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Anne L. Watson’s Cookie Molds Page

Resources for Baking with Cookie Molds

My Cookie Molds Books!

Baking with Cookie Molds book cover Cookie Molds Around the Year book cover Crafting with Cookie Molds book cover

Whatever happened to cookie molds?

About 1980 or so, there was a molded cookie fad. Cookie molds—beautiful ones—were in all the cooking stores, and a lot of other shops, too. They were expensive. And then—presto!—all of a sudden, cookie molds weren't in the fancy stores anymore. You could still get them, though—at thrift stores. They were cheap.

So, what happened?

I can't say for sure, of course. But I know what happened to the shortbread pan I bought at the time. I made a couple of batches of shortbread in it, using a wonderful recipe my grandma brought from Scotland.

Those cookies turned out slightly uglier than homemade sin.

I hung the pan on the kitchen wall as a decoration. After a while, I gave it to the Salvation Army.

Something like that seems to have happened to a lot of people:

“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 know if they know how to make windmill cookies, but nobody does.”

Those were stories I heard as I was writing my book, Baking with Cookie Molds. And I heard variations of them over and over.

But I'm doing a fast-forward here. Quite a bit happened between that Salvation Army donation and writing a book about how to use cookie molds.

It was love. Wouldn't you know it? I married a children's author, Aaron Shepard. He'd written a book, The Baker's Dozen, about the traditional molded cookies that are made in Europe and some parts of America to celebrate December 6, St. Nicholas Eve. And one year, I decided to surprise him on St. Nicholas Eve with cookies like the ones in his book.

At first, though, the surprise was all mine, and it wasn't a pleasant one. Fortunately, I'd allowed myself plenty of time to learn how to make the cookies. My first efforts with my beautiful new St. Nicholas cookie mold were worthy of a comedy video. The overall result could have been achieved by skipping the cookie mold altogether and simply detonating a small bomb in a bowl of cookie dough.

Eventually, I figured out a way to make molded cookies work. My husband did get his St. Nicholas cookies for December 6 that year. And I was very proud of myself.

By then, I was curious. I started learning more about molded cookies, and then even more. I made batch after batch. Before long, I was scurrying around town, giving cookies to the library volunteers, the Sunday school, the firemen, and anyone else who'd take them. I became known as the "Cookie Lady," which is pretty good, as notoriety goes.

I worked out improvements and listened to other people's stories of cookie mold frustration. I ran across one forgotten techique—I shouldn't call it a secret, since it was once common knowledge—that made molded cookies about a hundred times easier.

And, in the spirit of The Baker's Dozen, I decided to share. So I wrote a book of my own, Baking with Cookie Molds, along with continuing my experiments and posting them on this site.

Around the Year with Cookie Molds

A year's worth of projects, experiments, and investigations in a monthly "magazine."

Ingredients and Flavorings

All about common ingredients and flavorings you might use in your molded cookies.

Tools and Equipment

About tools and equipment you might use for your molded cookies.

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