Baking with Cookie Molds
How I Started
by Anne L. Watson, author of Baking with Cookie Molds
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.
Baking with Cookie Molds, by Anne L. Watson, Shepard Publications, 2010, 2018.
Recipes and technique to successfully make beautiful molded cookies—especially St. Nicholas, of course! UP-dated, expanded, and full-color edition.
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, by Anne L. Watson, Next River Books, 2017.
More recipes, more tips, and more beautiful photos of molded cookies for every occasion. A good companion and expansion to Baking with Cookie Molds.
From Anne L. Watson, Baking with Cookie Molds. Used by permission.