I've had this bell cutter for many years now. And guess what? I've never made a bell cookie with it until this year! But don't let that fool you- it's one of my ABSOULTE FAVORITE CUTTERS. I'm not lying. It's one of those cutters that never finds it's way back into my "Christmas" cutter bin because I always come back to it over and over again. And if I put it in my Christmas bin, I would have to get on a step stool to get it all the time. And that's too much work. And chances are, something would fall on me as I tried to bring down my Christmas bin box. So for safety's sake, I keep it out. Always.
If a cookie cutter could be my best friend, it would look like this:
I find cutters all over the place in store and online, but this treasured bell shape can only be found in ONE location during the Christmas season: DOLLAR TREE. It will come in a bundle like this:
Here are the other cutters in the bundle. The other cutters are nothing to write home about, in my opinion. But that bell! Swoon.
You might be wondering why this shape is my favorite? Let me show you!
Note: For all of these designs, the cookie cutout is left as-is, or I trimmed the small hanger part prior to baking.
This bell is my go-to for heads and faces- especially if the person is wearing a HAT, like these heroes in uniform:
Or maybe some friends at Thanksgiving:
Corn in the summer, or the fall:
Backbones for a chiropractor, or pirates for a swashbuckling party:
A worm on a fishing hook for an angler cookie set.
And, of course, the intended use of the cutter:
Moral of the story?
Look outside the BELL when designing your cookies!
Santa cutters? To make mermaids? Yup! Let's just say that it's my own little "Christmas in July" party. I love being able to re-purpose cutters! I realize that it's a gift that I have that not everybody has. Other people can sing and dance and reach the the top shelf of their kitchen cabinet without a stool. Me? I can make a mermaid from a Santa cutter. #winning
So which Santa cutters did I use for these cuties?
This Santa cutter is my current favorite to make Santa cookies. It comes in a set with some other Wilton holiday cutters. Find it here.
This cutter is Wilton's Santa comfort grip cutter. Find it here.
I try to stick to my *average* sized cookie (say 3.25"-3.5") when I complete my orders. It's ingrained in me, through my attempts at keeping things even-steven between my boys. Otherwise known as my attempt at World Peace.
Sometimes, I still purchase mini cutters or extra big cutters because you just never know when you'll need them. Lo and behold, an oversized Santa makes a great mermaid too! Find this cutter here.
So don't neglect those "out of season" cutters. You might just find a shape that will work perfectly for your design!
Ah, mistletoe. One of the more intriguing plants of the holiday season. The shiny green leaves, the little pearl-white berries. It's so pretty! Sought out by couples to share a smooch underneath, while others avoided it like the plague. Some take it's parasitic nature to heart, and prey merciless upon me, even if I'm five feet away. . . ahem, Cookie Widower (my hubby). :)
I was inspired by Sugarbelle's hydrangeas and wanted to use her
technique to create a cookie mistletoe. It's sweet and simple!
Start with a scalloped circle cookie dough shape and use a really small, round cutter to make a hole. A floured icing tip could work for this too. I made a large hole because I knew I would thread a wide ribbon through it later. If you're planning on using a thinner ribbon for the bow and hanger, use a drinking straw or skewer to create a smaller hole in the cookie dough.
After the cookie is baked and cooled, flood the cookie with a light green color. Let this base dry well.
Time to make the background! I made a simple stencil using a plastic food container lid. I drew the shape with a marker and cut with a craft knife.
I used Amerimist Avocado to airbrush the stencil in a random pattern.
Other green shades would work too!
Use a 20-second green royal icing to randomly pipe puffy green leaves. Add a few royal icing white berries and allow to dry.
.After your mistletoe ball is thoroughly dried, it's time to add the ribbon
bow and hanger. I used 7/8" wide ribbon, because I wanted a BIG bow. Thread a long piece of ribbon through the hole in the decorated cookie
(I used about 20" of ribbon). Lay the ribbon flat and straight.
Cut a second piece of ribbon (I used about 12"). Center it under the first ribbon. Tie it in a bow around the stretched out ribbons. Slide the knotted bow down to the top of the cookie.
Finally, tie a knot at the end of the stretched-out ribbons.
I just love this little mistletoe ball! They would be great to hang on a tree!
Or maybe decorate BOTH sides of the cookie and hang in a doorway,
just in time to steal a kiss from a loved one!
Better yet, pair them with the cute Winter Foxes that I shared
in a guest post on Sugarbelle's blog! While you're there, check out the
mistletoe and other stunning rustic-Christmas designs she made with
her Brown Sugar Roll-Out Cookies!
The East Coast is under attack from a phenomenon called the Polar Vortex. This air mass, usually in place in the Arctic, has decided to migrate south for a day or two. Sort of like a little mini vacation. So here in Maryland, we're expected to dive into single digit temperatures, with wind gusts over 30mph, resulting in below-zero wind chills. Schools are closing, people are putting extra blankets on their beds, buying extra toilet paper and so on. I can just imagine the mocking conversations in Russia over the clinking of vodka glasses-"they don't know what cold really feels like!".
In addition to the cold temps, the Vortex has brought something else from the Arctic- PENGUINS! So what can you do on a extra cold winter's day? Bake sweets, of course! And these penguins are dressed for the weather!
Do you recognize the cutter that made these cuties? Hopefully you snagged it up this holiday season.
It's the Wilton snowman with hat. It's super versatile! A little trim here or there and you have a cutter for all occasions. Let me show you!
Turn the snowman upside down. Use a round cutter to create a curved mark where you will remove his hat. Go ahead and trim it off. Bake as usual.
