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Cookie cutter classics; Clinton woman shares passion in national collectors club.

Byline: Barbara M. Houle

Most of us collect something. Barbara Paisner of Clinton has a passion for cookie cutters.

She's not alone.

Paisner belongs to the national Cookie Cutter Collectors Club, a group of approximately 650 men and women nationwide who share cookie-related information at meetings, conventions and through a quarterly newsletter, Cookie Crumbs. A Cookie Cutter Historical Museum is located in Joplin, Mo.

This month, Paisner held a CCCC regional luncheon meeting at her home, where guests were treated to a pre-Halloween bash complete with lots of collectibles.

The host stirred up a witch's cauldron and invited guests to "dig for cutters" rather than the traditional Halloween "dunk for apples." Some of the cutters were rare finds.

By all reports, guests had a howl.

One of the "hottest" cutters at Halloween is the antique black cat, according to Paisner, who said cookies dressed up as black cats were very popular at the CCCC meeting. The collector who brought the cookies had used an antique carnival mask as the model for her cutter, she said.

"You wouldn't believe how many black cats are out there," Paisner said. You can find scary cats and smiling ones, too. Some cats are sitting, while others are lying down or hunched, she said. "Go on eBay, and you'll be blown away at the variety of cookie cutters up for bid."

Cookie cutters can go for 25 cents or hundreds of dollars, Paisner said. New or antique, cutters can be made from tinplate, stainless steel, wood, plastic or copper. The 3-D cutters are very collectible, she said.

There are CCCC members, including Paisner, who make custom and stock cutters. Many of them are artists or coppersmiths, according to Paisner, who said she got hooked on cookie cutters when as a teen she helped her mother make and decorate Christmas cookies. "The cutouts my mother used were quite special," she said.

She became a serious collector when a friend gave her a gift certificate to a cake decorating class. "I really got into it," she said. "I bought cutters at antique sales, yard sales, flea markets. Anywhere I could find them. I couldn't get enough.

"That's how it begins with anything you collect," she said. "You pick up one, then two. It becomes addictive."

Recently, Paisner decided to sell some of her duplicates. "Don't ask me why, but we (collectors) always end up with two or three of the same cookie cutters. I guess when you have so many, you can forget what you have," she said. "Cookie cutters don't take a lot of space to store. Maybe that's one of the reasons I collected so many."

Christmas is when Paisner pulls out some of her favorite cutters. "I don't mind making the cookies," she said. "It's decorating them that takes the most time." It takes her about an hour to decorate a Santa cut-out. "It's not just Santa, but each toy in his bag," she said.

If you have an interest in cookie cutters or related items, such as cookie molds or cookie jars, go to for more information about the Cookie Cutter Collectors Club. Contact Paisner at for information about collectors in New England.

Get that cookie artistry working! The holidays are closing in.

OK. Pick up a few cookie cutters and have a little fun this Halloween.

Barbara Paisner said a basic sugar cookie recipe will work if you want to roll out a few cookie treats.

Use a smooth, glossy royal icing in Halloween or fall hues to dress them up.

Jill Snider, author of "Cookies: More Than 200 Recipes" (Robert Rose, $22.95), offers great tips for novice and experienced cookie makers.

She writes, "When making cutout cookies, dip your cutter in flour to keep it from sticking to the dough. Cut the cookies as close together as you can. You can re-roll the scraps, but the less you handle the dough, the more tender your cookies will be.

Terrific recipes in the book. Wrap a copy with a few cookie cutters to give as a gift.

This sugar cookie recipe, used to make lollipops, is from Martha Stewart Living:


2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Colored sanding sugar or sprinkles (preferably black and orange)

24 wooden ice-pop sticks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until combined. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture; mix just until combined (do not overmix).

If using two colors of sanding sugar, place each in a separate shallow dish (or combine them in one). Roll dough into balls, using 1-1/2 tablespoons for each. Roll in sanding sugar, pressing lightly to coat completely. Insert a wooden stick in center of each ball; place on baking sheets, about 1-1/2 inches apart, with wooden sticks lying horizontally.

Lightly press down on each ball with the bottom of a glass to flatten slightly. Bake until edges are golden and crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer cookies immediately to a wire rack to cool completely.


CUTLINE: (1) Barbara Paisner of Clinton with Halloween black cat cookie cutters. She is a member of the national Cookie Cutter Collectors Club.

Black cats dressed up for holiday fun. (2) An example of a copper cookie cutter by Simon. John Newton is the New England artist who creates the cutters. Visit for information about him.

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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Oct 24, 2007
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