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My Cookie Books!

Baking with Cookie Molds
Secrets and Recipes for Making Amazing Handcrafted Cookies

 

 

Cookie Molds Around the Year

An Almanac of Molds, Cookies, and Other Treats for Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Other Holidays, and Every Season

 

Around the Year with Cookie Molds

 

Tents and rides, San Juan County Fair, 2010

 

August

Cookie Molds for Kids

 


August Issue Contents

The Island in August

Cookie Molds for Children's Projects

Your Own Animal Cookies

Mold: Gingerbread Kids

Mold: Animals

Mold: Rearing Horse

Mold: Favorite Cartoon Characters

Mold: Hornbooks

Mold: Tea Party Cookie Stamp

Mold: Classic Pooh Cookie Stamp

Mold: Elves Dancing

Mold: Triceratops

Mold: Dogs

 


The Island in August

Finally, for however short a moment, it's summer. Compared to the rest of the nation, our summer is mild. No doubt that's why summer is our visitor season. I think they come not only for the sweet weather, but also for the island scenery and for the "island time" phenomenon, a relaxed atmosphere that's harder and harder to find these days. It's a very low-pressure sort of place. More than once, I've offered my place in line at the grocery store to someone who has just one or two items, only to have them thank me and refuse, saying they're in no hurry.

We'll have a short dry spell between now and Labor Day, probably. The grass will turn brown, and any flowers worth saving will have to be watered daily. Of course, the weeds will still thrive! However, at least half the weeds are California poppies. They're bright and cheerful, and really, people in other places plant and tend them. So maybe I should call them "wildflowers." This year I'll try to just enjoy my automatic garden.

Last year, I got what I thought was a genius idea. I bought fancy California poppies from a seed company, red, white, ruffled, double and every possible variation. I planted and watered them--and every last plant blossomed with ordinary orange flowers. I give up.

A doe visits our back yard frequently, but she's camera-shy, so I don't have pictures. She doesn't seem to be eating anything--not that there's anything back there a deer would like--just checking us out. I'd guess her objective is the neighbor's lovingly-tended lettuce. If so, their life probably isn't quite as low-stress as mine.

As August ends, we have the County Fair, our goodbye to summer. I've never entered my molded cookies in the baking event. I don't like competition, even when I win. I go and look at the cookies, though, and wish someone else would make molded cookies for the islanders to see. Maybe someday. A couple of island stores are selling my cookie book now. Maybe the idea will catch on.

This issue features projects for children, with an emphasis on younger kids, since older ones can use cookie molds as easily as adults. We'll look at designs that appeal to kids, from cartoon characters to a triceratops. Also a few cookie molds that feature children, and two "hornbook" molds, those alphabet slates that were supposedly used to help kids learn to read. And even homemade animal crackers!

So here's a special issue for out-of-school boredom. Have fun, and create happy memories!

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Cookie Molds for Children's Projects

Kid-themed cookie molds are sometimes the same as molds made for grownups. Not always, though. And some of them are disappointing. Here's what you need to know:

1. Standard cavity molds such as many Brown Bag molds or carved wood molds are difficult for very young children to use. If a parent helps, the task of getting the cookie out of the mold should be done by the adult. Older kids and teens probably won't have trouble with any cookie mold.

2. Cookie stamps are especially kid-friendly.

3. Some inexpensive kid-themed cookie molds work better for candy than for cookies. The cookies you make with them will be disappointingly blurry unless you paint them to bring the patterns out. I'll note the molds where the cookies have to be painted. You can paint cookies with decorating gel or with light corn syrup colored with food colors.

4. Some plastic and silicone molds are great for kids, and they're inexpensive and unbreakable, too.

5. Any of these molds will work with the recipes in my book or with those in previous issues of this magazine.

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Your Own Animal Cookies

Packaged animal cookies are appealing mostly because of their shapes. They're rather dry, plain cookies with a faint lemon flavor. You can do much better with the recipe for "Anne's Lemon Cookies" from my book, Baking with Cookie Molds. You might prefer to cut the lemon flavoring in half. Then use animal molds such as this delightful rolling pin from House on the Hill.

Small children would need help in using a rolling pin like this, but older kids should be able to have a lot of fun with it. Rolling pins are one of the quickest and easiest ways to make molded cookies.

 

 

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Mold: Gingerbread Kids

Of course you can use this for cookies other than gingerbread. It's easier to make the cookies one at a time rather than try to make both at once. Probably younger children would need help unmolding the cookies. Anyone could have lots of fun decorating them. The mold makes a nice, sharp impression--see cookies below.

