Learn how to make beautiful (and delicious) Stamped Cookies with this fun tutorial featuring a tasty Sugar Cookie recipe and lots of easy tips and tricks!
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I discovered a new baking obsession this year ... Stamped Cookies!
Have you ever noticed cookies embossed and decorated with patterns? If you've ever wondered how those intricate designs are created, the answer is often Cookie Stamps. I stumbled across a set of these beautiful stamps one day, and I knew right away that I had try them for myself!
These pretty patterned cookies are so gratifying and fun to make. And they're surprisingly easy, too! I tested out my stamps on four different cookies doughs and learned a lot along the way. (I also ate a lot of cookies!) I'm sharing every trick I learned below, so you can make these gorgeous cookies, too.
And the best thing about these stamps? While they make a great Christmas cookie, you can use many of the designs year round. So definitely a good bang for your buck!
Ready to get obsessed along with me? Keep reading for tons of cookie stamping tips and tricks, easy decorating ideas, and a scrumptious Sugar Cookie dough recipe!
You're going to love this easy Sugar Cookie recipe ... it works perfectly for these cookies! This recipe is adapted ever so slightly from one I found on the box my cookie stamps came in. Here's what you'll need:
These simple ingredients produce a firm, flavorful dough that works perfectly with cookie stamps. The dough doesn't spread much as it cooks, so it really shows off all the details!
Other Cookies Doughs That Work
Cookie stamps work best with firm doughs that do no spread much as they bake ... like many traditional rolled cookies. You can use them with my Gingerbread Cookies and Honey Cookies (skip the nuts), too. The Gingerbread dough really shows all the intricate designs, and while the Honey dough spread a bit more, it still maintained most details.
You can see both of these cookies in photos throughout this post, along with the Sugar Cookies. It's hard to tell the Sugar and Honey cookies apart, but in person, the Honey ones are a little flatter.
Shortbread dough is also frequently used with stamps. I haven't tested it with my fave Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies yet, but I think it should work well. Although you should probably either leaving out the nuts or grind them up pretty finely.
You'll Also Need
To make this recipe, you’ll need a stand mixer, a couple baking sheets, and a baking rack to cool the finished cookies. You will also need parchment paper to line the baking pans. And of course, you'll need cookie stamps! More info on that below, including the exact stamps I used and where to buy them.
Where to Buy Cookie Stamps
I used Nordic Ware stamps for these cookies. You can find stamps from other brands, but Nordic Ware cookie stamps are beautiful and made to last. They're cast from heavy aluminum and have a sturdy wood handle ... they really do feel like an heirloom that you'll use for years to come! Plus, each box comes with a different cookie recipe you can try.
You can buy cookie stamps with many different patterns directly from Nordic Ware, as well as online at Amazon, Kohl's, and Target. Kohl's has a smaller selection, but you can get a great price if you have coupon! Other stores, such as Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma, also carry them, though the selection is very small.
I bought one box of stamps to start, but then I decided that I needed more. Ha! You could easily add to your collection of stamps by treating yourself to a box each holiday season. And of course, the stamps would make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves to bake!
Here are the exact stamps I used (see pics below):
- Snowflake Cookie Stamps - So pretty! These stamps are actually co-branded with Frozen II (the movie), so they may not be part of the permanent collection (get them while you can). There are also other Snowflake Stamps, called Starry Night, if you can't find these.
- Heirloom Cookie Stamps - Classic stamps with simple, pretty patterns that you can use throughout the year.
- Geo Cookie Stamps - These detailed stamps are my favorites, and another great option that you could use any time of year.
How to Make Stamped Cookies
These cookies are actually pretty easy to make, and I'm sharing lots of tips and tricks that will help you along the way. Let's get started!
Preparing the Dough (and Stamps)
The first thing you want to do, of course, is make your cookie dough and chill it for a couple hours (at least). You need to start with cold cookie dough for this recipe, because chilled dough spreads less and holds patterns better.
