Cookie Cutters — Holiday Gift Idea

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27 Nov Cookie Cutters — Holiday Gift Idea

Coffee-Mug-Cookie

My mother is a saint. Either that or insane. The letters are similar and the outcome’s the same, so I’m going with saint.

What did she do? When I was a child, my mother not only allowed but outright encouraged an annual cookie decorating party.

We’d come home from school, friends in tow, to dozens and dozens of sugar cookies, a rainbow of icing and sprinkles of every form imaginable. Half a dozen kids would don an apron, grab a butter knife and slather icing over little bells, stars, donkeys, Santa boots, Christmas trees, churches, camels and even pigs. A shower of sprinkles pressed into the soft frosting completed the look. Quantity, not quality, was the goal and we’d produce plates of sugar-encrusted cookies decorated with unabashed joy and little no artistic merit.

After our friends left, Mom scraped hardened icing off the table, floor, door knobs and our hair. And although she didn’t like sugar cookies, she allowed us this messy, glucose-fueled indulgence.

To this day, I am drawn to cookie cutters. And I have my Mom to thank (or blame).

So when Elizabeth Clark Craib of Ann Clark Ltd. asked if I’d like to test-drive her hand-crafted cutters, I bit into her offer like a plate of fresh-from-the oven gingerbread. And when I saw the moose? The Canadian in me ignored the fact her company is located in Vermont.  All orders ship the same day and I was pleasantly surprised when the cutters crossed the border and landed on my door step in only three days. (Note: The shipping costs are very inexpensive. If you live in US or Canada, 1 to 3 cutters adds $3.75 US to your bill. Order 4 or more and shipping costs drop to $0. This is another reason I agreed to look into a product from outside the country.)

All cutters arrived unscathed. The coffee mug came in a chic plastic case; the rustic moose had a tag tied on with country-coarse string. While you can use your family favourites, Ann Clark includes a recipe for sugar cookies and icing.

Sure, you can get cookie cutters in any shape and form at baking stores, but Ann’s over-sized versions are specifically for gift-giving. Larger than the standard two-bite cutter, Ann’s designs start at $4 and go up to $12, leaving them comfortably in the price range of a hostess gift — but one that’s likely to stand out.

Fighting the tendency towards country-cute, Ann created several styles, ranging from traditional gingerbread boys to modern martinis. She even has a series of shiny copper cutters for collectors. If you’ve talent with icing, keep the cutter and give away your over-sized results.

Moose-Cookie

Hmmm. Seems my cookie decorating abilities haven’t advanced much since grade school.

Got a passion for cookie cutters? Here are some cookie cutter tips from Elizabeth:

  • If the cutter has a handle, don’t press hard on the handle. Instead use it to position the cookie and then press gently around the entire rim.
  • Simply wiping the cookie cutter after use should be all the clean up required. The fat in the cookie dough provides a protective coating and washing can cause rust.
  • If you must wash the cutter, do so by hand. Dry it thoroughly, then rub it with vegetable oil to prevent rusting.
  • Store cutters in a dry place, away from other items so they won’t get dented. A crowded drawer is the kiss of death to cutters.  Elizabeth uses an inexpensive tin. I use a cheap plastic container with a snap-on lid.

Am I the only one with a passion for cookie cutters? Any decorating tips you care to share. As you can see, I need a bit of help.

No Comments
  • Sophie
    Posted at 12:25h, 27 November Reply

    I have more then 140 cookie cutters! ooh yes! I also have the same Moose cookie cutter! It was a gift to me from my Canadian friend, Koko! They make excellent speculaas cookies!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 18:32h, 27 November Reply

      Wow. I might have a couple dozen. I think you win the contest!

      What’s a speculaas cookie? Feel free to leave a link if you have the recipe posted on your blog!

      • Sophie
        Posted at 17:25h, 28 November Reply

        @Charmian Christie,

        http://sophiesfoodiefiles.blogspot.com/2009/10/sophies-speculaas.html

        This was my second latest post: Sophie’s festive speculaas!! I explained everything in my post & even how to make your own speculaas spices! Check it out, my friend!

        • Charmian Christie
          Posted at 11:50h, 29 November Reply

          Thanks so much for the link, Sophie. Those cookies look delicious. I’m all for spice cookies! I prefer them to standard sugar cookies.

          Love your moose and maple leaf. What a lovely gift idea for international friends.

  • Cookie cutter
    Posted at 14:13h, 27 November Reply

    What a great gift idea, thanks for sharing.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 19:44h, 27 November Reply

      I’d have never thought of giving cookie cutters, either. I love these “out of the box” simple solutions.

  • Lisa MacColl
    Posted at 15:45h, 27 November Reply

    I love cookie cutters. My daughter and I made sugar cookies last year and she was in charge of the coloured sugar. We will be baking sugar cookies again this year…may need to check the website.

    Cookies…mmm.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 19:45h, 27 November Reply

      Glad to know you’re carrying on the tradition. Some of my fondest memories revolve around cookie making.

      Do you have a good recipe for icing? Mine dribbled all over the place and refused to pipe neatly. Bah!

  • Dana McCauley
    Posted at 22:30h, 27 November Reply

    Thanks for sharing this great contact – I love knowing about cool little businesses like this one.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:46h, 28 November Reply

      Thanks Dana. Ann has a really interesting story, too. She’s an artist and made some cutters based on her characters and started up a whole new business. Love this kind of stuff.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 23:20h, 27 November Reply

    Oh great. Just last winter I cleaned out my collection, knowing that I had way too many and only ever made the same shapes. Now I want more! Cookies are on the list in the coming weeks. I can’t wait to see the girls attack the process.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:48h, 28 November Reply

      Isn’t that always the way. I love the idea of giving these as gifts or giving the over-sized cookies they make. There’s something about a handmade gift that is extra special. (Ugh. Did that sound as corny as I think?)

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 10:33h, 28 November Reply

    Hey, I still use cookie cutter ornaments for our tree, made in those bygone years. The moose is great, but I love the cup of tea. Now here is a laugh – I can make the icing – learned how when I gave Laura Cookie Decorating Parties. I’m really sorry she thinks she had out grown them. Can’t wait until she realizes it is even more fun when 6 adults do it all at once too.
    Love,
    Robin

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 13:45h, 28 November Reply

      I’ve got a whole tin of cookies just waiting to be iced. Let me know if you want to do a decorating party. You’re in charge of icing.

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 20:18h, 28 November Reply

    Sigh. I’m not a cookie cutter person. I do have one bag full of them, but they’re mostly from my mother in law and I don’t use them very often. The one exception is a fun star-shaped cutter. We actually used it just last week to make star cookies for Hanukkah, even though the holiday doesn’t start for another two weeks. Trying telling that to an 8-year-old, though — he didn’t care at all. He just wanted his star-shaped cookies, calendar be damned.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:53h, 29 November Reply

      I like your 8-year-old’s attitude. “Calendar be damned!” is right. Don’t limit the joy to the holidays.

      I haven’t done cut-out cookies in a long time and forgot how much fun they are. I wish you lived closer. I’d be over decorating stars with your 8-y-o in a flash.

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