You know what people ask me about a lot? Stamped sandwiches.
Stamped sandwiches are a fantastic bento technique because they require minimal work, but they look awesome and complicated. All you need to make them are bread and cookie cutters that include an impression plate. Oh — and sandwich fillings too, of course!
I have two basic styles of these cookie cutters in my arsenal: larger cutters with a spring loaded plunger and smaller cutters with a removable impression plate. The Star Wars cutters on top are from Williams-Sonoma (who sells lots of cute cutters in this style) and the smaller blue vehicle cutters are from All Things for Sale. Amazon also features an assortment of cutters in different themes though it’s hard to get a good idea of exactly what they have because they are listed under a number of different names including “plunger cutters,” “stamp cookie cutters,” and “cookie cutters with stencils.” These cutters range in price from about $20 for licensed character sets to $7 for smaller cutters.
So now that we have some cutters, lets get started!
Choose Soft Bread
The first thing you want to do is get the right kind of bread. Softer bread works best! This is not the time to use crusty loaves of Italian Pugliese or super grainy hippie bread with no flour in it. My family and I like to eat those kinds of bread, but they make crappy Star Wars sandwiches, so I don’t use them for this purpose.
Instead I look for softer whole wheat sandwich breads. I am not a brand loyalist and I usually buy whatever is on sale. The brand I used when I was taking these photos was Bohemian Hearth, but I’ve also used bread from Oroweat, Sara Lee and Trader Joes. There are probably other brands mixed in there too. You don’t have to use whole wheat bread — white bread works well too if that’s what your family prefers.
Cut the Bread First
My second piece of advice is to cut the bread before you make your sandwich. If the cutter has a removable stamp I just use the outside cutter and pop the shape out of it (as I did with the car stamp above).
For the plunger-style cutters, I cut the shape out but leave the bread in the cutter.
Press Really Hard!
Once your basic shape is cut out, press down on the cutter as hard as you can! Really hard! Lean on the plunger with the palm of your hand and put your weight behind it.
When you release the plunger you may need to peel the bread off the impression plate — that’s good because it means you got a really good image. Check out that awesome storm trooper!
If the impression plate is removable, center it over your cut shape and again press down really hard.
Wahoo! Look at that cute little car!
You’ve probably noticed by now that your bread is super squished and flat. I’ll admit that it’s not my favorite way to eat a sandwich, but the kids don’t mind. And pretty hurts.
Once you’ve got a good impression, use the outside of the cutter to cut a second version of your shape and use that for the bottom layer of bread on your sandwich. Don’t stamp this layer — it’s invisible and the thicker piece of bread will help give your sandwich structure. Fill your sandwiches with your desired fillings and then put them in your lunch boxes. Here’s an example:
See this technique in action:
Have you ever included stamped sandwiches in your lunches? Have any tips to share?