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What are Molded Cookies?

Mary Elizabeth
Updated May 16, 2024
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The word cookie, also spelled cooky, is a small cake — often, but not always in a flattish round shape — made with a sweetened dough. The word comes from koekje, the diminutive of the Dutch word for cake. There are several standard ways for forming cookies, and molded cookies are one of these styles. Some explanations of molded cookies on the Internet are incorrect, so a clarification is in order.

There are eight main ways to shape a cookie. For bar cookies, the batter is poured into a pan and usually served cut into squares or rectangles, while refrigerator cookies are shaped into a log, chilled, and then sliced before baking. Griddle or iron cookies made with a special baker include Pizzelles and Krumkake, and deep-fried cookies like Rosettes, are cooked on a special iron, and drop cookies are dropped by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet. Pressed cookies are made by pressing cough through a pastry bag or cookie press, while rolled cookies and cut out with cookie cutters from thinly rolled dough. Molded cookies, confused by some with rolled cookies and by others with pressed cookies, are actually either hand-shaped cookies or those that are pressed into a cookie mold.

Examples of molded cookies come from a variety of cultures. Pfeffernüsse and Lebkuchen from Germany may be rolled into balls by hand, and Pastelitos de boda or Mexican wedding cookies as well as Russian Tea Cakes share the rounded shape. Kipfel— made in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Austria — and Kourambiethes and Kourabiedes from Greece are often, if not always, shaped as crescents.

Variations on molded cookies included molding dough around a surprise treat, such as a Hershey’s® Kiss or Hug. Another type is the thumbprint cookie in which a rolled ball is then pressed with the thumb, and the thumbprint filled with jam. They are also called Butterballs or Polish Tea Cakes.

As far as molded cookies that are actually made in cookie molds go, Speculaas or Spekulatius may be the most famous. The name means “mirror” and may reflect the fact that the image on the cookie mirrors the image on the mold. A Springerle cookie is kind of a cross between a molded cookie and a rolled cookie because the mold is pressed onto the dough using a special rolling pin that has been carved to create a mold.

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Mary Elizabeth
By Mary Elizabeth , Writer
Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the Internet. In addition to writing articles on art, literature, and music for DelightedCooking, Mary works as a teacher, composer, and author who has written books, study guides, and teaching materials. Mary has also created music composition content for Sibelius Software. She earned her B.A. from University of Chicago's writing program and an M.A. from the University of Vermont.

Discussion Comments

By popcorn — On Sep 03, 2011

My mother used to make all of her molded cookies by hand and she was really good at it. It always amazed me how well she could create shapes just using her fingers.

One of the hardest things is that with most cooking dough, if you handle it too much, the final product won't come out light and fluffy. My mother was always scolding me for taking too long to make my own shapes.

Some of the easiest things to make are angels and Christmas trees, which we always did during the winter holiday.

By manykitties2 — On Sep 03, 2011

@MissCourt - Making cookie molds really isn't that hard, but it totally depends on what kind of shape you are looking for. For myself I just used to buy pieces of thin sheet metal, some pincher pliers and some good quality shears.

It really requires you to think in 3D though, as you'll need to make allowances for how deep you want your cookies. Basically you just trace whatever shape you want onto the thin sheet metal, and give it an inch or so border all the way around. You cut it out with the sheet metal shears and mold its final shape using the pliers. It really isn't too hard, just make sure you wear safety gloves.

By MissCourt — On Sep 02, 2011

@amsden2000 - Does anyone know how to make cookie molds?

I always make small cookies because I like the chocolate mold shapes better than the cookie ones. Valentines chocolate molds come in all kinds of cute shapes like hearts with lace around them.

A lot of cookie molds are based on animals -- which is fine for most holidays, but not very romantic. I suppose I could dress up a cow with heart spots, but I would really just like hearts themselves.

Is there any way to make cookie molds? Any help would be great.

By chivebasil — On Sep 01, 2011

I like to make a really decadent variation on a thumbprint cookie. I make an especially thick dough and then I make traditional thumb print style cookies but with an especially deep depression.

After the cookies bake and cool I fill the thumbprint with a layer of peanut butter and then a layer of melted dark chocolate. I put them in the fridge and they are ready to go about an hour later. They are so rich and so good and a big hit at parties and with kids.

By backdraft — On Sep 01, 2011

My grandmother used to make these incredible cookies every year around Christmas. They were really thick and chewy and flavored with a little almond extract. What was cool about them though is that she made them on a waffle iron.

The dough would go in kind of thin and then poof up in the waffle iron. As a kid I used to love watching it pop out of the sides of the iron. They were so delicious and I could have eaten just about as many as you could fit on a plate.

I still have the recipe but I've never been able to duplicate it. I'm not much of a cook and to be honest the recipe is kind of tricky recipe. Wish she was still around to make them.

By amsden2000 — On Aug 31, 2011

@Almita - You must make really good cookies. I have always used cookie molds, they are way easier than cutting the cookies out. I still spend a lot of time glazing them, but as you said -- no more rolling out the dough.

My favorite set is a mold that looks like different types of nuts. The walnut cookie mold is kind of big, but they are just so cute.

I only ever make cookies for my friends and they never really care what shape the cookie is in. Once the tin lid's off -- there's aren't any cookies left to see.

By Almita — On Aug 31, 2011

@w00dchuck41 - Cookie molds definitely make things easier for the holidays. I have a really big family and they all love my cookies. So every year, I make cookie baskets to hand out. After a couple years of doing that -- everyone was horrified when I said that it took too long to cut out every single cookie.

That Christmas, I got five different sets of cookie molds, ranging from Santa to Batman. Everyone apparently missed my cookies more than I thought.

So now, I'm still stuck with making dozens of cookies -- but at least they are all preformed. It save me from rolling the dough out and moving all of the crumbling cookies to the pan. Phew.

By w00dchuck41 — On Aug 30, 2011

The molds for cookies that I have are shaped like little farm animals. I have a pig, sheep, chicken, cow, dog and cat in every batch.

Me and my daughter make cookies for almost every holiday and we dress the little farm animals up for the holiday. On the 4th of July, we gave them red, white and blue party hats and on Christmas -- they all had little Santa hats.

Now that my daughter is a little older, people still except me to make themed cookies for every holiday -- with her help or not. Luckily, I have my mold ready!

By anon128992 — On Nov 21, 2010

.i think the rolled cookies and molded cookies are the same, but i like this article. thanks for the info.

Mary Elizabeth

Mary Elizabeth


Passionate about reading, writing, and research, Mary Elizabeth is dedicated to correcting misinformation on the...
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