Molded Gingerbread Cookies Made with Springerle Cookie Stamps
Over the years I've collected a few vintage carved wooden springerle rolling pins, like the one I used in my anise shortbread cookie recipe. This year I ordered several reproduction cookie molds made from antique springerle molds that I found on Etsy. There were so many beautiful designs to choose from but I settled on a woodland scene, birds perched on branches, and a small toadstool design. Designed for stamping springerle dough, the cookie molds work perfectly on gingerbread dough as well.
These molded gingerbread cookies are soft, not too sweet, and flavored with more than just ginger and cinnamon. Nutmeg, clove, anise, vanilla, and an optional pinch of black pepper add lots of warm spiced flavor to the gingerbread dough. A touch of dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder adds a mellow earthy note that brings out the flavor of the molasses which sweetens and colors the cookies.
How to Use Cookie Molds on Gingerbread Dough
To get a good deep impression of the cookie stamp design into the gingerbread dough it is important to roll the dough out no thinner than about ½" thick. Brush the molds generously with flour to prevent them from sticking to the dough. Press the cookie stamp firmly into the dough then lift it off to reveal the stamped design. Use an appropriately sized fluted cutter or round cutter to cut out the cookies.
How to Preserve the Cookie Mold Designs
The best way to preserve the designs of the molded gingerbread cookies is to allow them to dry uncovered at room temperature for 8-12 hours or overnight. This extended drying time is also used in the process of making springerle cookies and allows the stamped surface of the cookies to dry out enough to set the designs and keep them from melting back into the cookies as they bake.
I prefer to dry the cookies right on the same parchment paper-lined half sheet pans that I will bake them on. Because the size of the cookies will determine the baking time, keep each size to its own sheet pans. Small cookies will take less time to bake than larger cookies. All three sizes are pictured on one sheet pan in the images below to show the different molds altogether but were baked separately. After the drying period brush off any excess flour with a dry pastry brush before baking the cookies.
To Glaze or Not to Glaze
Depending on the design of the cookie molds a glaze may either highlight the design or hide it, which is what it did to these delicately detailed designs of the molds I used as you can see in the images. I would suggest saving the glaze for a simple bold design such as a snowflake or an embossed rolling pin design.
The glaze should have a fairly runny consistency so that it leaves a thin layer of glaze that settles into the design. In the photos, I tried a rum butter glaze but it was too thick and started to split as a tried thinning it out. A simple glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice thinned out with water works perfectly though.
How to Make Molded Gingerbread Cookies
Step 1: Prepare the gingerbread dough
Step 2: Wrap and Chill
Next, tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead it into a smooth ball for about 30 seconds. Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Then wrap each disc and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
Step 3: Roll and Stamp
After the dough is chilled, roll it out to about ½″ thick on a floured surface. Brush the cookie molds with flour before pressing them into the dough firmly. Lift the mold up and cut the cookie out with a fluted cutter or round cutter.
Step 4: Dry and Cure
Leave the cookies out at room temperature uncovered for 8-12 hours to dry out and cure the stamped design into the dough. After the drying period brush off any excess flour from the cookies with a dry pastry brush.
Step 5: Bake and Cool
When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 300˚F (150˚C) and bake them for 12 minutes for small/medium-sized cookies and about 15 minutes for larger cookies. The cookies will puff slightly and should still be soft when pressed.
Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before optionally glazing them.
Step 6: Glaze and Store
To prepare the glaze simply whisk the ingredients together into a fairly loose and free-flowing glaze. Then spoon or brush the glaze onto the cooled cookies. Return them to the cooling rack to allow the glaze to set before handling them further.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
Stamped Soft Gingerbread Cookie Questions:
The cookie dough contains egg. How is it ok to dry the cookies out for 8-12 hours?
This is the traditional method used for springerle cookies which contain a higher percentage of eggs and are left to dry for 12-24 hours. If it's safe enough for springerle cookies it is surely safe enough for this gingerbread recipe which only has 1 egg. Remember the cookies will be baked at 300˚F/150˚C. If you are nervous about it though you can omit the egg altogether. If the dough is too dry then just add a bit more molasses.
For more traditional holiday cookies check out these recipes:
- Vegan Rugelach Cookies
- Vegan Crescent Cookies
- Vegan Linzer Cookies
- Vegan Lemon Anise Almond Cornmeal Biscotti
- Vanilla and Chocolate Mushroom Cookies
- Italian Baci di Dama Cookies
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Molded Gingerbread Cookies
- 100 g dark brown sugar ½ cup packed
- 80 ml molasses ⅓ cup
- 1 large egg at room temperature
- 60 ml neutral oil ¼ cup/55g, such as light olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 280 g all-purpose flour 2 cups
- 7 g Dutch-process cocoa powder 1 tablespoon
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 g kosher salt ½ teaspoon
- 6 g ground ginger 1 tablespoon
- 3 g cinnamon 1 ½ teaspoon
- ½ teaspoon grated whole nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground anise seed
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper optional
- 80 g powdered sugar ⅔ cup
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3-4 tablespoons water
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dark brown sugar, molasses, egg, oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, and spices in a separate bowl. Then stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture with a rubber spatula or spoon until a soft dough forms, about 1 minute.
- Tip the dough onto a floured surface and knead it into a smooth ball for about 30 seconds.
- Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a disc. Then wrap each disc and refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Roll the dough to about ½" thick on a floured surface.
- Brush the cookie molds with flour before pressing them into the dough firmly. Lift the mold up and cut the cookie out with a fluted cutter or round cutter.
- Transfer the cookies with an offset spatula to parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- Reroll and cut the dough scraps until all of the dough is used up.
- Leave the cookies out at room temperature uncovered for 8-12 hours to dry out and set the stamped design into the dough. After the drying period brush off any excess flour from the cookies with a dry pastry brush.
- When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 300˚F (150˚C) then bake them for 12 minutes for small/medium-sized cookies and about 15 minutes for larger cookies. The cookies will puff slightly and should still be soft when pressed.
- Transfer cookies to a cooling rack to cool completely before optionally glazing them.
- To prepare the glaze simply whisk the ingredients together into a fairly loose and free-flowing glaze. Then spoon or brush the glaze onto the cooled cookies. Return them to the cooling rack to allow the glaze to set before handling them further.
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