27 Nov Cookie Cutters — Holiday Gift Idea
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.
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.