While you're chilling the dough, put the cookie stamps in the refrigerator, as well. The cold stamps will help the dough stay cold, and they'll release from the cookies easier, too.
Stamping the Cookies
Once the dough has chilled, grab a hunk, and roll it into a golf ball-sized ball. That's a decent sized piece of dough, and because of that, you'll most like get fewer cookies out of your fave dough than you normally would.
Next, roll the dough ball in granulated sugar. The sugar coating helps the cookies release from the stamp a little easier. Place the ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet once coated.
Dip your cookie stamp into the sugar (again, this helps the dough release from the stamp), then center it over the cookie ball. Press straight down on the dough ball ... for the most even results, it helps to do this standing. If the dough is too cold and hard to press easily, let it warm up for a few minutes while you shape the other balls.
You'll know you're done, when the cookie dough reaches the edges of the stamp (see step-by-step pics above). It's pretty likely that the dough will stick to the stamp (even with the sugar). You should be able to gently peel it off without any issues though.
Tip: Prefer not to coat the cookies / dip the stamp in sugar? I found that the sugar worked best, but you can also dip the stamp in flour or lightly oil it with a pastry brush (or with nonstick spray) instead.
Trimming (and Freezing) the Cookies
Sometimes a little extra cookie dough may sneek out from under the stamp. (See what I mean above.) If that doesn't bother you, just ignore it.
If you're a perfectionist like me, then you can use a knife to carefully trim away the excess dough. You could also use a three-inch round cutter, which would be even easier.
When you've made a pan worth of cookies, freeze them for 10 minutes. Combined with baking the cookies at a higher temp, this is the best trick for getting your cookies to hold the designs! You could also refrigerate the cookies for thirty minutes, if you'd prefer.
Baking the Cookies
Once the cookies have chilled, bake them at 375 degrees for about nine to 10 minutes, or until they're golden brown on the bottom. Baking the cookies at 375 (even if the recipe calls for 350) helps them set quickly and hold their shape.
Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for about five minutes, then transfer them to a baking rack to cool completely before decorating. Wasn't that easy?
Tips for Using Cookie Stamps
Before we get into decorating your Stamped Cookies, I wanted to share some helpful suggestions. Stamping cookies really isn't difficult, but these tips will help you get the best results:
- Start with chilled dough and chilled stamps. Cold dough spreads less and holds stamp impressions better.
- Roll the cookies in sugar, then dip the stamp in sugar, before stamping. The sugar keeps the stamp from sticking to the dough.
- Prefer not to use sugar? Dip the stamp in flour or lightly brush it with oil (or spray with nonstick spray) before stamping the cookies instead.
- You'll probably get fewer cookies out of a batch of dough than you normally would. Something to keep in mind if you need a specific amount of cookies.
- Stand up to stamp the cookies, if possible. Doing so will help you to press down as evenly as possible, and the more even the cookies are, the better their designs will look.
- If any dough sticks to the stamp, clean it off before stamping more cookies.
- Cookie dough too hard to stamp? Don't force it! Let the dough warm up a bit before proceeding.
- Trim any cookies that aren't perfectly round. If a little excess dough escapes from under the stamp, trim it off with a knife or with a three-inch round cutter.
- Line your baking sheets with parchment paper. It's nonstick, but it still has a little grip, which means your cookies will spread less.
- Freeze your cookies for 10 minutes once stamped. This helps the cookies hold their shape ... it really makes a big difference! Check out the Gingerbread Cookies below. The cookie on the left was frozen, and the one of the right wasn't. See how much smaller the left cookie is and how the details pop more? And this Gingerbread dough was really firm to start with ... it's even more noticeable with other doughs.
- Bake the cookies at 375 degrees, even if the recipe calls for 350 degrees. The higher temp helps the cookies set faster and hold their shape better.
- Have fun with it! You might need a little trial and error to figure out the right amount of cookies dough, and you can probably expect your cookies to expand and change shape as they cook. It really helps to let go of any perfectionist expectations here. (Hey, I'm just as guilty!) Even if your cookies don't turn out as perfectly as you pictured, they'll still be delicious!
