Embossed rolling pins: Make the best-looking cookies ever

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Have you aspired to make Pinterest-worthy cookies? Or shortbreads that will leave your guests gasping at how gorgeous they are? Well, guess what? There’s a secret weapon called the embossed rolling pin, and it’s going to rock your baking world.

Three wooden embossed rolling pins on a counter top.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Embossed rolling pins explained

Not familiar with embossed rolling pins? Some other ways that people describe them include textured rolling pins, patterned rolling pins, decorative rolling pins or engraved rolling pins. You can use them to create decorative patterns on dough for cookies, biscuits, fondant, pasta and other baked goods.

Working with fondant and homemade pasta is likely for more advanced bakers. So, for the average person in the kitchen, you may want to start experimenting with these special rolling pins with something a bit simpler. A good first step? Using them on cookie dough.

An embossed wooden rolling pin with flour on it.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Popularity of specialty rolling pins

There are a number of reasons that specialty rolling pins are all the rage. First, there are all of the aspirational cooking shows on television, such as “The Great British Baking Show” or any of the baking shows on The Food Network.

Next, there are the celebrities that lend their names to cooking tools. For example, Martha Stewart hawks embossed rolling pins and other baking tools on her eponymous website, Gordon Ramsay is affiliated with Hexclad pans, and The Food Network has its own line of cooking tools. You can buy Food Network cookware at Kohl’s.

Finally, there is the rise of image-oriented social media. It’s on platforms like these that amateur bakers share how they make magazine-worthy cookies and the like. So, if someone’s favorite influencer is using specialty kitchen tools, chances are their fans and followers will want to own them, too.

Take Ksenia Prints of At the Immigrant’s Table. After seeing embossed rolling pins everywhere, she’s excited to use them. “I love the idea of embossed rolling pins for my gluten-free cookies,” she said. “I’m a big fan of how easily they transform the look of the most ordinary cookie dough.”

Working with an embossed rolling pin

If you decide to use an embossed rolling pin to make cookies, there are a few things to keep in mind. One, make sure you’re using chilled dough. Chilled cookie dough is easier to work with, as it is in most instances when baking cookies.

An embossed wooden rolling pin with a pattern on it.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

However, there’s another reason you want chilled dough when working with patterns. It improves the chances of getting good-looking cookies, said Vee Zarate of Magically Allergy Friendly. She warned that if the dough is too warm, then the design disappears when you bake the cookies. And who wants that? It will defeat the whole purpose of using this embossed tool.

Two, depending on the kind of rolling pin design you choose, you may have to use a cookie cutter or roller wheel to get the shape cookies you want. For example, some embossed rolling pin designs have a perfect square or rectangular outline. Inside the shape is a pretty design. You see all of that once you roll it out on the dough. In this instance, you can use a roller wheel like you might with homemade pasta to cut out the cookie dough into square or rectangular shapes.

An embossed wooden rolling pin on a table.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

For designs without uniform shapes but a more freeform design, you can use a cookie cutter, the shape of your choosing. Ravioli stamps work, too, to cut out a cookie.

A person is using an embossed rolling pin to make cookies.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.

Finally, using parchment paper on a cookie sheet ensures that these delicately designed cookies won’t stick once they’ve baked. Then again, this parchment paper hack works for any kind of cookies you might bake.

A tray of cookies on a table next to an embossed rolling pin.
Photo credit: Leah Ingram.
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Here’s why embossed rolling pins typically are wood

Many of the embossed rolling pins you’ll see are wooden. Bakers and pastry chefs prefer wooden rolling pins for their versatility and durability. According to Serious Eats, wooden rolling pins were, by far, the best at preventing dough from sticking to them.

Also, wood is a great material for creating an embossed look. How is that done? There are typically three ways of transferring a design.

There is CNC machining. That stands for Computer Numerical Control and is a fancy way of saying a computer program transfers the design to the wood. The other two options for creating an embossed rolling pin are laser engraving and hand carving.

Here is how the company Embossed Co. describes the process for making its rolling pins. It combines both hand carving and laser engraving:

“Each of our embossed rolling pins starts with a piece of natural beech wood. We lovingly carve each piece of wood into shape before using a high-precision laser to carefully engrave the detailed decorative pattern onto the rolling pin.”

These decorative patterns can run the gamut. Here are some common shapes and patterns you might see on these specialty rolling pins:

  • Flowers and leaves.
  • Geometric shapes.
  • Animals.
  • Holiday imagery, such as Christmas trees, Stars of David or hearts.
  • Words and phrases, such as happy birthday.
  • Patterned designs like paisley or herringbone.

Cleaning your wooden rolling pin

Here is something important to remember when working with a wooden kitchen tool like this: you can’t put them in the dishwasher just as you shouldn’t with a charcuterie or butter board. The high heat in a dishwasher can cause the wood to expand and contract, leading to cracks and other damage, Epicurious warned.

They recommend washing wooden tools by hand with warm water and mild soap, then drying them thoroughly before storing them. If your faucet has a spray setting, the higher water pressure helps clean out small spaces.

Also, because of the nooks and crannies in these rolling pins, you may need to grab a clean toothbrush to really get in there and clean out the dough. Don’t let the dough sit in there too long and harden. That will only make it harder to clean.

Final thoughts on embossed rolling pins

If you’re stuck on a gift for a baker, you can level up how they make cookies with a specialty rolling pin. On the other hand, if you’re getting married or having a housewarming party and just set up an Etsy gift registry, you’ll find tons of embossed rolling pin options on Etsy that you can add to your registry.

Leah Ingram is the author of 15 books, including “Suddenly Frugal: How to Live Happier and Healthier for Less” and “The Complete Guide to Paying for College.” She shares shopping advice for getting the most value for your time and money, including how to find cookware with a lifetime guarantee, at Leah Ingram Real Sophisticated Consumer.

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