Beautiful Cookies for the Artistically Inept (Brown Sugar Molded Cookies)

Written by Lynn Craig of Cookie Baker Lynn.
This is undeniably the season for making cookies. Cookie swaps, cookie plates for the neighbors, gifts of cookies for teachers, and nostalgia all demand that we spend some time in the kitchen. Even people who rarely bake the rest of the year will dust off their old, faithful cookie book and bake up a batch or two of the family favorites.

Because I bake cookies all the time, I like to create something different, really beautiful and special for gifting. Unfortunately I have the decorating skills of a four-year-old on a sugar high. Lots of enthusiasm, not so much art.

I don’t have the patience or steady hands to intricately frost a cookie, let alone a dozen cookies! Fortunately there is a way to make gorgeous cookies for the artistically handicapped, like myself, that doesn’t take days and days of work.

Cookies molds enable the artistically challenged

You can take advantage of the artistic skills of someone else by using cookie molds. Molds are available in clay, ceramic, wood, and acrylic, and can be found in just about any pattern you can dream of. Once you bake your cookies, they are works of art as is, but you can also hand-paint them with food coloring, or guild them with edible gold luster dust, if you need them to  be extra fancy.

Whether you’re baking molded butter cookies, springerle, shortbread, or speculaas, using a mold will help you to make memorable, beautiful cookies, with almost no extra effort. And when you’re done baking with your mold, you can use it to make paper ornaments, beeswax ornaments, or just hang it in your kitchen to admire year round.

Tips to Working with a Cookie Mold

Here are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re using a cookie mold:

  • Most important is mold preparation. By greasing and lightly dusting with flour or cornstarch, your mold will release the cookies easily. It’s important to dust the mold before shaping each cookie.
  • Keep the dough cold. Take out only what you need for one cookie at a time. Warm dough is stickier and doesn’t hold its shape as well.
  • And lastly, if the cookie design seems to be losing its crisp definition, take a look at the mold. If the small carved details are filling up with flour or dough, the design won’t show up as well. Clean it out with a toothpick, then redust with flour before using it again.
  • Cleaning the mold is a simple matter. Run it under warm water and scrub gently with an old toothbrush. Allow to air dry.

Brown Sugar Molded Cookies

4.75 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Desserts
Cook Time: 12 minutes
resting time: 2 days
Total Time: 2 days 12 minutes
Servings: 6 very large (6 to 8-inch) molded cookies
Calories: 372kcal
Author: Lynn


  • 1 cup light sugar (packed) or dark brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons light corn syrup or dark corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 stick, slightly softened
  • 2-2/3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour approximately
  • Additional flour or cornstarch for dusting the mold


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, corn syrup, salt, egg, and vanilla. Mix them together till blended and then let the mixture stand for 5 minutes to allow time for any lumps of brown sugar to dissolve.
  • Add butter and mix gently until incorporated and smooth. If the mixture appears curdled at this point, don't be alarmed. It will come together when the dry ingredients are added.
  • Stir in 2-2/3 cups flour. If the mixture seems too soft to handle, work in an additional 1 to 2 Tablespoons flour.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2-1/2 hours, or up to 48 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the upper third of the oven. Spray several baking sheets with cooking spray.
  • To prepare the mold, very lightly brush vegetable oil over all the inside surfaces using a pastry or basting brush, being sure to reach into all the crevices and indentations. Lightly sieve flour or cornstarch over the mold, tipping it to ensure even coverage. Turn the mold upside down and tap lightly against a surface to remove all excess flour or cornstarch.
    Note: The mold only needs to be oiled once, but the flouring needs to be repeated each time a cookie is formed.
  • Break off a piece of dough large enough to fill the mold, leaving the rest of the dough in the refrigerator. On a clean counter, roll the dough briefly to approximately the size of the mold. Press the dough into the prepared mold.
    You want to be sure the dough is pressed into the details of the mold, and no air pockets remain. Use a rolling pin to roll over the back of the mold, smoothing and evening the dough. Remove any dough that extends out over the edges.
  • Rap the mold on an edge to unmold the cookie, catching the dough as it peels out with your hand. If the dough sticks, carefully loosen it with the point of a small knife. Lay the cookie on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat the process, dusting the mold before each use, until your baking sheet is full, with the cookies spaced about 2-1/2 inches apart.
  • Bake the cookies for 10 to 14 minutes, or until cookies begin to brown around the edges. Baking time will depend on the size and thickness of the mold used. While the first batch is baking, repeat the process with the remaining dough.
  • Remove the finished cookies from the oven and let them stand on the baking sheets for several minutes. Slide a narrow spatula underneath the cookie to loosen it from the baking sheet and use a wide spatula to transfer them to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining cookies.


Store cookies in an airtight container for up to a week or freeze for longer storage.


Calories: 372kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 81mg | Potassium: 77mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 44g | Vitamin A: 524IU | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 1mg

Do you give or receive cookies over the holidays? What is a favorite type?

