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Types and Designs of Cookie Cutters

Cookies are everyone's favorite snack. No matter what time of day, it seems that it becomes the ultimate comfort food for people of all ages. A cookie has to have a special taste - not bland and not too sweet. And with the texture, anything goes - whether chewy, crunchy, nutty or gooey, cookies will always be something good to sink your teeth into. It is no wonder everyone loves cookies, and to have them in fun shapes and designs can make munching on them even more special. Cookie cutters can range from the simple round ones to a more complicated cookie mold. Here are the different types of cookie cutters and designs you can find or make.

- Cutout style - This type of cookie cutter is normally made of food grade aluminum and the shape will be seen as the outline of the cookie. A snowman-shaped cutout cookie cutter will have two circles as an outline. Only the outline or the shape of the cookie can be made.

- Cookie stamps - Unlike the cutout style, cookie stamps can have the cookie bear the images on the top of the cookie. With cookie stamps, you can now see the eyes, nose, his scarf, and the smile of the snowman. However, cookie stamps will not bear the exact outline. Instead, it will also be stamped and the outline of the cookie will not follow the image. Cookie stamps are best for those cookies that have elaborate designs.

- Cookie molds - Just like any other mold, cookie molds are three dimensional. You can now see the entire body and shape of the snowman - exactly like the snowman in the porch, just way smaller and tastier.

- Cookie presses - With cookie presses, the dough comes out of the tube already shaped as desired. Instead of having to lay down the dough and cutout or stamp with the image, cookie presses have the dough inside the tube and mounted on the other end is the desired shape of the cookie.

As for designs, cookie cutter designs are generally seasonal. Come winter, popular cookie shapes are bells, snowflakes, snowmen, gift boxes, wreaths, Christmas trees, winter hats, ribbons, mittens, angels, poinsettias, or any other design associated with winter, Christmas, and the holiday season. Spring, fall, and summer will have their own popular cookie designs. Whether as a gift or for your own baking needs, cookie cutters are versatile, fun, and innovative.

To complete the fun look of your cookies, you can place them in colorful and printed tin cans or you can place them in special boxes. There are boxes that come in different shapes as well and you can choose from plain covers to ones that have a transparent window so they can immediately see the yummy cookie with the fun shape inside. Add a beautiful ribbon or if you have special printed ribbons, those can do the trick as well. Eating cookies, different cookie cutters, different cookie topping and flavors - well, just like Cookie Monster, we all love everything cookie.


Meat Tenderizer Tool - What's Old Is New Again

Many remember when they were a kid helping Mom to prepare a meal by getting the wonderful opportunity to take a mallet (unbeknownst to us at the time that it was a meat tenderizing tool) with these pointy little teeth on them and then being allowed to just whack the dickens out of a piece of meat. Not just allowed, but actually encouraged to do so! What a treat that was, although we often didn't know why we would get the chance to do it sometimes, but not every time, Mom was cooking meat. Well, know we know.

With tough economic times, it is not unusual for families to gravitate towards the cheaper, but tougher, pieces of meat to continue to provide protein in the family diet. Without a meat tenderizer method, some of these cuts, no matter how well they are prepared, just wind up like shoe leather. Very long ago, someone discovered a trick to avoid this, and that trick was to help to break down the membranes in the meat prior to cooking - enter the meat tenderizer tool.

A very simple, yet practical, solution for converting a tough cut of meat into a tender tasty entree, a meat tenderizer is inexpensive, doesn't take long to use in the preparation of the meat, and allows for wonderful flavors to be added by the use of marinades or additional seasonings. For all intent and purposes, there are three different primary styles of a meat tenderizer tool (outside of professional cubing machines used by your butcher):

1 Hammer or Mallet Style

Often made of wood or metal, the hammer or mallet style of meat tenderizer tool works much like pounding a nail where one will strike the meat with the hammer or mallet in one spot a number of times until that area softens and the membranes break down, One then simply moves to another area and repeats the process over again.

2 Hand Masher Style

Although physically configured differently from the hammer or mallet style, this upright designed meat tenderizer tool operates in the same fashion as described above by repeatedly striking the meat until the membranes break down.

3 Blade Style

Somewhat harder to describe with words, this style of meat tenderizer tool works kind of like a punch press where the blades extend through a footing on the tool after pressure is applied downward on the handle portion. This downward pressure forces a number of blades into the meat penetrating the meat and cutting the membranes to tenderize the meat.

Known for significantly improving the texture and flavor of the meats prepared by tenderizing before cooking, the use of a meat tenderizer tool is actually required for the preparation of such entrees like schnitzel or chicken fried steak as the meats for these recipes must be "pounded out" into thin sections prior to preparation. Most often used on beef, pork, and venison, the use of this tenderizer tool is not limited to these meats as one can use this tool on poultry and fish as well. A wonderful tool in its own right, the ability to work seasonings and marinades into the meat should not be underestimated either, for short of a dry rub, it is hard to think of another method that works better.


High Tech Home Appliances and Heart in the 21st Century Kitchen

The kitchen is where life happens. The kitchen is not just where food is being prepared and eaten, it is the heart of the home where conversations take place, where memories are made and shared, where the party inevitably ends up, and where people and families connect.

As we can see through the eyes of our experts, the kitchen has come a long way - and it is going to go even further. By looking back at where the kitchen has come from and where it is headed, this report demonstrates how the kitchen has grown with the times to become one of the most evolutionary rooms in the home. It serves as an entertainment centre, a dining room, and a workspace. And this list will only expand as the kitchen continues its constant evolution.

As technology continues to advance, we see how it enhances the cooking experience, providing leading-edge, hard-working tools all creative home chefs will continue to value so they can express their own personal flare in their gourmet creations. Touch-activated controls, conversion systems and induction technology will bring premium performance and high-technology items straight into the hands of home enthusiasts. Steam assist technology in convection ranges will enable home enthusiasts to enjoy the same beautiful results as that of a professional chef. Cleaning up will be a breeze with the addition of steam assist technology to dishwashers - making dishes not just clean, but also sanitized.

The environment promises to maintain its position as a top priority for Canadians, and the kitchen will continue to reflect this prevalent issue through its evolution. Energy-saving home appliances and advanced technologies will help environmentally-aware consumers decrease their impact on the environment. And as awareness and demand build from the savvy home enthusiast, more changes are no doubt to come. Not only will kitchen appliances reflect this green trend by offering increased energy efficiency, but kitchen design materials will also reflect the desire for environmental sustainability. Additionally, the kitchen will be a place where home enthusiasts will exercise their desire to get back to nature, sampling organic foods, local, market-fresh produce and new ingredients.

Our experts have demonstrated that the social hub and heart of the home will continue to change with the times, leaving us with an interesting thought to ponder: how will those changes affect us, and what will our own evolution look like?


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