Whether it's baking with kids or adding an elegant touch to a holiday dessert spread, cookie cutters can make all the difference. Even the most practiced bakers and dessert artists use molds and cutters to perfect their creations, and there's no reason you can't do the same. Flex your best piping skills or let some of these molds do the outlining for you.
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While there are many shapes to choose from for cookie cutting, these are some of our favorites. The perfect linzers, thumbprints, and spitzbuben are made easy with these key tools. Get ready to make your most stunning cookies yet.
Round Cookie Cutters
For classic round cookies and sandwich cookies (like our spitzbuben), a set of graduated sizes of round cutters are great to have on hand. They store easily since they nest in the same container, and work for biscuits as well.
To buy: Ateco Plain Edge Round Cutters in Graduated Sizes, Stainless Steel 11-Piece Set, $15; amazon.com
For crisp, scalloped edges, biscuit cutters are the perfect tool. The sharp rims on these nesting biscuit cutters will work on the toughest dough, and the stainless steel is durable and rust-resistant for easy cleanup.
To buy: Fluted Biscuit Cutters, $16; williams-sonoma.com
Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter
For the most consistent gingerpeople to decorate during the holidays, a cookie cutter is simply the easiest way. Use any great ginger dough recipe and roll it out to press a set, or use this mold year-round for sugar cookies.
To buy: Copper Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter, $10; williams-sonoma.com
The right cookie stamps can make any sugar or shortbread cookies look like professional treats. This set from Nordicware is made from walnut wood and cast aluminum, a worthy investment. Just remember to coat them in flour before pressing, and chill the pressed dough for more defined shapes during baking.
To buy: NordicWare Heirloom Cast Cookie Stamps, 3-Piece, $25; williams-sonoma.com
Christmas Cookie Cutters
If the holidays are when you find yourself baking cookies the most, a core set of holiday cutters might be on your wishlist. This set has the standard eight designs: snowflake, gingerbread man, star, snowman, angel, tree, ornament, and a mitten.
To buy: Holiday Basic Cookie Cutter Set of 8, $10; williams-sonoma.com
Ann Clark Cookie Cutters
Ann Clark cookie cutters are famous for a reason. The brand offers every shape possible, as well as food dyes meant for icing decorations.
To buy: Ann Clark Sweater cookie cutter, $6; amazon.com
Alphabet Cookie Cutters
If you make cookies frequently, want to spell words for a special occasion, or do crafts with kids, look no further than this alphabet in cookie form. You can even use the numbers for a birthday cake topper—why not have cookies on the cake instead of candles? This set will come in handy one way or another, and it's top rack dishwasher-safe, too.
To buy: Wilton Alphabet and Number Cookie Cutter Set, $12; amazon.com
Thumbprint Cookie Cutters
Your favorite jammy thumbprint recipe just got an upgrade. These stamps make it easy to make dozens of consistent (and pretty) thumbprint shapes. The square, heart, and circular shapes are perfect for making sandwich cookies, too.
To buy: Williams Sonoma Thumbprint Cookie Stamps, Set of 3, $17; williams-sonoma.com
Star Wars Cookie Cutters
There's likely not a household left in America that doesn't have a Star Wars fan, young or old. This set of cookie cutters makes it easy to make and decorate your favorite classic characters.
To buy: Williams Sonoma Star Wars 8-Piece Cookie Cutter Set, $20; williams-sonoma.com
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