cactus cookie cutter set components and boxAt CraftDirect, we've wanted to do a Sweet Sugarbelle cookie-cutter project for quite some time, so I took the opportunity this Christmas break. I visited my nieces (ages 13 and 9) and nephew (age 4) in Georgia where it was bitter cold and gray, the type of weather that is perfect for cookie baking. Everyone was happy to participate, and we all had fun. The great thing about Sweet Sugarbelle cookie cutters is their products make it easy to create intricate sugar cookie designs using stencils and other helpful accessories.

Getting Started

Because I'm from Arizona, I thought the kids would like to get a little taste of the desert, so I selected the Cactus Cookie Cutter Set. It includes two cookie cutters, two templates, and two instruction cards. In addition to that, we used Disposable Piping Bags and a few household utensils, like butter knives and spatulas. Since we've been selling Sweet Sugarbelle, I've wondered what the templates look like. It turns out they are made of thin, clear plastic. You punch out the shapes to get the positive and the negative stencil:

plastic templates for adding details to cookie cutter shapes

With many recipes, the cookie dough must sit in the fridge for a couple of hours so remember to take that into account. You probably have a sugar cookie recipe (we used my sister's). If you don't have one, Sweet Sugarbelle suggests you use theirs (which doesn't need to sit in the fridge). Here are the ingredients:

  •  1 c. {two sticks} of REAL unsalted BUTTER, softened
  •  1 1/2 c. confectioner’s sugar
  •  1 egg
  •  2-3 tsp flavoring {pick what you like, I prefer almond}
  •  2 1/2-2 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
  •  2 tsp. baking powder
  •  1 tsp. salt

And for step-by-step baking instructions, we suggest you read their blog post about it.

Cutting Your Cookies Out

Once your dough is ready, it's time to cut the shapes out with the cookie cutters. Rolling out the cookie dough was probably the highlight for the younger kids. They seemed to have a lot of fun with it, though this means it took twice as much time as it needed to. We had a saboteur on our hands who was destroying perfectly cut cookies so he could roll the dough out again.

For a clean-cut, it helps to put a little flour on the blade of the cookie cutter. My sister has old, tiny cookie cutters that kept my nephew busy. They are great for making use of the last scraps of dough. I thought it'd be helpful if Sweet Sugarbelle released a mini-set. I'll put that in their suggestion box.

making frosting for sugar cookies

While the cookies are baking, you can make the frosting. It doesn't take long, and it's a great way to fill the time. We made four different colors: pink, green, white, and black.

decorating cactus sugar cookies

Decorating the Cookies

The Piping Bag Set comes with a #2 stainless steel tip, which is good for the small details, like the black and white. But with pink and green, we found it easier to use paintbrushes and spatulas. You can lay it on thicker with a spatula, and it saves you time. If you want to streamline the design process, then get the whole Basic Tool Set. You'll have all the best solutions for decorating.

In every case, the green and pink went on first and then after those colors dried, we used the stencil to address the precise details. For the most part, my nieces decorated free-hand and did not follow the templates. My nephew made no attempts at decorating and frosted for taste and ate as he went. I think it all turned out great.

[caption id="attachment_5660" align="aligncenter" width="679"]finished cactus sugar cookie designs Pictured at the top in the middle is the only cookie that strictly followed a template. It's fun no matter how you do it, but you can see the difference in result.[/caption]

Conclusion: Fun and Easy

If you're looking for a project to entertain kids of all ages, this is a great way to go. The kids were entertained for a couple of hours and then we had delicious treats to enjoy. The cookie-cutter sets are affordable and produce delightful results.

eating sweet sugarbelle cactus cookies

Please fire away with any questions in the comment section below.

by Nathan Baker