Thursday, July 7, 2011

Martha by Mail Noah's Ark Cookie Cutters ~ Set I

This set of Noah's Ark Cookie Cutters was first offered through Martha by Mail back in 1997.  Martha and her team of designers commissioned this menagerie of adorable animal cookie cutters from one of America's foremost coppersmiths.  The charming creatures quickly became collector's items when Martha showed us how she decorated her Christmas trees with scores of frosted cookies from this set.  That they are highly sought after today is a testament to their quality and enduring beauty.  Take a look at how each of these is unique in shape, size and character. 


These are from my personal collection.


The original label on the box ~ Set I.
Catalog # CNA 001


The cookie cutters themselves were so thoughtfully packaged.  The box is shaped like a compartmentalized ark that is lined with paper "hay". 


Original pamphlets with recipes & decorating ideas.  The plastic template is for the ark pictured on the right.


Text below is from the original decorating pamphlet.


The Ark.


  • The Ark: To make an ark for your animals, punch out the template and place it directly on the rolled-out cookie dough; cut around the template with a sharp knife.  Use two spatulas to transfer the dough to the cookie sheet, or save a step by rolling the dough right on the sheet.  After baking, decorate the ark and the animals with royal icing and sugar.

A Lion & Giraffe.

  • Lion: For the blue-and-green king of the jungle, smooth on a coat of blue icing, and let it dry completely.  Add a green mane and tail, and highlight with sugar.  The cookie itself makes a fine base for a brown lion ~ all it needs is an icing mane and tail, and an all-over coating of sugar
  • Giraffe: These long-necked creatures provide plenty of room for polka-dots: Coat the cookie with icing and immediately pipe contrasting dots onto the wet icing.  Sprinkle with sugar for a little sparkle.


A Kangaroo & Elephant.


  • Kangaroo: These graphic kangaroos are ready to hop onto the ark.  Pink and yellow icings are coated with sugar, left to dry, then defined with a row of white dots.  A solid-white kangaroo is accented with a yellow chest.
  • Elephant: Big and bold as in nature, elephants can be simple or detailed.  Give one a coating of light-blue icing and an outline of white dots from the trunk to tail.  Or dress one up and pipe on eyes, tusks, and big elephant ears.


A Dove, Alligator & Lamb.


  • Dove: Graceful doves don't require much embellishment: Coat with icing, let dry, pipe on an outline, and sprinkle with sugar.
  • Alligator: Much sweeter than the real-life reptile, these gators are coated with green icing; after it dries, royal icing eyes, teeth and claws are added and sugared dots make scaly skin.
  • Lamb: For the pink lamb, pipe on pretty fleece and sprinkle with sugar.  For the yellow lamb, ice the whole cookie, then add white fleece before it dries.


A Bear & Horse.



  • Bear: For a perfect polar bear, coat the cookie with white icing, and sprinkle with sugar.  After it dries, use black icing for eyes, nose and claws.  To make the green bear, smooth on icing, let dry, then pipe on dots.
  • Horse: For a horse of a very different color, apply bright indigo icing, and add green dots before it dries.  Use the same technique for the brown horse, but finish with sugar for a textured coat.

 
An iconic Martha Stewart Christmas tree.





9 comments:

  1. If only I had known what I was missing out on, I can't believe how awesome these are, I have some of her animal cutters from Macy's and they're cute, but not like these!

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  2. I haven't seen the ones from Macy's, but I would love to. You can still find these on Ebay if you really want them (one of the reasons I decided to publish these was to give you collectors a glimpse of what to look for) Thanks for stopping by Christian, there will be more next week!

    ~ David ~

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  3. Do you happen to have the second set (w/the snake)? I just bought the set at a tag sale - very lucky find - but it did not have the decorating guide. I'm looking for ideas, and can't wait to try them out!

    First though -- I need to clean in accordance with your lemon instructions.

    Thank you for the beautiful site!

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  4. Anonymous: Lucky you(!) to have found a set at a tag sale--how much did you pay, if I may ask? I love hearing of people's good luck when they're out antiquing or shopping at flea markets. I do have Set II & Set III; these are going to be showcased next week, along with all of the decorating instructions--stay tuned! Thank you for enjoying my blog, I hope you stick around.

    ~David~

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  5. I love seeing old Martha By Mail items. I wish I saved all the old catalogs.

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  6. Oh thank you! I am very excited to see the other sets. Get ready to fall off your chair -- I paid $8.00 for the set in the box. I have two nephews that chase me around while 'hissing' since they know how much I hate snakes. I couldn't pass up the set when I saw the snake cutter. They will get a care box of cookies very soon!

    Ali

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  7. Anonymous: although I have a lot of the catalogs saved (how did I know these would be collectible back then?), I don't have all of them. I too LOVE seeing these exclusive items--stick around because I'll be showing more in the future.

    Ali: $8.00(!!) is quite a bargain. To think that these sets go for about $200 on ebay! Yes, you should definitely make cookies for your nephews (I do this for my nephews every year!!) and make extra snakes for them to enjoy!

    ~David~

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  8. So many years later....I coveted these cutters but couldn't afford them all. I have 1 set, the martha shell set and the martha bug set. I still use them for my Christmas theme cookies. I'm still always looking for great copper cutters

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    Replies
    1. It's great that you have those sets and use them regularly. MBM cookie cutters are all over eBay, and these days, they aren't too expensive.

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