Easy to use
Almost everything is included
Cookie cutters are reusable
Cookies were hard, not crisp
Colors aren’t very festive
Flavor was just fair
Gingerbread cookies are classic, but perhaps a bit boring. The Brand Castle In The Mix Ninjabread Cookie Kit solves that problem with cookie cutters that make gingerbread people in the shape of ninjas. I baked cookies from the included mix, made royal icing using the kit’s base ingredient, and used its decorations for my first batch of ninjas. Of course, I couldn’t stop there, so I made one of my favorite cut-out cookie recipes, whipped up and colored some more royal icing for decorating, and had fun with sprinkles and other décor. Read on for all the details of how this gingerbread kit stacks up in ease of use, look, and taste!
Design: Cute ninja cutters and all the basics
The Ninjabread Cookie Kit comes with four cookie cutters, gingerbread cookie mix, royal icing mix, round decorating candies, and a pastry bag, which besides a few edible ingredients, are all you need to get started baking and crafting. The ninja cutters are cute and include four different poses. By flipping some of the cookies over after I cut them out, I actually ended up with eight different ninja poses.
The cutters are basic, just cutting the outline of the ninjas. While that was fine, it would have been easier to decorate the ninjas if some of the details were pressed into the cookies. I referred back to the photo on the box at first, until I got used to the arm placement, and I’ll be keeping the box as a reminder for next year. All it takes is holding a cookie cutter the wrong way, and it can be hard to tell what it’s supposed to be.
The ninja cutters are cute and include four different poses.
The gingerbread cookie mix requires you to add softened butter and honey, along with a little water. It was easy enough to mix by hand, but it didn’t make a lot of cookies. Instructions say the mix is enough for 20 cookies, but even though I rolled the dough much thinner than I normally do, I only got 19 ninjas plus a little leftover blob for tasting. Unfortunately, because the cookies were so thin, a few extra seconds in the oven overbaked some, and two lost a leg after baking. I ended up with 17 full cookies to decorate, but I still decorated the one-legged ninjas—and gave them candy canes so they could limp along.
The kit includes a white powder for making royal icing, but you have to add your own powdered sugar along with some water. The included white powder consists of confectioners’ sugar, dried egg whites, cream, and natural and artificial flavors. It would have been more convenient if the mix included the powdered sugar, but it was easy enough to make the icing using the provided instructions.
I was surprised at how little royal icing I had to work with, but it was enough to decorate the cookies I made. However, if someone spills any of it, decorating might be a bit sparse. You can easily make more royal icing on your own, though, with just meringue powder, powdered sugar, and water.
The included pastry bag has no tip. While that’s not a huge problem, if you cut too much of the tip off of the piping bag, you’ll end up with thick lines and messy decorating. One bag also means that if multiple people want to decorate, they’ll need to share. A second bag would have been appreciated.
I was surprised at how little royal icing I had to work with, but it was enough to decorate the cookies I made.
I was also a bit surprised at the colors of the decorative balls since they don’t really evoke the holidays, but that was easy enough to fix when I made my own cookies and icing.
Quality: Good enough for seasonal cookies
Let’s face it, the important part of this kit is the cookie cutters. They’re made from plastic, and not the most sturdy cutters I’ve owned, but it’s not like cookie dough is particularly tough to cut. Unless these are stomped on or melted, they’ll last for quite a few holidays. The rest of the kit is edible or disposable.
Setup Process: Baking required
Before the cookies are decorated, some baking needs to be done. The cookie dough needs to be mixed then refrigerated before you roll, cut, and bake the cookies. It took a little time to get the baking done, but it was no more difficult than any other cookie mix. The royal icing also needs to be mixed, the piping bag has to be filled, and the tip needs to be snipped, and then you can get down to the fun part of using the kit.
Decorating: Silly fun
When I got used to the ninja poses, I got creative with the rest of the decorating, changing their head positions, hair, and clothing flourishes. I’ll admit that I got carried away with the colorful balls, and some of the ninjas looked a bit like clowns in the end, perhaps because the balls are large compared to the size of the ninjas. Inexplicably, some of the decorated cookies reminded me of cowboys. But that’s all part of the fun, right?
When I got used to the ninja poses, I got creative with the rest of the decorating, changing their head positions, hair, and clothing flourishes.
When I started decorating my own batch of cookies with my own decorations, my ninjas seemed to be morphing into kids in snowsuits, and I just went with that look, arming them with snowballs. Of course, I had to set up a kids versus ninjas battle when I was done.
Flavor: Okay, but not great
The cookies made from the kit were fair, but not wonderful. They were hard cookies, but not crisp, so they were a bit hard to bite. The royal icing had a mild vanilla flavor along with the expected sweetness, but it wasn’t particularly remarkable. The round decorations were super hard and mostly tasted of food coloring. While I didn’t love eating the cookies, it was easy enough to whip up a batch of my own cookies with better flavor to use with the cutters.
This kit isn’t terribly expensive, considering it’s a complete kit and the shapes are fun. You can find it for around $10 or less. If the cookie cutters were sold individually, they might cost as much as this whole kit.
Brand Castle In The Mix Ninjabread Cookie Kit vs. Fred Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutter/Stamper
When it comes to quirky gingerbread creations, the Fred Gingerbread Men Cookie Cutter/Stamper is worth a mention. The shape is a typical gingerbread man, but the opposite side of the cutter is a skeleton stamp, so you can make gingerbread skeleton cookies. Considering that neither of these options is particularly expensive (both can be found for under $10), bakers with a quirky sense of holiday humor might want to add both to their cookie-cutter collection. However, the Ninjabread Cookie Kit is way more complete. The Fred cutter doesn’t come with cookie mix, icing mix, or any decorations.
Interested in checking out more options? Take a peek at our roundup of the best gingerbread kits.
Cutters are worth the price.
Although I wasn’t blown away by the flavor of the cookies themselves, I liked the idea that the Brand Castle In The Mix Ninjabread Cookie Kit is complete for those who don’t want to bother with recipes. It was a lot of fun decorating the gingerbread cookies with the included supplies, and there are even more possibilities if you use your own cookie recipe and decorations. The cutters definitely make this kit worth the price.
- Product Name In The Mix Ninjabread Cookie Kit
- Product Brand Brand Castle
- UPC 844527027214
- Price $6.98
- Materials Plastic cookie cutters; disposable plastic pastry bag; edible cookie mix, icing mix, and candy decorations
- What’s Included 4 cookie cutters, gingerbread cookie mix, royal icing mix, round decorating candies, 1 pastry bag.