I'm sad that Halloween is over, but the good news is that the Holiday Season is here! Pretty soon we'll be having lots of get-togethers with friends: glitzy cocktail parties, cozy morning get-togethers with tea or hot cocoa, cookie baking parties, and of course, big family get-togethers filled with food and fun.
* a good recipe
* parchment paper
* rolling pin rings
Over the last month I've discovered a fourth item to add to that list: a good cookie cutter that cuts cleanly and lifts easily. Ann Clark Ltd., "The Cookie Cutter People From Vermont", sent me an assortment of their classic tin cookie cutters to try out for my holiday baking, and I've seen the light!
Ann Clark Ltd. is the largest cookie cutter company in the gift industry. They produce a broad product line of handcrafted cookie cutters and associated giftware. Cookie cutters retail for $3.99-$6.99, and gift sets start at about $7.99. You can buy them online at www.annclark.com or at gift shops, cooking/baking stores, gourmet shops and bookstores nationwide.
I am loving these Ann Clark cookie cutters! They are so much better than my plastic cookie cutters. They cut the dough really well, and they lift right out without sticking -- I don't even need to flour the dough or the cookie cutter! The bigger cookie cutters have handles so kids can grasp them easily and push down firmly without touching the dough. I think these cookie cutters are very cleverly designed: there are no long, skinny edges or anything too complicated that might break off or stick to the cookie cutter, yet the designs manage to convey exactly what they're supposed to be: for example, a moose head actually looks like a moose head, and not a whale's tail! And speaking of designs, the variety they have is staggering.
Thanks to Ann Clark, I've been baking up a storm all October with just these two shapes -- the Haunted House and the Ghost. All month long I've been using these cookies to celebrate the season -- at our Halloween party, for the kids' class Halloween parties, and for playdates. I even gave every member on 3Po and Jammy's soccer team a little frosted ghost cookie to take home after their soccer game on October 30. Everyone thought the cookies were adorable, and they tasted amazing.
The Haunted House cookie cutter makes a cookie that's about 5 inches tall; it's part of a set that also includes a smaller Ghost cookie cutter and a recipe for sugar cookies and icing (every cookie cutter comes with those two recipes so you can start baking right away).
Speaking of recipes, Ann Clark's basic sugar cookie recipe is worth its weight in gold (or butter) -- it's simple, it stands up well to the kids' vigorous mixing/mashing/rolling efforts, it rolls and cuts into shapes quite nicely (as long as you chill it for a little while before you start rolling and cutting), and it's so delicious you don't need to frost it. This recipe is so good, it has actually replaced my previous go-to recipe for cut-out cookies.
The kids have had so much fun cutting them out, and they look so festive. I'm still getting the hang of the frosting consistency, but they're so cute just the way they are, even my amateur decorating skills can't ruin them:
Ann Clark's cookie cutters have gotten me all excited about baking cut-out cookies once again. I can't wait to get started on my pumpkin and turkey-shaped cookies!
I have absolutely no complaints about these Ann Clark cookie cutters -- the only thing I would love would be instructions on how to clean and care for them. Can they go in a dishwasher? Should they be hand-washed? Will they rust or discolor if they're not dried immediately? Should I oil them? It would be great if the tag that comes with the cookie cutter also includes this information along with the recipes.
The Bottom Line
Ann Clark cookie cutters make cookie baking easy and fun -- and with so many designs to choose from, they've got a cookie cutter for any occasion and theme!
Disclosure:I received an assortment of tin cookie cutters from Ann Clark, but was not paid to review the product or give my opinions. Product information is provided by Ann Clark and is clearly indicated as such. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.