Carved by Gene Wilson of HOBI Cookie Molds

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Mold: Animals

Here we have an inexpensive plastic mold with cheerful animal pictures. The manufacturer's label photo shows detailed, charming animals in multiple colors. Here's what you need to watch out for when you're buying cookie molds of this kind, though: the picture shows very shiny animals, almost certainly candy. It's much easier to make a molded shape with candy, which sets in the mold, than with a cookie, because the cookie blurs as it's baked.

To the right is my mockup of a painted bear cookie (Since I'm no painter, I do my cookie "painting" in my photo program.) The original cookie was so blurry that I don't think a child could have made much of it, and you can see that it bears only a slight resemblance to the mold itself, although it's cute.

I think this mold is delightful for molding candy, but is much less effective for cookies. However, it's certainly not fragile, and kids might have fun with it.

Sold by Wilton

 

 

Images on the Wilton label. Cute, aren't they? They do look like candy to me.

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Mold: Rearing Horse

How I longed for a horse when I was a little girl! There was the side issue that I was terrified of them...that would probably have been a problem. And my parents weren't about to add horse care to the family budget.

So I settled for horse books. It was similar to being an armchair traveler--I was an armchair rider.

I think many children admire horses, and here's a cookie mold from House on the Hill that's perfect for them. Unbreakable, and easy to use since it's a springerle mold that works like a rubber stamp.

Almost any horse-crazy kid would love this cookie mold.

 

 

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Mold: Favorite Cartoon Characters

This Mickey Mouse is one of many licensed cookie molds from cartoon characters. The combination mold and cutter is inexpensive, easy to use, and hard to break.It comes in a set that also includes Minnie Mouse. These molds are licensed by Disney. Other characters are available as well. I like the combination mold and cutter--very easy and rewarding for kids to use. This type of mold would work well for very young children.

To use it, assemble the pieces and set them lightly on top of your dough. Press down on the center piece first, then on the cutter. Then remove the cutter by backing it off the dough. Last of all remove the center piece by tilting it and gently lifting.

I bought this set on eBay--that's a very good place to look for cookie molds.

 

 

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Mold: Hornbooks

Hornbook with Angel, from House on the Hill

 

"School days, school days..." Probably the last thing kids want to think about at this point!

But these hornbook molds are interesting. So interesting, in fact, that the mold carver Gene Wilson has a page dedicated to hornbooks, their history, and cookie molds in the shape of hornbooks.

What is a hornbook, exactly? It's a device for teaching children to read. They were used in the days before printed books were common. Hornbook cookies were supposedly used as a reward for kids learning their letters.

 

Small Hornbook Mold by The Springerle Baker

 

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Mold: Tea Party Cookie Stamp

Brown Bag Cookie Molds made quite a few of these charming, toylike stamps (Another is shown in the next section).

Though they're fancy, the handles and little ornaments are made of resin, and seem fairly sturdy. Their design would make them especially fun for kids to use.

Cookie stamps are used in much the same way as a rubber stamp. Stamp the dough, cut the cookie out with a cookie cutter, then remove the excess dough before stamping the next cookie.

These are no longer manufactured, but fairly inexpensive and easy to find on eBay.

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Mold: Classic Pooh Cookie Stamp

Another charming cookie stamp from Brown Bag, one that lovers of Pooh Bear would find especially fun to use. Like the one above, no longer manufactured but easily available.

 

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Mold: Elves Dancing

I definitely believed in fairies and elves when I was little. Maybe this was because my family was of Irish extraction, or maybe because we were literary as well. But I had wonderful books about fairies, and they were on about the same level for me as horse books--adventures in something that was real, just not part of my day to day existence.

I made fairy dresses out of rose petals. Even I could see that they fell far short of the dresses fairies wore in my books, but I comforted myself that no doubt the fairies could improve them with magic. I'm not sure why it didn't occur to me that they might just as well have made the dresses by magic with no help from me. I was well-intentioned, just a little illogical.

This cookie mold with its old-fashioned picture of fairies or elves (I'm not sure of the difference, or even if there is one) is from Springerle Joy.

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Mold: Triceratops

Dinosaurs are popular with kids--at least they were with my nephews. Several kinds of them have been used as models for cookie molds. These might be fun for kids to paint and decorate, too.

This one is a triceratops, and Brown Bag, who produced the dino molds, also made a stegosaurus and a T. Rex.

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Mold: Dogs

Here's another fun set I found on eBay. Small silicone molds that make pictures of dog faces. These would be ideal for small children.

I tried them with rolled dough, but the results weren't good. Finally, I tried making one-inch balls of dough, and pressing the little molds into them. This worked much better.

You can find all kinds of kid-friendly molds by searching on "silicone cookie mold," either on an auction site or in your search engine. Happy hunting, and happy baking!

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Coming in September

Quilt Pattern Cookie Molds

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