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A cookie mold is like a stamp for cookie doughs. Instead of making an impression in ink on a piece of paper, an impression is made in relief in cookie dough. Many cookie molds are square and are intended to be pressed into square pieces of cookie dough. There are, however, many other shapes. A cookie mold may be shaped like a rectangle, circle, oval, triangle, or even a heart or a star.
Sometimes a rolling pin is embossed with the impression for a cookie mold so that an entire sheet of cookies can be imprinted with just one movement of the rolling pin. This kind of rolling pin cookie mold is less common than the simple molds that are used for a single impression. Among the many different kinds of molds, there are an array of images that the molds create.
A cookie mold may be quite simple, just embossing a simple shape into the cookie. There are many, however, that are incredibly intricate, yielding cookies that look more like works of three-dimensional art than baked goods. The cookie mold has been used to shape and emboss dough for centuries. Springerle, for example, are a kind of German cookies imprinted with a cookie mold that have a history that dates back to the 1300s.
It is not uncommon for a cookie mold to have symbols that are either religious or based on holidays. In fact, some religious baked goods are traditionally imprinted with a religious symbol. There are cookie molds that can be used to emboss images related to specific holidays. A cookie mold for Christmas, for example, may be made with the image of a decorated Christmas tree. A cookie mold for Valentine's Day, on the other hand, may be an etched heart shape.
While most of the molds described above are made of wood or ceramic, there are also molds that are made of metal that are intended as containers to be used during the baking process. Instead of stamping the dough with a mold and the baking the cookies, this kind of mold is filled with cookie dough and then placed into the oven until the cookies are thoroughly baked. As the dough softens while it is being baked, it fills the mold and the cookies fit into the shape of the mold. In this sense, the mold is like an intricate muffin tin.