After baking, we want to mark the boundary between the white and black colors of our penguin. Grab a heart cutter, an oval, and a food marker. Trace the top of the heart cutter to create the V-line for the penguin's face or the "hairline" (which is weird to say since penguins don't have hair. So "feather-line"?) Then trace the oval cutter to create the body of the penguin. Can you see the faint yellow line in the picture above?
Of course you could just eyeball it too and save yourself the time of getting out the extra cutters.
Time to get out your royal icing! I used a 20-second royal icing in white and black. Here's the steps:
1. Outline the head and body with white icing.
2. Immediately flood the head and body with the white. Let it crust. I waited about 30 minutes in front of an oscillating fan. The cookie, not me. :)
3. Use black royal icing to fill in the outer part of the penguin body. Pipe the eyes while you're at it. Let it crust.
4. Make the wings with the black icing. Let dry for a few hours.
Time to get dressed for the weather! I added scarves, ear muffs, hats, and some mittens too. And some snowballs. . .
Ouch. I hate getting hit with snowballs. But I sure like to throw them!
Keep warm out there everyone!
Time to break out the vodka, to clean my airbrush of course!
"Oh, I want crabs for Christmas. Oh, only crabs will do. Oh, I want crabs for Christmas. My Christmas wish'll come true!". If you are from Maryland, you can thank me for getting this little Christmas diddy stuck in your head for the rest of the day. For those of you who are thinking "what on Earth?", here's the inside scoop: "Crabs for Christmas" is the holiday song written over 30 years ago by David DeBoy. In the song, a Maryland man is stuck in the Houston airport on Christmas Eve where he stumbles upon Santa. Desperately missing his Maryland home, he sits upon Santa's lap and wishes for something near and dear to many Marylanders' hearts- steamed Maryland Blue Crabs.
Since I had some leftover dough, and I had that song stuck in my head from hearing it on the radio, I thought it was the perfect time to make some special Maryland Christmassy cookies. Time to break out my crab cutters!
As I attempted to decide which cutter I would use for my Crabby Christmas cookies, I started to feel a little like Goldilocks.
Whoowee! That's a BIG crab. Too Big.
An itsy bitsy crab. Cute, but too small.
Just the right size! Score! Although the number of legs isn't anatomically accurate (the biologist in me was REALLY bothered by this), I made do with it. Mark my words: I WILL be ordering a specially made crab cutter by Plastics In Print- they make special order cookie cutters! Maybe I'll get a Maryland lighthouse too!
May these crabs bring memories of lazy summer days. . .
and bring sweetness to your holiday season.
And may you find something you love beneath your tree!
My crabby gift to you- My recipe for Maryland Crab Dip. Hope you like it!
Maryland Crab Dip
1 lb backfin crabmeat
2- 8oz cream cheese, softened
4 oz sour cream
1 tsp mayo
2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBL+ Old Bay Seasoning (it isn't Maryland crab dip without it!)
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
shredded cheddar cheese
Blend all ingredients EXCEPT the crab. I use a hand mixer- it's faster for me. Gently fold in the crab meat. Top with cheese. Bake in a 350F oven until warm throughout. Or be like me- I put my crab dip in one of those mini crock pots at the warm setting so that it can be enjoyed longer. Like nibbled on all day :) Just stir it often. Serve with baguette slices, or club crackers, or just eat it plain! Or even spoon it over grilled chicken for Chesapeake Chicken. Yummy!
Is there a holiday song that is applicable to your neck of the woods? Maybe there's a 'Have a Cheesy Christmas' song played in Wisconsin? Or maybe 'Rudolph the Rodeo Reindeer' in Texas? Tell me about it!
I am the only female in my house, besides the cat. Since I am surrounded by football equipment, Legos, excessive bodily noises, and a wide array of strategically ditched socks, I sometimes long for delicate and frilly kinds of things. Since my cat wouldn't be too happy in me dressing her up in floral frocks, and my husband forbids pink ruffles in our bedroom, I sometimes have to make cookies that are, well, girlie. Even Christmas trees.
I must say that this design was a complete accident. I was in a hurry and wanted a quick green Christmas tree and it just happened. And I liked it. So then I decided to do it again, and even adding in a little pink flair. Let me show you!
To make ruffles on cookies, you need two things: really stiff icing, and a rose petal tip.
I turned the tree upside down, and piped the bottom branches first. You don't have to pipe it upside down, but I find that the ruffles lay nicer when I do. Start with the largest tip (the 104) and hold it so that the fat side of the tip is closest to the cookie and the decorating bag is at a 45 degree angle. Using an even amount of pressure, wiggle the bag as you pipe across the cookie.
After the first row of ruffle, immediately pipe the second row and allow the ruffles to overlap. If the icing is stiff enough, they will keep their shape and not fall into one another. Unless that's the look you are going for.
Now switch to the next sized smaller tip, the 103. Layer several more rows. You can mix it up by not wiggling the bag as much as you pipe. Finish it up by switching to the smallest petal tip, and layering the final ruffles.
Drop on a few sugar pearls, and add the tree base (although this should probably be done first, but I forgot).
Super fast, super cute! Mix it up by alternating colors, even ombre shades (which is on my to-do list this week).
Best of all, my boys will even eat them. And they're ruffles. Pink ones at that!
I have an obsession with decorated gingerbread. Some (aka my kids) might even call it an unhealthy addiction. I love everything about it- the smell, the color, the taste, and of course, decorating it. This love affair has been going on for a LONG time. Here's the story of how we met.
I'm Amy. Wife, Mom, former science teacher- and now full time cookie baker on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Pull up a chair and we create! I'll bring the coffee- maybe Mike (The Cookie Widower) will make it for us.