The magic of great cookies: Thinking outside of the box


Double, double  toil and trouble, oven burn and icing bubble. Umm, well, not quite but I tried. Poetry may not be my thing but cookies are and have I got some great news for you.

These  potion and lotion bottle cookies are a breeze to make with the potion bottle cookie cutters in your collection.

You and I  love cookie cutters and have boxes and boxes full of them, so I know there have to be some bottle-shaped cutters in here somewhere.

Spoons, eggs, ornaments… no bottles

carrots, squares, more ornaments… still no bottles

a haunted house, and dog bones in 4 sizes, but NO bottles! What is a busy baker to do?!

I tell you what we’re going to do. We’re going to climb outside of the box, put on our thinking caps and rock out some amazing potion bottle cookies using what we’ve go on hand.  Those nested egg cutters have already started me thinking…

I’ll make a batch of Holiday Butter Cookies. If you cut the dough out like this…

And use a carrot cutter like this…

and perhaps a piece of spoon shaped cookie…

How can we make them fit together? Let’s cut out a little bit of the egg and press the base of the spoon in to fill the gap…

HEY! Check it out! I’d say those potions bottles would rival ones in Professor Snape’s cupboard any day.

To keep the bottles from weeble-wobbling let’s trim off the bottom of the egg with a bench knife.

I wonder what other shapes we can make from our pile of cutters?

Did you ever notice that a house had a bottle inside of it? Once the roof comes off, the possibilities are endless.

Let’s use this handy pastry roller to help seal the two pieces of cookie dough together. This will prevent seams and help the cookie stay stronger.

It’s a good  idea to cut and shape on parchment paper too. Then each unique cookie will stay in the best possible shape and you don’t have to worry about using a spatula to transfer them around the kitchen.

You guys are genius! I see some really unusual combinations here. Is that half of an ornament on top of a trimmed haunted house bottle?

Once those cookies bake up and are iced with Royal Icing, you’d never know that they weren’t cut from the best copper cutters on the market. For the step by step on making the icing and covering the cookies, go to our cookie decorating blog here.

Now, how can we jazz them up with a little color? I’m crazy for piping intricate little details on each cookie, but there aren’t any piping bags in the drawer and no zip lock bags in the pantry.

We’ve got some great gel paste food colors here.  Hmm, what about this bag of brand new sponges?

So much fun! I haven’t sponge painted in years! Cookies iced with Royal Icing that has dried overnight are a perfect blank canvas.

The gel paste on its own is a bit too thick. You can thin it down with any clear liquor ( I like to use vodka) or any clear extract. Just a few drops does the trick.

You can cover the whole cookie…

Or use just the tip to create patterns. Try cutting the sponges in different shapes too.

You don’t even have to ice the cookies first. You can sponge paint right on a dry, cool cookie.

Need a little detail? How about a Q-tip? A dip, a press and a twist…

The neatest little circles you could ask for. For the best coverage, wait a bit and dip/twist again.

The potion bottles are looking great! Now, how can we tell everyone what’s in each bottle?  Well, we could write on them with Fooddoodlers edible markers.

We could even write on dried blobs of Royal Icing and then…

Attach with a daub of more icing.

These edible markers are great for outlining and adding details too. Don’t you just love the way those sponge painted colors blended together?

Of course, who am I to stop you from using colored sugar and icing to your heart’s content? If that’s your preferred way of decorating, you go for it!

Remember our first three cookies? I’m so enchanted with how we transformed them from eggs and carrot pieces to unique and beautiful bottles.  (I guess the genie must have escaped from the red bottle, keep your eyes open for her).

I hope you’ve been inspired by our trip through the cookie cutter cupboard. Thanks to SweetSugarBelle for providing inspiration with her leprechaun blog on how to use the cutters in your stash in new and different ways. I’m amazed and in awe of her talent.

Got a great cookie idea? Have a cookie cutter story to share? Be sure to leave us a comment below.

Have a great cookie photo to share? We’d love to see it on our photo wall on Facebook.

MaryJane Robbins

MaryJane Robbins grew up in Massachusetts and moved to Vermont 20 years ago. After teaching young children for 15 years, she changed careers and joined King Arthur Flour in 2005. MaryJane began working on King Arthur Flour's baker’s hotline in 2006, and the blog team ...


  1. Jenn from Much to My Delight

    Wow. I am seriously impressed. I wish I had the patience and eye for detail that you have. I love looking at (and eating!) gorgeously detailed cookies, but will likely never recreate them myself. But that’s what blogs are for right…eye candy! Thanks for sharing yours! They’re really beautiful.

