I’ve never liked to eat my own words, until now. But when I spotted the adorable, customizable ‘Message in a Cookie’ Cookie Cutters in the Williams-Sonoma catalog, I had to have them. Right away. And since we’re gearing up to make care packages for our Adopt an MP effort, this week seemed like an excellent time to try them out. (Join us! We still need volunteers.) So what could go wrong? Let me spell it out for you: P-L-E-N-T-Y. But if you avoid my mistakes, these cookies will become your new favorites — and a clever addition to an R&R or good-luck-in-boot-camp party.
The cookie cutter kit includes three cookie cutters: one heart, one star, and one scalloped rectangle. It also includes three full sets of alphabet letters, plus extras of popular letters, such as “s.” You can use those individual letters to make custom messages like “We missed u Private” or “Hooah CPT More.” Aren’t these cookies the cutest things ever?
For perfectly pretty cookies the first time, follow these five tips.
#1. Watch your ABCs—and Es. Trouble can ensue because the individual letters must be slid into place backward and in reverse — essentially their mirror image — so that when they are stamped into cookies they read like English, not Pig Latin. Can you spot the two errors below?
I didn’t catch my mistakes until I’d rolled and stamped my first batch (below). All the “E”s are backward. And I misspelled “Hooah” — which is a military yell that means everything from “Yes!” to “Hell, yes!” — as “hoohah” — which means a disturbance or uproar. (See tip #4 to discover the third flub shown here.)
#2. Remember: Baking soda is evil. I’m not sure what possessed me, but instead of using the sugar cookie recipe provided with the kit, I used one from my favorite cookbook. Oops! My recipe called for baking powder, which makes the cookies rise. That is great when you’re dealing with, say, chocolate chip cookies. But when you want the letters you stamped on the cookie tops to stay readable? Well, here is what happens:
#3. Skip the flour dip. The kit’s instructions recommend dipping the cutters into flour just before using to prevent them from sticking to the dough. Perhaps that trick will work well for you. When I did it, the flour got stuck in the letter indentations in the dough and looked messy after baking. (Although the flour spots were clearly the least of my cookie problems.)
#4. Be gentle. When cutting the cookies, don’t push the letter plunger all the way down. Instead, press it down about halfway — maybe less — to make a perfect imprint. Avoid cutting through the dough.
#5. Practice makes perfect. Five batches later: Success! The cookies are sweet to eat — and to look at.
I originally planned to use these cookies in care packages, but they are somewhat fragile. I’m guessing they’ll break if sent overseas. (I’ll test them out for a future post.) But I’ll definitely use them for a special military celebration. And this time, I will keep a dictionary close by.