A sugar cookie is essentially just a baked lump of sugar, butter, eggs, and flour. But with the touch of a shaped piece of metal (or nowadays, plastic), the treats turn into a whimsical holiday staple.
At the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum in Joplin, Missouri, you’ll find hundreds of different cookie cutters. The items, like the tinsmith, advertising, and European cutters, represent different eras and styles in cookie cutting history.
It’s believed tin cookie cutters have been used in Europe for centuries. Those who migrated to the United States brought their dessert tools with them, causing the practice of artfully stamping and cutting cookies to gain popularity in the New World. For a time, brands even used the molds to advertise their own goods.
Now, cookie cutters are key in shaping some of North Americans’ favorite themed sweets. They transform lumps of dough into fun shapes suitable for any holiday or occasion: pumpkins, stars, snowmen, trees… you name it, there’s a mold for it.
Visitors to the National Cookie Cutter Historical Museum will be delighted by its stock of this one beloved baking tool. The museum holds around a dozen different display cases, all stuffed with different cookie cutter collections. There’s also an archive of cookie cutter-themed reading materials like newsletters and old advertisements. Visitors can even receive a free plastic cookie cutter.