    MJ finds cookie inspiration everywhere! I’m proud to say we’re work neighbors – now if some of that cookie decorating patience would ooze it’s way over…..Irene @ KAF

  2. sweetsugarbelle

    Super super cool! Definitely sharing. Creative cutting IS my favorite subject!!! These are great!
    *fanning self* Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod! It’s SWEETSUGARBELLE! I am so flattered that you saw the blog and commented. You are definitely one of my heroes and inspirations. Thank you so, so much. *thinks to self “stop blathering!”. Sorry, thanks, really. :) ~ MaryJane

  3. lunatuna

    10 points to Slytherin, for mentioning Professor Snape and potions!!!!

    Your cookies would make even a Death Eater happier! ;)
    Too funny Luna! My daughter is taking chemistry this semester, and her textbook is labeled “Potions”. :) ~ MaryJane

  4. sjw55110

    Very creative! I too have hundreds of cookie cutters and love it when I find a dual use for them-this has my mind racing. Thanks for the inspiration, I can’t wait to start dreaming up ideas for this years Christmas cookie day.
    Awesome! Have a great time creating and let me know what you come up with. ~ MaryJane

  5. "Paul from Ohio"

    someone surely has an eye for shapes and oh so creative creative creative decorating….if this doesn’t get the Halloween cookies created and plated up for visitors, not sure what will. Amazing.
    I’m just a big kid really, I like to play. I still have the Dragon’s Breath cookie on my desk, it just makes me smile. ~ MaryJane

  6. ymscoyle

    WOW, Mary Jane, I’m impressed! And your enthusiasm and fun loving attitude make me smile. Still hoping to make it to VT sometime soon! FYI, I did buy the mini tools you recommended, and have already put them to use in a way I would not have thought of. They were very helpful to get muffins out of the pan. Thanks again!
    I’m so glad the tools are working for you. I can’t find my little straight red one now, so looks like I might need a new set myself. Hope you get to try the cookies and sponge painting soon. ~ MaryJane

  7. pnut52

    I think these are very, very clever! I love the idea of mixing up cookies cutters you already own – I have hundreds! These are just darned cute and would work into a “princess” party too.

  8. JuliaJ

    Can you post the link to the mini tool set that ymscoyle referred to?

    Years ago, I bought KA’s melamine tool set with a mini red spatula, a yellow flat-ended spoon and a dark green flat-ended slotted spoon. I wish you still offered them as the red spatula broke and I lost the dark green spoon. I used them all the time and miss them greatly.

    Sure, go for it, Julia. And I’ll pass along your feedback on the set we used to sell – I still have the little red spatula from mine. That was a surprisingly useful bunch of tools, wasn’t it? PJH

    Here’s the link to the mini tool set we were talking about. It’s great for so many things. ~ MaryJane

  9. Teresa F.

    Wow. Wow! Who’d have thunk you can mix and match cutter shapes to get what you want or make up something new! Its brilliant. I don’t decorate cookies much, but these are beautiful. I also like the idea and versatility of the edible markers. I own a few handfuls of cutters, but their usefulness has just doubled if not tripled! I’m going to start thinking of new shapes that can be generated with what I have. And I’ll be getting some of those markers! Thanks!!
    Wonderful Teresa! Isn’t it great to share ideas across the miles? Be sure to share pictures with us on Facebook or Twitter of your creations! ~ MaryJane

  10. bwhite50

    Cookie cutter story (stop me if I’ve already told this one): 4 year old niece insists on using the “antique” reindeer cutter. It was my grandmother’s and it’s cute as all get out, but the feet are so slender it’s tough to get them out. Fast forward to end of the day, little Miss Mollie has a tin of cookies she made herself for her mommy and she is VERY happy. She’s admiring them and then discovers that one of the reindeer feet have broken off. Horrors! Dramatics and toddler meltdown ensues. And somehow in the middle of all this, she decides it’s all my fault!! Aack. I finally figure out how to glue the foot back on and Mollie recovers. The next day, my mom confesses that she pinched it off and ate it. I couldn’t believe she sat there and let me take the heat. Her response was “Hey, I’m the Gan-Gan. I’m not throwing myself under the bus!” it’s good to be the matriarch, I guess.
    I can relate to this one! Isn’t it amazing how grandparents can do no wrong? I guess someday it will be our turn :-) ~Amy


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