It sounds like a lot of you have baking dishes sitting around that you aren't sure how to use.
The unintended consequence of these posts has been that readers have emailed and Tweeted to ask me to write a 10 Things to Do with [insert each person's unused kitchen gadget here]. I'm here to serve, my Dear Reader.
The first request I received was
What can I do with my cookie cutters, besides cutting out sugar cookie dough?
Since it was the first request, that's where I'm going to start. This week, I'm going to give you suggestions for using the cookie cutters to make food beyond the standard Christmas cookies. Next week, I'll share suggestions for using cookie cutters for crafts and other non-food projects like salt dough ornaments.
10 Foods to Prepare with Cookie Cutters
You already knew I wasn't going to put cookies on the list, right? We all know that you can use cookie cutters to cut out all kinds of cookies.
- Cut out dessert. Any food that's firm enough to hold its shape can be cut. Fudge, Rice Krispies treats, brownies. What if you made a cheesecake-like batter in a bar pan and cut that with cookie cutters? Your only limit is your imagination.
- Make shaped omelets and pancakes. Make sure to use metal cookie cutters! These have always come out really well in our experience. I love to make heart-shaped pancakes for my kids on Valentine's Day.
- Decorate a pie. I love to put cute little designs in the top crust of a pie. Sometimes, I'll take the shapes I've cut and put them on top of another pie, like a pumpkin. The little designs give the pie something extra.
- Cake decorating. You can use the cookie cutters to make impressions in a cake's frosting or to make a stencil for sprinkling colored sugar or sprinkles. We also used a tiny cookie cutter to cut fondant flowers for Grace's princess birthday cake.
- Make mini cakes. Use a cookie cutter to make shapes out of a shallow cake. Or, even better, tightly wrap the sides and bottom of a metal cookie cutter with foil and fill it with cake batter. Bake according to the recipe or package instructions, but check it frequently. The very small cake will cook very quickly. Frost as usual, or smooth a layer of icing, peanut butter, jelly, raspberry sauce, or chocolate ganache in between two cakes for a shaped whoopie pie.
- Ice cream shapes. Fill cookie cutters with slightly softened ice cream and refreeze until it's hard. You could cut out cookies or cake shapes and make ice cream sandwiches this way, too.
- Dress up a tray of appetizers, a plate of pasta, a pizza, potato salad, or any meal. Cheese, meats, vegetables like bell peppers, and fruit like apples and pears can all be cut and displayed on a tray, with other finger foods, or as a garnish on a meal. Wouldn't it be a crowd-pleaser if all of the pepperoni on your pizza were shapes?
- Sandwich shapes. Whether you're feeding a crowd of preschoolers or dinner party guests, everyone loves shaped food, right? Have you ever considered packing sandwiches shapes in your kids' school lunches?
- Salads. Use your cookie cutters to make the veggies in a garden salad fun shapes. It's even better if you use a theme, like a Zoo Salad. You could cut all of the veggies in the salad into animal shapes. I think even a picky kiddo would try that. You can do the same thing with a fruit salad. How about a flower fruit salad? Each of the fruits could be cut into a flower shape.
- Toast and butter. Use large cookie cutters to imprint buttered toast. If you're so inclined, you can dust inside (or outside) the cookie cutter with powdered sugar, cinnamon, or even colored sugar or sprinkles. Slice pats of butter a little thinner than usual, and use mini cookie cutters to cut them into shapes.
Make an Egg in the Hole by using a shape to cut out the center of a piece of toast, lay the toast in a hot skillet, then fry an egg inside. Or use the cookie cutters to make fun French toast shapes.
- Fruit. You can use small cookie cutters for patriotic fruit salad. I've used them to cut star shaped melon, peaches, apples, and more.
- Gelatin. I feel like this one is sort of a gimme. Remember the Jello Jigglers from the 1990s? We made Jello with less water than normal and cut it out into shapes. I did it when my kids were little, and they loved their jigglers.
Kids love cooking with cookie cutters, too! I got Kids Cook Real Food for my kids to learn how to cook using real tools in the kitchen, and it has made a world of difference for them.