Published January 1, 2006.
Do you really need to buy a special ($100) set of cutters for biscuits?
No-fuss biscuit recipes often instruct cooks to cut dough rounds with an empty tin can or inverted juice glass. Do you really need to buy a special set of cutters for the job? We gathered eight sets of round cutters as well as some soup cans and juice glasses and stamped out rounds of biscuit, pastry, and cookie dough.
The cans and glasses did fine with basic biscuit dough and cookies, although our choice of sizes was limited. But when we tackled more delicate doughs—puff pastry and our Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits—these makeshift cutters produced rounds with pinched edges that rose unevenly. Blunt edges were a problem, as was air trapped inside the cylinder. Among the real cutters, the model that featured curved handles made it difficult to exert even pressure. The double-edged contestant required testers to press down firmly on whichever cutting edge was not in use. Ouch! Two flashy imports came with prices to match ($57 and $107). Both performed flawlessly in our tests, but so did a set that sold for just $15.