No, they’re not just for baking.

By Brigitt Earley
Updated December 27, 2016

Of course your cookie cutters get plenty of use during a holiday baking frenzy, but what you might not know is that the little shapes can do so much more than mold delicious sugar cookies. Use holiday-themed cookie cutters to make ornaments, transform plain candles, create place settings, or design artful food.

While these ideas are most appropriate for the Christmas season, other shapes, letters, or numbers can be used year-round—try a number as a cake decorating stencil to highlight a big birthday or pour batter into a bunny cookie cutter to make Easter pancakes. Here’s how:

1. Cookie Cutter as a Pancake Shaper

Heat a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Spray with cooking spray, then place a cookie cutter in the center of the pan. Pour batter inside the cookie cutter, using a toothpick to nudge batter into all corners of the stencil. (Pro tip: Make your batter slightly thicker than normal to prevent leaking.) Once pancakes have bubbled, carefully remove the cookie cutter (we recommend using tongs or an oven mitt!) and flip.

2. Cookie Cutter as a Candle Stencil

Use a cookie cutter to make a plain pillar candle a little more festive. Simply place the cutter where you want the design to appear (we used mini letters to create a monogram, but any shape will do!), and then gently tap with a hammer. Remove the cookie cutter.

3. Cookie Cutter as an Ornament

Short on tree decorations? Simply thread festive ribbon through seasonally appropriate cookie cutters (gingerbread men, stars, snowmen) and secure with a knot.

4. Cookie Cutter as Cake Decorating Stencils

Gently press cookie cutters onto the surface of a frosted cake. (Pro tip: Arrange the design to your liking before placing the cookie cutters on the cake.) Fold a piece of paper in half and use it as a funnel to carefully place sprinkles or colored sugar inside the cookie cutters, then remove each cutter one by one.

5. Cookie Cutter as a Napkin Ring

For special occasions, take a step up from the paper variety. Instead, fold a linen napkin into one-inch sections like an accordion. Slip the folded napkin through a cookie cutter, then fan out on either side. Place one napkin on the plate at each place setting.