I’ve added a couple
unitaskers specialty pieces to my kitchen for the express purpose of making fancier baked goods for ritual cakes. It occurred to me that I’ve never mentioned these items here, and they are lovingly handmade…so perhaps some publicity for the craftspeople wouldn’t go amiss?
First, how adorable are these cookie stamps? They are handmade by Shay of the Kin of Fire Etsy store, and they come in a variety of glaze colors. They are meant to be used on drop cookies that have just been taken out of the oven, and you use a bit of a rolling motion to make the stamp. You definitely cannot use them on things like chocolate chip cookies, but they do work on plain dough recipes, like peanut butter, molasses, or sugar. I have found that they leave next to no imprint on store-bought dough. They seem to need something with a bit more chew. I’ve been trying them out on my own favorite recipes to varying levels of success. Sometimes some recipes kinda poof out after the cookies come out of the oven, and the design flattens out. Sometimes you can’t even see them after it cools. But other recipes give great impressions. I would definitely give your recipe a trial run before showing off at a circle!
I have found this recipe to be fairly foolproof with the stamp, but it requires rolling raw dough out, stamping it, then using a round cookie cutter to cut out the cookie. And I *hate* rolling out cookie dough, so I almost never make them.
What’s been getting more play in my kitchen these days are the shortbread molds I got from Image of the Goddess, which is pretty much the coolest website to spend 20 minutes on. I really don’t know much about Constance Tippett, the artist behind it, but she loves historical representations. She has this huge poster she sells, the Goddess timeline, that traces representations of Goddesses throughout history. It’s absolutely fascinating to look at, and I was surprised at how much I learned. Most of her artistic pieces are strongly inspired by actual archeological finds, and the overall effect is lovely.
I’m not sure how she got the idea to make shortbread molds, but I’m so glad she did! I ended up getting both the Cernunnos mold and the Bee Goddess mold. Constance was a fabulous seller and was so good about communicating with me. She was worried a bit about the Cernunnos one, which she said looked a little funny to her (I couldn’t tell). I was worried about the Bee Goddess one, which curves up for some reason. I was worried it would make the shortbread bake unevenly (it doesn’t). The mold I got also only had 6 squares instead of the pictured nine, so I thought I would have to adjust the recipe (I didn’t–she made the mold smaller so the same sized recipe could be used in either one without scaling). So we definitely had a flurry of e-mails going.
I’m beyond satisfied with the molds–they are quality stuff. I’m still, however, in the process of finding a shortbread recipe I like. I live alone, so I can only make so much, and the pieces these make are huge. And it’s not like I can send these around to the neighbors.
I’ve mostly been experimenting with recipes where you bake the shortbread in the pan, but I may try ones that have you unmold before baking…though those are typically done with smaller molds. I think I will also experiment with doughs used for other traditionally molded cookies. I bet these would make fantastic speculaas cookies! I should try that next time.
The best part of either the cookie stamp or the shortbread mold is that I get a high impact with almost no effort. With the stamp, it’s just one quick step added to a familiar process. It takes less than 30 seconds to stamp a sheet pan of cookies. The shortbread molds look like they would be fussy, but they add no time to the process of making shortbread. After all, it would get patted into a pan to bake anyway. They’re almost easier to use in some ways. For example, I can easily see whether the dough is too thick in an area because the pans are so shallow. So in the end, I get a lot of credit for being a Martha Stewart, but without any of Martha’s hassle.