About Lynn

Lynn Craig is a mother of four (two out of the nest, two to go) who homeschools, bakes obsessively, quilts sporadically, and occasionally finds time to clean the house. She and her husband live in Bellevue, Washington where she chronicles her kitchen triumphs and disasters on her blog Cookie Baker Lynn.

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  1. They’re really gorgeous! What a fun way to elevate a simple cookie.

  2. That is so awesome! I have never seen that before, so THANK YOU! I love learning new things to make food better!

  3. Beautiful cookies!

  4. Those are beautiful!

  5. So very pretty!

  6. Very cool mold! Those are so pretty!

  7. Cookbook Queen says

    these are so pretty!! I have never used a cookie mold before, but i will have to give it a try!!

  8. Love your line about how artistic you are! I feel the same.
    We make cookies year round, but at Christmas we make to give away. This year our girls decided to go caroling and we’ll give out treats to the neighbours.

  9. How very lovely!!

  10. Ha, I totally have a gingerbread cookie mold…I just never knew what it was! (It has a hole in the top with a ribbon through, so I thought maybe it was some kind of freakishly heavy/ugly ornament!) 🙂

  11. Those cookies are absolutely stunning! I remember my mom had cookie molds when I was a kid. I vaguely remember making a whole nativity set out of molded cookies. I will have to ask if she still has them!

  12. These are lovely! Is there a source you recommend to get cookie molds?

  13. These are so gorgeous… and such fantastic tips!!! I def. have to try this!

  14. Beautiful! I love the old classic feel of these cookies. Great tips for working with them as well.

  15. If they taste half as good as they look I’m hooked. Thanks for the great recipe.

    Winston Rolbacher

  16. Jen @ Frugal Mommy Tips says

    Beautiful cookies! Those would be great for Valentine’s Day.

    We use cookie stamps to make easy decorated cookies, but have never tried the molds before. I always thought they would stick. I am going to be on the lookout for a mold to try.

    With the cookie stamps, we use sugar instead of flour to keep it from sticking, because it melts into the baked cookies. Have you ever tried using sugar on the molds instead of flour?

  17. So pretty!

  18. Thank you so much! I have two gorgeous cookie molds I bought a few years ago, but I’d never found a good tutorial on how to use them. Your tips (and recipe) have inspired me to actually USE them! 🙂

  19. These are absolutely beautiful…and look delicious too!

  20. Wow! those are gorgeous! I love the intricate detail. Though I have molds, I don’t think I’ve ever been successful making them look so perfect.

  21. lovely! thanks for the great tips on using the molds.

  22. These sounds like a regular butter cookies, but with brown sugar. and i am infatuated with brown sugar!

  23. Melanie Schoenhut says

    These are really nice cookies. Stunningly looks good and is perfect this valentine. I don’t know if I can make this perfectly even with a cookie mold.

  24. They will look so nice on my next christmas tree… Good job

  25. Great post. Over the past few years I have gotten back to baking, mostly breads, but molded cookies are on my mind from time to time. All of the advisiories make good sense here – Thanks!

  26. These look lovely but how do they taste? I have tried molded cookies before
    but wasn’t thrilled with the flavor or texture. I have 12 molds that I would dearly love to use if I could find a flavorful recipe.My molds are from
    Longaberger, Hartstone, Brown Bag.

    • They actually tasted quite nice. Unlike many decorative baked items, these all got eaten. The flavor is subtle, but good; it goes well with a cup of tea or coffee. The texture is a surprise, too. They aren’t dry and nasty. Give them a try! You can always modify the recipe with spices to make it suit your palate.

      • 4 stars
        What spices would you recommend adding? My son loves the taste, my neice not so much! I’m making another batch tomorrow.

      • Charlotte McCall says

        5 stars
        These cookies are delicious! I made pig shaped cookies for a friend, and I needed a recipe for a sturdy cookie that would mail well. They do! And the flavor reminds me of the filling of a pecan pie. I baked them for 14 minutes, and used dark brown sugar and white Karo. They are crisp with a complex sugary taste..

    • 5 stars
      I agree, look great; taste just ok.

    • Regina Zeyzus says

      Search for Brown Bag Cookie Art recipes. Every single recipe by Brown Bag is excellent. I’ve done them all.

  27. Beverly Burch says

    5 stars
    I just made a batch of hospitality heart cookies with your recipe. They are almost too pretty to eat. Thanks for sharing.

  28. Thanks for the recipe! I love cookie molds and own quite a few–they are very reasonable at garage sales and thrift shops, and sturdier than you’d think. My favorites are the Hartstone for the details in the designs, and they are dishwasher safe. I’m not sure whether the others are as there are different grades of clay, and you don’t want soap into a porous clay. My tip to share is to use cookie recipes with as little butter as possible, as butter softens the imprint when they are baking. Martha Stewart’s recipe for Speculaas is an excellent spice cookie recipe, and the Scandinavian spice cookie recipe printed in the Hartstone leaflet that comes with new molds is also excellent. Because of the low fat content, these are durable, keep well, and freeze beautifully too.

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