Now in a Full-Color Second Edition!
Baking with Cookie Molds
Secrets and Recipes for Making Amazing Handcrafted Cookies for Your Christmas, Holiday, Wedding, Tea, Party, Swap, Exchange, or Everyday Treat
Christmas Cookies • Christmas Biscuits • Molded Cookies • Moulded Biscuits • Shaped Cookies • Windmill Cookies • St. Nicholas Cookies • Gingerbread • Speculaas • Springerle • Shortbread
Detail of St. Nicholas cookie mold by Gene Wilson, HOBI Cookie Molds
By Anne L. Watson
Photos by Aaron Shepard
Reviews and Comments
Beautiful to look at but hard to use. That’s the reputation of cookie molds. But should it be?
In this groundbreaking book, Anne L. Watson restores cookie molds to an honored place in the baker’s kitchen by revealing long-lost secrets of their use. With Anne’s techniques and recipes, tasty cookies with lovely, detailed designs will literally fall from the mold into your hand.
Learn how to make traditional molded cookies like speculaas, springerle, and shortbread, as well as modern ones like White Chocolate Lime Cookies and Orange Blossom Wedding Cookies. Learn the tricks of sandwich cookies, layer cookies, chocolate backing, and exhibition cookies. And learn about the molds themselves—the many kinds, their history, the best places to find them, how to treat them, what makes a good one, and which to avoid entirely.
With nearly two dozen recipes and almost a hundred photos, Baking with Cookie Molds will quickly have you making cookies that both amaze and delight.
Anne L. Watson is the author of several craft books, including the bestselling beginners book Smart Soapmaking, as well as of several novels. In a previous career, she was a historic preservation architecture consultant. Anne lives with her husband and photographer, Aaron Shepard, in Friday Harbor, Washington.
“Expert instructions guarantee readers a frustration-free experience when using decorative metal, earthware, and wooden molds . . . After reading this, you’ll want to snatch them up.”—Lisa Campbell, Library Journal, Sept. 15, 2015—STARRED REVIEW
“Anne L. Watson deserves big hugs from bakers everywhere for resurrecting the beautiful and tasty art of baking with cookie molds. Loaded with practical advice on everything from the care and cleaning of molds to proper recipe formulation and molding technique, Baking with Cookie Molds provides all the know-how one needs to put retired molds back where they belong—off walls and out of cupboards, and into action in our kitchens.”—Julia Usher, author, Cookie Swap, and Director, International Association of Culinary Professionals
“Cookie molds are lovely to admire but often end up as part of your kitchen decor rather than as a baking tool. Baking with Cookie Molds will inspire you to use those molds as they were intended—to create strikingly beautiful cookies—and shows that those cookies can be delicious as well! Detailed instructions and photographs make it feel like the author is right there in your kitchen, baking alongside you and guiding you through each step.”—Christina Banner, author, How to Build a Gingerbread House
“A must read for novice and avid bakers! Anne’s story and vast knowledge of cookie molds keeps you entertained from beginning to end.”—Karen Giamalva, President and CEO, LetsBakeCookies.com
“Friendly, warm, and inviting.”—Ken Hamilton, The Springerle Baker
“A ‘honey’ of a collection of old and new secrets for shaping edible-art cookies—with less effort and more success. Will do much to keep this tradition alive!”—Gene Wilson, HOBI Cookie Molds
“Well done! . . . An impressive book for all of us to treasure.”—Kyna Campbell, MyCookieMold.com
“A comprehensive guide with a selection of recipes along with detailed, step-by-step instructions. If you don’t have a treasured family recipe for molded cookies and want to experience their beauty, you won’t go wrong with this book.”—Connie Meisinger, House on the Hill Cookie Molds
“Excellent, spare-no-detail primer, ideal for cookie bakers of all skill and experience levels.”—Midwest Book Review, Nov. 2010
“A wonderful book not only for the seasoned baker but for the beginner also.”—Miss Lynn’s Books & More, May 20, 2011
“The author’s love for sharing her knowledge is obvious throughout her book. I highly recommend it.”—BookVisions, June 18, 2011
“Has the answer to nearly every cookie molding question.”—Carol Myers, St. Nicholas Center
“No baker should be without this book. . . . Chocolate Lime Cookies are right now my family’s favorite.”—Babs Book Bistro
“Like other well done works of art, a good molded cookie starts with a flawless canvas (the dough), a first-rate design (the mold), and a teacher who is a master of the craft (Anne L. Watson). Watson as a teacher is phenomenal, and her groundbreaking book is the reason why. [Her] recipes for springerle, speculaas, lebkuchen, shortbread, and more are tasty, detailed, and meticulous.”—Sue Ade, Bluffton Today, Oct. 5, 2011
“Revolutionizes the springerle world. . . . There’s no muss and fuss. Combine ingredients, chill, knead, roll, press, cut, bake. One hour.”—Patrice Romzick, Springerle Joy
“Finally, a book has been written that explains and shows how to use all types of cookie molds, stamps, and springerle rolling pins and molds correctly, along with recipes that actually taste good . . . Watson’s book takes the guessing out of making beautiful cookies with molds and gives excellent step-by-step instructions that actually work . . . Every recipe I’ve personally tried has worked out perfectly, and it has been difficult to actually break down and let friends and family devour them, because they are so pretty.”—Karen Hancock, Bella Online
A tasty treat of practical cookie making, historical cookie-mold information, and a wide range of recipes, all served with appetizing sides of baking history and great photographs.
