Sunday, August 17, 2014

Cookie Season Means Vintage Cookie Cutters

Cookies or Biscuits? Whatever you call them I say YUM!

From 1952 Watkins company promotional cook book.

Cookie Season

Yes, cookie season is almost upon us and it is a joyful thing!  The days are cooler up here in the Blue Ridge Mountains of north Georgia and we are beginning to see the first signs that summer is over and nature is turning to fall.  So I've been getting my shop ready for cookie season.  There's something special about making baking sugar and gingerbread cookies a seasonal celebration and tradition.

I have some of the most fun cookie cutters which I've been saving for just the right time to list and all are now for sale in my Etsy shop.  I'm sharing them here along with some great new and vintage cookie recipes because, I confess, cookies are a weakness.

Buttery, tender, crispy, light melt in your mouth cookies can be your trademark gift at Christmastime and many people will looked forward to your "gift" package every year.  A tradition I adopted with my own special touches.

Vintage cookie cutters with red painted wooden handles. Click this link to view the listing on Etsy.

If you are looking to begin a cookie tradition at your house consider vintage when shopping for your cookie making supplies.  Vintage cookie cutters and presses are a great value and offer that special vintage vibe to help get you in the mood.  Vintage tin cookie cutter also make a grand display for your kitchen when you add a bit of greenery.  Or consider tying on red and white baker's twine, finished in a bow, and hang them on a small kitchen Christmas tree instead of ornaments.

Vintage Cookie Cutters Price Guide

While antique cookie cutters can be very expensive and cost over $100.00 dollars the cost of collecting vintage cookie cutters is in the very affordable category.  Online at Etsy sets for cutters in good condition average about $20.00 with individual cutters as little as $1.00 each not including shipping.  In my shop the most expensive set is $19.00 not including shipping.  Boxed sets in their original boxes will run more.

All the vintage cookie cutters in this post are for sale in my Etsy shop.  I mark them sold as they sell.  You can find a link to each listing under the photograph, which will take you directly to each listing.

Vintage Tin and Aluminium Cookie Cutters

An American Tradition

While the history of shaped cookies is rooted in Europe, they were mostly created with cookie molds.  Tin cookie cutters are a very American contribution to the cookie scene.  Taking traditional shapes from our European roots.

Vintage Tin Cookie Cutters Click this link to view the listing on Etsy.

I love the old shapes vintage tin cookie cutters offer.  How cute is the "gingerbread" cat cookie cutter?!

Vintage Christmas cookie cutters. Click this link to view the listing on Etsy.

In the 1940's shaped sugar cookies became an American specialty.  The aluminium cookie cutters below are from that time and were popular because they were easy to clean and care for.  I especially love the Scottie dog cutter.

Vintage 1940's Cookie Cutters Click this link to view the listing on Etsy. SOLD

Ina Garten taught me how to make a fantastic shortbread cookie, she could teach Hillary Clinton (a self professed non cookie baker) to bake the perfect shortbread cookie.  Here's a link Ina's video (with recipe) so you can learn too.  The trick is to not over work the dough.  Make sure to use a tin cookie cutter, the aluminium cutter are not deep enough and won't give you a clean edge.

I prefer to make gingerbread and shortbread cookies over sugar cookies at Christmas time.  I treat Ina's shortbread recipe as I would a sugar cookie rolling them just a little shy of a half and inch thick.  To keep the edges sharp and clean make after they've been cut, refrigerate the cookies on the sheet pan for 10 minutes.  Make sure you use parchment paper when baking so you don't chip or break your cookies when removing them from the pan.

Then decorate with using a variety of methods: colored sugar crystals, drizzled or dipped in chocolate ganach (sometimes adding chopped nuts), or hand pipped royal icing.  If you want to spice it up consider adding a teaspoon of cardamom or cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.  Cardamom was the "secret" to my Grandmother's popular spice cookies.  It is more expensive than cinnamon, but the unique flavor makes it worth the price.

Vintage Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutters. Click this link to view the listing on Etsy.

Large gingerbread men cookie cutters are braced to ensure they keep their shape.  Below a 1970's gingerbread family is a fun vintage set.  Made in the USA by Fox Run Craftsmen.

Vintage Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutters

Vintage Gingerbread Family Cookie Cutter Set. Click this link to view the listing on Etsy.

I've found the Better Homes and Gardens, New Cook Book, recipe for gingerbread produces a great finished product.
Vintage Gingerbread Man Woman and Children. Click this link to view the listing on Etsy.

They "age" nicely and actually get better with a little time exposed to air, which makes them perfect for wrapping in cellophane (tie the tops with raffia) and given in stacks or as single special treats.  They are adorable peeking out of the top of a Christmas stocking.

I keep decorating simple by pipping white royal icing when it is dry, spoon regular granulated sugar over the cookie and tip it over to remove the excess.  The finish cookie decoration is minimalist, understated and surprisingly sophisticated (as sophisticated as a gingerbread cookie can be).  For a special gift, arrange them in inexpensive baskets (which you can find at the Dollar Store) lined with crinkle cut shredded paper in a natural color as a cushion and wrap them in cellophane gift basket wrap tied off with raffia.  Make a gift tag from clean cardboard and you have an inexpensive, surprisingly stunning gift.

Spritzbaaken Cookie Recipe - For a Cookie Press  

Vintage Cookie Press by BlueBarnCollectibles on Etsy - Click this link to view the listing.

This is a very old family Spritzbaaken recipe.  It dates back well over 70 years and I've made an adjustment to update it to modern flour standards.

1 pound butter (use the real thing not margarine)
1 cup regular granulated sugar
1 egg plus 2 egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 1/2 cups plus one or two heaping tablespoons all purpose flour*

*Note:  The two heaping tablespoons of flour is an addition to make this recipe work.  Flour is lighter today than it was back then.  I sift after measuring to keep this cookie light, but sifting isn't required.  I hold back on one tablespoon of the extra flour and do a test cookie. If it comes out of the press nicely your good to go.  If it's too soft, add the second tablespoon of flour and mix again.

Cream butter until soft.  Gradually add sugar, creaming well after each addition, until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, egg yolks and vanilla.  Gradually blend in flour to make a soft dough.  Fill a metal cookie press with dough; press out into fancy shapes onto an ungreased cookie sheet; repeat.  Bake in a 350 degree over 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Vintage Tin Cookie Cutters are also used for Tea Sandwiches and Canapes

Vintage cookie cutters are also used to make tea sandwiches and cut bread for canapes.

Traditional shapes such as you see above do double duty in the kitchen and were used to make tea sandwiches and cut bread for canapes.  Make it fun, try some dark pumpernickel bread with cream cheese, smoked salmon with a touch of dill, or ham salad sandwich cut outs in the shape of spades, clubs, hearts and diamonds for your next poker night. You can usually get two cut outs per regular sized slices of bread.  For ease of preparation and to keep your edges sharp, make the sandwiches first then cut into shapes.

Whether it's for a special Mother Daughter tea, an after school treat, a cookie swap, or poker night vintage cookie cutters are a perfectly yummy collectible!  Have fun with them and your family and friends!