This is my final cookie in the Saveur Cookies We Love event, a spiced molded cookie called speculaas from the Netherlands. Molded cookies are common in Europe and the tradition is often passed down through families along with the old wooden cookie molds. If you are fortunate you may even have an heirloom mold that’s been in your family for years. My family doesn’t have that tradition so when I chose these cookies I needed to find a mold or two.
First I found some Wilton metal cookie molds at a brick and mortar store, and I chose one with gingerbread houses because I thought the boys would like those shapes, but I continued searching for a good wooden mold. My search led me to Gene Wilson, a retired biology teacher in Illinois who makes gorgeous traditional cookie molds out of cherry and beech wood. He doesn’t use patterns; each mold is started from scratch, and though he makes several of each style they are all unique. I spent a lot of time searching through his extensive catalog of molds trying to select the mold that would make our cookies this year. I finally decided on the dual gingerbread kids board, though I also had my eye on the nutcracker and a few others. After placing the order I received the mold about a week later, and Gene included a booklet about making molded cookies. I also purchased a copy of a book he recommends, Baking with Cookie Molds by Anne L. Watson, which thoroughly covers the history of baking molds as well as recipes and helpful tips.
After my first attempt at the cookies didn’t exactly turn out stellar, I tried again and got a better result. Through reading some of the recipes in Watson’s book, I learned to chill the cookies a bit before baking and that cookies will release much better from the molds if you use honey rather than sugar, and honey is more authentic anyway. The flavor of the Saveur speculaas cookies is very good, like a mild gingerbread, and my boys enjoyed helping to make the cookies. I taught Monkey Boy how to flatten a small piece of dough into a disk then press it into the gingerbread house pan. He got the hang of it and set off to make his own hand shaped abstract cookies. He was quite proud of himself.
I think these cookies, or some form of them, will become a family favorite because of the shapes, the flavor, and the process. The boys were very excited to see the cookies coming out of the oven and couldn’t wait to dive in.
The gingerbread mold I purchased form Gene Wilson is gorgeous, carved from a piece of cherry with a beautiful grain and color. I think he does fantastic work. In celebration of the holidays and because I like these so much, I’m giving away one of his cookie molds, the medium Nutcracker (above), and a copy of Watson’s book to one lucky reader. To enter simply leave a comment below and tell us about your favorite Christmas or other holiday cookies, and if you’ve made molded cookies we’d love to hear about them.
- Giveaway is open to residents of the United States and Canada. One entry per person, please.
- The giveaway closes at 10:00 pm EST on December 24, 2010. Random.org will select the winner and I will contact the winner immediately. The winner must respond with 48 hours and provide a mailing address for shipping purposes. If the winner does not respond within that timeframe another winner will be selected.
- I will announce the winner in this post once it’s official.
Disclosure: I’m am sponsoring this giveaway myself and paying for the prizes. I was not solicited by anyone to offer this giveaway.
The giveaway is now closed. Thanks to all who entered! Congratulations to amy for winning the cookie mold and book!
And finally, thanks to all my cooking baking friends, especially to Courtney for getting us organized, and to Claire for making our logo. I look forward to baking with you all again next year!
The Rest of the Cookie Baking Clan
- Claire of The Barefoot Kitchen
- Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook
- Judy of No Fear Entertaining
- Kelly of Sass & Veracity
- Michelle of Big Black Dogs
- RJ of Flamingo Musings
- Sandy of At the Baker’s Bench
- Tiffany of The Nesting Project
- Courtney of Coco Cooks
Yield may vary depending on type of molds used.
Prep Time includes chilling time.
Speculaas (Molded Ginger Cookies)
- medium mixing bowl
- stand mixer with paddle attachment
- plastic wrap
- cookie molds
- baking pans lined with parchment paper
- wire cooling racks
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1-½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- ⅓ cup milk
- In the medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, ginger, cloves, baking soda, salt, and white pepper. In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add half the flour mixture and mix, then add the milk and remaining flour mixture and mix. Divide the dough and shape it into 2 disks and wrap each in plastic. Chill, covered, for up to 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
- Working with 1 disk at a time, break off small chunks of dough and press into a floured cookie mold. The dough should fill the mold area and there might be a little sticking up the mold, which is ok, just press lightly against a flat surface to smooth it. Tap the long edge of the mold on the counter to loosen the cookies. Transfer the shape dough pieces to the prepared baking sheets, spacing the pieces 2 inches apart. Chill cookies on the pans in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 16–18 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking pan for a couple minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in tightly covered tins.