that says “The Amazing Spiderman.” It also comes with a variety of spidey-shapes – from villains to speech bubbles – that you can use to customize your covers by stamping them into the frame. Be sure to use a good butter cookie dough so that the dough doesn’t spread out during baking (this Best Butter Cookie recipe works well, and I add a few tablespoons of extra flour for a drier dough that really holds its shape), or you’ll loose a little clarity on the design. If you don’t want all Spiderman cookies, use other cookie cutters as stamps and keep the speech bubble stamps to keep the comic look. Once the cookies are cool, you can decorate them.
I suspect that these comics also have a big advantage over those I drew as a kid. Not only are the designs sharp and professional looking, but they’re edible and should be very tasty, too. Decorating might take a little practice, but small icing tips, a steady hand and a little patience will help your comic books come out looking like the real deal.
Toaster pastries and pop tarts are treats that we loved as kids, but if you haven’t had one in a while and try to go back for the sake of nostalgia, you’ll notice that they just don’t taste as good as you remember. Part of this could be attributed to changes in the recipes, but it is much more likely that if you do a lot of home baking, you simply have slightly higher standards than you did as a kid waiting for that pastry to pop out of the toaster.Fortunately, Homemade Toaster Pastries are easy to make and fill with any flavor of jam or jelly that you can get your hands on. The most difficult part of making them is getting the pastries cut out and sealed together because rectangular cookie cutters aren’t things that most of us just happen to have lying around.
If you’re serious about making your own toaster pastries, you might want to pick up a Toaster Pastry Press. This two-part gadget cuts out perfectly shaped pastries and also helps you seal those edges back up. It is lightweight and easy to use, and it even comes with a recipe for making a homemade version of pop tarts, although you can put it to use with any kind of dough that you like (even puff pastry). Homemade pastries can usually be baked and then frozen, so you’ll have them available whenever the craving strikes.
Homemade cookies make a great holiday gift, whether you’re visiting friends or family, attending a big party or an intimate dinner. Pair the cookies with a nice holiday card and you have a very complete and thoughtful gift. When I noticed Williams-Sonoma’s Message-in-a-Cookie Holiday Cookie Cutters, I realized that these cutters will actually allow you to combine the holiday greeting that comes inside of a card with the cookie itself!
You can insert alphabet pieces and premade words into slots on these cookie cutters to have custom messages stamped directly into your cookie dough as you cut them out. The premade words include Happy, Holidays, Seasons, Greetings, Merry, Christmas, From – all very common holiday phrases – and there are three sets of alphabet letters included, as well as a few extra letters. The only thing you have to remember is to spell your words backwards when you place the letters in the cookie cutter so that they print out the correct way on the cookie dough. Three different holiday designs are included: a gingerbread man, an ornament and a snowflake.Most cut-out cookie doughs will work well with these cutters. You just don’t want to choose a dough with a huge amount of leavening (because it is likely to puff up and obscure the lettering during baking), so butter cookies and shortbread cookies tend to be some of the best choices. Feel free to play around with the cookies and add your personal touches with the icing after you add your personal message.