Cookie Molds and Stamps

Appears in
Oxford Companion to Sugar and Sweets

By Darra Goldstein

Published 2015

  • About

cookie molds and stamps are used by cooks in many parts of the world to imprint designs—religious, secular, traditional, modern—on cookie dough, usually before it is baked. Sometimes the dough is baked in the mold or deep-fried on the mold. Descendants of the bread stamps used by ancient cultures, these baking utensils have a long history and encompass a wide variety of materials, forms, designs, and uses.

Historically, cookie molds have been made of wood, stone, ceramic (earthenware, stoneware, porcelain), metal, plaster, wax, and even thick pieces of leather. Some are now also made of glass, plastic, silicone, or resin. The mold has a concave design (a negative image, or reverse image) carved or otherwise shaped into it. With some types of molds, a piece of dough is first pressed into the mold, then the excess dough is cut away, and the dough is removed from the mold before being baked on a baking sheet or baking stone. Other types of molds are pressed, face down, onto a rolled-out sheet of dough, then removed from the dough, which is cut or trimmed into shapes before baking. These can be flat molds, known as boards, or rolling pins with designs incised in them. In all cases, a reverse imprint of the mold’s design is embossed on the dough’s surface. Examples of cookies molded in these ways include European springerle, speculaas, gingerbreads, and some shortbreads; Middle Eastern maamoul; Malaysian kuih bangkit; and Chinese and Japanese mooncakes.