The Cookie Stamp: The Tool Your Grandmother Failed to Mention

The Cookie Stamp

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Cookie Stamps are trending big right now and with good reason. For such a seemingly simple and inexpensive tool, cookies go from boring and mundane to edible works of art. Nordic Ware Geo Cast Cookie Stamps has recently launched several cookie stamp designs, sold in sets of three, that are engineered to create perfect imprints. Alternatively, if you are interested in standing out from the crowd, Etsy offers some old-school, one-of-a-kind finds, including springerle boards, textured rolling pins, and stamps made of wood, glass, or clay. Lastly, if you are feeling even more adventurous, do what we did and set off to your local antique mall. There is a chance you will score big on a vintage press while supporting local businesses and upping your sustainability factor. Whichever way you decide to acquire your gorgeous new stamp, see our notes below for recommendations on how to use this luxurious cookie tool.

Springerle board
Springerle board found at local antique mall. Photo Credit: Created by Author.

Tip #1: The cookie recipe.

Finding a great cookie recipe can make or break stamped cookies, and it may take a little trial and error to see what works best for each individual’s environment and oven. Look for a dough recipe that maintains shape while baking and allows highlights to come through the dough. As a general rule, sugar cookies, shortbreads, and gingerbreads tend to hold shape best, and simply performing an internet search for a stamped cookie dough recipe will return several delectable results. Want a tested recipe? Check out our spicy Soft Lemon Gingerbread Cookie recipe which comes together quickly and stamps up beautifully.

Tip #2: Chilling the dough.

Chilling the cookie dough before or after stamping may be necessary to get a perfect impression. If the dough feels warm and looks shiny or is too pliable after it comes out of the mixer, cover the dough and place it in the fridge for 10-30 minutes before working with it.

After stamping and shaping the dough, place the cookies on sheet pans and set the pans in the fridge while the oven is preheating. Chilling the raw dough again for about 15 minutes before baking will help set the decoration.

Tip #3: Stamping the cookies.

When using a cookie stamp, make sure that the surface of the stamp is well floured before pressing each cookie to reduce sticking. Alternatively, applying granulated sugar to the surface of the dough can help reduce sticking and prevent any unwanted flour on the cookie after baking.

The ball method: Roll your dough into a ball the desired size or use a cookie scoop to portion out dough balls. (A two tablespoon scoop works well for a cookie press that is 3 ½ inches in diameter). If you are using granulated sugar, roll the ball in sugar at this step, or dip your cookie stamp in flour before each use. Place the dough balls onto a greased cookie sheet. Using a cookie stamp, press down gently, but firmly, and make a small circular motion. Continue the circular motion as you bring the stamp up, as this helps reduce any suction created between the stamp and the dough. Use a cookie cutter to clean the edges of the cookie.

The roll out method: This method gives the added control of getting the entire stamp imprint on the dough and creates a precisely level cookie with even thickness. Place the dough between two large sheets of parchment. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to about one-third inch thick. Because working the dough can cause it to warm up, it may be necessary to chill the sheet of dough before stamping. Transfer the dough to the fridge for about 10 to 15 minutes to allow the dough to firm. After chilling the dough, press the design into the dough using a well-floured cookie stamp. Cut out the designs using a knife or a cookie cutter, and transfer to a greased cookie sheet.

If using an embossed rolling pin, roll out the dough as described above. Prepare the embossed rolling pin by dusting the pin with flour, taking care to get in the crevices of the design. Using one fluid motion, gently but firmly roll the textured pin over the dough. Cut out desired shapes and transfer to a greased cookie sheet.

Tip #4: Using a cookie cutter or a knife for cleaner edges.

We found that stamping the dough first, then cutting the outline, allows for perfectly defined edges. For round cookies, choose a cookie cutter that is about the same size or just slightly bigger than your cookie stamp. You may also want to use a smaller cookie cutter and highlight portions of the stamp, or a larger cookie cutter and get multiple stamps in one cookie. If the desired-sized cookie cutter isn’t readily available, don’t worry. There is no need to run out and buy special tools. The rim of a cup, or a paring knife can also be used to create clean edges. For square cookies, cutting clean lines using a knife and a ruler or a large bench scraper works well.

Speculaas. Cookie dough embossed and cut into squares
Speculaas stamped with a springerle board found at a local antique mall. Photo Credit: Created by Author.

Tip #5: Icing your cookies.

Icing stamped cookies is optional and the results are dependent on the color of the cookie dough and the depth of the stamp. Gingerbread cookies can look ultra-impressive when iced, as the icing creates a dramatic effect by highlighting contour and contrasting color. However, not all cookies ice well, and when applied on lighter-colored cookies, the icing can phase out designs and make the cookie appear one dimensional. If unsure, make a small batch of the icing recipe below, and test on one cookie before icing the rest.

To ice multiple cookies, mix 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar with 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of water. (You can also add flavoring or citrus zest at this step, but note that the amount of water will need to be adjusted for any added liquid). Add the liquid to the powdered sugar slowly, as the icing only needs a surprisingly small amount of water to come together. You want the icing to be thin enough to be brushable, which is about the same viscosity as light maple syrup. Add a few drops of water if the mixture is too thick or more powdered sugar if the mixture is too thin. While the cookies are still warm to touch, lightly brush the sugar mixture onto each cookie using a pastry brush. One coat of icing will give the cookie a glass-like appearance after drying. Two coats create a more frosted appearance.

Lemon Gingerbread Cookie
Variations in icing thickness. Photo Credit: Created by Author.

This recipe ices approximately 12 large cookies, or 20 smaller cookies, and the icing hardens fairly quickly. The cookies will be ready to eat in just minutes, but allow at least one hour before stacking the cookies.

Tip #6: Impress your friends.

With a stunningly-crafted, stamped cookie, some friends won’t know whether to eat your cookies or frame them as works of art. You will want to remind them to eat them.

              

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Sandi received a masters degree from the University of Florida in Food Science and Human Nutrition and a bachelors degree in Biomedical Sciences. Her passion in life is baking and she also loves food photography. When she is not playing with flour and butter, you can find her fishing, golfing, surfing or in the pottery studio crafting her own bakeware.