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A Christmas Cookie Tradition

Debbie White - 700 Club Producer

CBN.com -Nestled among the glistening evergreens in the snowy north, sits a workshop preparing for Christmas.  There are no reindeer, no sleigh, and not an elf in sight. But what they make in this workshop brings delight to people everywhere.

“They” are Joyce and Al Moorhouse of Cannon Falls, Minnesota. They are affectionately known as The Cookie Cutter Couple and they run a prosperous home business called ASM Cutters and Things. ‘The Mr.’ designs precision cutters that transform a lump of cookie dough into a work of art.

It began when Joyce, an avid cookie maker and collector, needed a precision cutter, and the tinsmith she relied on was too busy to make it. Al tells the story, “And she says, ‘Okay now smart guy, you always said you could make cookie cutters. Here’s your chance.’”

 Al, already skilled in woodwork, took on the challenge. He made Joyce the exact cookie cutter she wanted.  Joyce needed more, “Then we wanted a rabbit, and a Santa and a tree.”

From that first cookie cutter came a thriving family business.  “We work at it all the time.” says Joyce, “Nothing is too big or too small. We don’t have any help.

They do no advertising. They don’t even have a website. Joyce can explain. “We’re too busy for a website.” Yet the business grew faster than a Minnesota snowdrift.

In 20 years of operation, the Moorhouses have delivered over 300,000 handmade precision cookie cutters to homes and businesses across the country.  They’ve even caught the attention of national media. 

But never mind all the attention; the Moorhouses see their business as something more.

The business evolved out of a family tradition. As a young girl, Joyce spent HOURS cooking with her mother and grandmother. She remembers, “We could never make enough cookies or cakes or pies to satisfy four brothers who were big eaters.”

Joyce inherited her grandmother’s cookie cutters and carried the cookie making tradition to her own family of four children. Then her 4 children soon added 12 more little cookie makers.

“It’s just something you can do together as a family,” says Joyce, “something that you can enjoy.”

You’ll find no store bought mixes in Joyce’s kitchen. “I like to use butter; I think the butter keeps the cookie fresher longer. And I like to use real vanilla, not the imitation vanilla.”

Al has his own special secret for preserving cookie cutters. “Don’t wash them. Just wipe them off and put them on a shelf. Fifty years from now, if people take care of the product, it’s still going to be out there.

Christmas is a very special for the Moorhouses. As Christmas Eve approaches Al’s workshop closes its doors and not a creature stirs in Joyce’s kitchen. That’s when the Moorhouses take time to celebrate love, and family, and the greatest Gift ever given to the world.

Joyce wraps it up beautifully. “Christmas should be a time of quiet, a time of joy, a time of going to church, and seeing the candles and hearing the music. Christ is the light of the world.”

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