Decorating Stamped Cookies
Good news ... you really don't need to decorate these cookies if you don't want to. They really do look beautiful as-is!
Of course, a few simple decorations can really bring out the details! Just check out the cookies below:
- The cookie on the upper left was glazed, then sprinkled with white sparkling sugar. So pretty, right?
- The cookies in the upper right and lower left were dipped in a simple glaze. This effect is subtle, but really accentuates the raised designs.
- The cookie on the lower right was painted with silver luster dust, which is seriously fun to work with! This edible dust also comes in other colors, so you can really get creative!
All three of these decorating ideas are super simple to recreate. Keep reading for all the details!
This easy cookie glaze is created with three basic ingredients: powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk (nondairy works fine ... I used coconut). It should be very thin.
Simply dip the cooled cookies in the glaze, brush off the excess, then place the cookies on a parchment-lined tray. If you'd like a little more control, use a decorating brush to paint the glaze on the cookies instead of dipping them.
If you'd like to add sprinkles to your cookies, make sure to add them as soon as the glaze has been applied. Otherwise, they won't stick.
Once you've glazed the cookies, set them aside to let the glaze harden. Check out the cookies below to see how the cookies look with and without the glaze. Which do you prefer?
Another option is to paint the cookies with luster dust. I used this silver luster dust (which also comes in gold and other colors), and it was so easy to work with!
Basically, you combine a small amount of the luster dust (which is a very fine edible powder) with a small amount of alcohol (such as vodka). You could also use clear lemon or vanilla extract ... but whatever you use must be alcohol-based, not water-based.
I used about ¼ teaspoon luster dust combined with maybe an ⅛ teaspoon of vodka. Just add the alcohol a few drops at a time until you get a paintable consistency. A little of the powder goes a long way, so don't try to mix the whole bottle at once.
Then, paint it on your cookies using a decorating brush. Simple and stunning! If the paint dries out, just add a little extra vodka.
Tip: Not all luster dust is edible. Make sure to specifically choose something marked FDA-approved or edible (labels may vary in countries other than the U.S.).
Storing the Cookies
Once your cookies have cooled, and any glazes you've added have hardened, store them in an airtight container. Place parchment or wax paper between any layers to protect the glaze. They should stay fresh for about a week.
You can also freeze the cookies, if you wish. Freeze them in a single layer first. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container with parchment or wax paper between the layers.
Looking for more Christmas cookie ideas? Try one of these recipes next!
- Sour Cream Cut Out Cookies
- Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies
- Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies
- Black Bottom Cupcakes (Mini Chocolate Chip Cheesecakes!)
- Poppyseed Kiss Cookies
- Chewy Ginger Cookies
- White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
- Curry Shortbread Cookies
- Pecan Finger Cookies … my all-time favorites!
- 2 ⅔ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup granulated sugar (for stamping cookies; not dough)
For Icing (Optional):
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using stand mixer, cream together butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
- Add flour in two batches, mixing just until combined.
- Divide dough into two, then shape each half into a ball. Flatten each ball into a disk about 1-inch thick, then cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 2 hours (or overnight). Place cookie stamps in refrigerator, too.
- Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Add granulated sugar to a small bowl.
- Roll a piece of dough into a golf ball-sized ball, then roll in granulated sugar. Place on baking sheet.
- Dip cookie stamp into sugar, then press ball until dough reaches edges of stamp. Repeat with remaining dough.
- Once you have filled a baking sheet, freeze cookies for 10 minutes.
- Bake chilled cookies until golden brown on bottom, about 9 to 10 minutes.
- Let cookies cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a baking rack to cool completely before decorating. Enjoy!
Prepare Icing (Optional):
- Whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Add just enough milk to make a thin glaze (should be fairly runny).
- Dip cooled cookies in glaze, then brush off excess. Or brush glaze on cookies using a decorating brush. Place cookies on a parchment lined tray until glaze is set.