Watson (Island Women Trilogy, 2015, etc.) adds to her collection of how-to books on soap and lotion making with a colorful collection of recipes, decorative cookie lore, and clear, practical advice for bakers of all levels. Starting with honest descriptions of her own failures—some cookies were “flattened into unrecognizable blobs”—she provides historical context for molded cookies of all types, along with her secret ingredient to ease the unmolding process and produce exquisite treats. Few cooks will be able to resist her enthusiastic and encouraging call to kitchen action: “You’ll have to experiment a bit, but don’t let that daunt you. Remember, when you experiment, you may not get cookies you like—but the one thing you’re sure to get is information, and that’s always helpful!” But Watson’s book has appeal outside the kitchen; she weaves in a Saint Nicholas story and a detailed cookie-making lesson with style. Also helpfully included is a FAQ section and extensive resources for purchasing molds or learning more. A “historic preservation architecture consultant” by trade, Watson is organized, thorough, and undeniably readable. Her guide is also surprisingly entertaining. While relating her first attempt at molding, she says, “Since my reason for buying the mold in the first place was the making of beautiful Saint Nicholas cookies, I was very disappointed. For all I knew, so was Saint Nicholas.” Shepard, her husband, provides dozens of clearly labeled photos for mouthwatering visual inspiration.
Engaging, precise baking guide that will have readers heading for the kitchen with enthusiasm and confidence.
Kirkus Reviews, June 16, 2015
How I Started
When I began making molded cookies, I had no intention of writing a book about it. I wouldn’t have even guessed you could write enough to fill one.
No, I just wanted to make cookies. I had a beautiful wood mold with an image of Saint Nicholas. I had recipes and directions. I was ready to bake!
Well . . . .
The directions I’d been given told me to oil and flour the mold. I did that. But it wasn’t nearly as simple as oiling and flouring a cake pan. I found that out on my first try. I used too much flour and didn’t spread it evenly, so my saints were spotted with white. Then I tried preparing the mold with just oil, and I got blurry, nearly faceless saints.
So, I decided I’d used too much oil, and I tried a little less. Those saints stuck in the mold, and many lost their arms or head. I tweaked amounts of oil and flour, tried different techniques and different tools. I tried pan spray, vegetable shortening, and several different oils. I substituted cornstarch or confectioners’ sugar for some of the flour.
None of these experiments worked. Further batches produced a motley crowd of Nicholases. Some were hunched or stretched. A few of them flattened into unrecognizable blobs in the oven. The cookies tasted good but looked terrible. Since my reason for buying the mold in the first place was the making of beautiful Saint Nicholas cookies, I was very disappointed. For all I knew, so was Saint Nicholas.
But I was determined to master the art, and before long I was doing much better. By then, I was thoroughly intrigued. There was much more to making molded cookies than I’d thought. I experimented with different pieces of equipment and even worked out some new and helpful techniques of my own.
Finally, I discovered a long-forgotten fact about the earliest traditional recipes that made the whole process about fifty times easier.
But the idea of writing a book didn’t come until I started sharing my cookies with other people. Then their stories tumbled out.
“My grandmother made these. I just loved them. I still have her molds, but I don’t know how to use them.”
“I bought a mold like that when I was in Europe. I never could make it work. I think I still have it somewhere.”
“For years, I’ve asked all the bakers I come across if they know how to make windmill cookies. But none of them do.”
Baking with cookie molds, I came to realize, had become a lost art, and it shouldn’t have. It really isn’t difficult. Like so many things, it’s just a matter of knowing how. Most instructions you’ll see, though, give you methods requiring much skill and practice while also leaving out a lot. That’s why so many people who try cookie molds give up in frustration.
You don’t have to be one of them. There are easier and better methods than the ones in common use today.
That’s what this book shares with you—what I’ve learned from my mistakes and successes. Things that will work. Techniques and pointers. Equipment you need and equipment you don’t. Plus loads of tasty, doable recipes.
In other words, everything you need for molded cookies to be fun and rewarding.