American Artisans: Hobi Cookie Molds




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American Artisan Gene Wilson's Gingerbread Cookie Molds
Milkfly's exquisite handmade felt food is part toy, part fine art!

Hobi  Cookie Molds is the fifteenth in my Sunday series featuring American Artisans. There are so many exceptionally talented craftspeople, designers, and small companies across the country who share my love of handcrafted quality, and this is my chance to introduce them to you. These artisans are creating beautiful, useful and delicious products that elevate the experience of everyday cooking, dining, and entertaining. They’re using skills, techniques, and materials that might otherwise be lost in our era of mass production. Their work makes me happy, and I hope it does the same for you. Each feature will be paired with a giveaway to give you the chance to experience their work for yourselves. I’ll be doing these features every other Sunday for the foreseeable future, so be sure to check back, and enjoy!

American Artisan Gene Wilson's St Nicholas gingerbread mold

Are you ready for some holiday spirit?  I’m so happy to have Gene Wilson here today from Hobi Cookie Molds — Gene has been hand carving his traditional wooden cookie molds in Belleville Illinois for over 40 years.  His site offers over 100 designs for making authentic gingerbread, Scottish shortbread, Dutch speculaas and springerle cookies.  You have to see it to believe it, his designs are spectacular.  These are old world, European style molds that just aren’t being done anymore, and what a great way to infuse a little tradition into your holiday baking this year.

American Artisan Gene Wilson's vintage style cookie molds

Gene’s molds are hand carved from American hardwood beech and cherry, and because they are hand done without templates or duplicating machinery, every one is unique — he carves his initials and date into the back of each one.  The designs are based on vintage molds he’s collected over the years from numerous trips to Europe, but his first exposure to them was during a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, where he fell in love with the antique molds being used in the Village Bakery.  His technique of reverse carving (intaglio) is the same technique used for centuries in Europe, and also in colonial America.  Gene says “Carving wooden cookie molds is a dying European art, an art that June [his wife] and I are trying to keep alive.”  He says that vintage molds are rare and super expensive, and even if you were to go to Europe, the mass-produced tourist trade molds lack detail and character.  Gene believes he’s just one of 3 woodcarvers left in the US doing this kind of work on any scale.

American Artisan Gene Wilson's hand carved Scottish shortbread mold

Gene sells various types of molds, each specifically designed for different types of cookies.  All of them require a dough that holds its shape without spreading or rising in the oven.  The cute Scottie dog above is made for shortbread.  The elaborate santas are made for gingerbread or Dutch speculaas cookies.  These types of cookies have a long and storied history and have always been associated with the holiday season, but sadly, like the molds themselves, they’re a dying art.  One of my grandfathers was Dutch, and I vividly remember the windmill cookies.  If you know Biscoff cookies or spread, you know the speculaas flavor, it’s a heady mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, ginger, and white pepper, similar to gingerbread, but different, more spicy.  Sometimes there are almonds involved.  There are lots of recipes for it on the Internet, but Gene sends along recipes for the perfect dough, plus instructions, for every mold, so don’t fret, you’re covered.

American Artisans Gene Wilson's hardwood carved cookie molds

I think these molds make such unique gifts, for hosts, housewarmings, weddings…or if you’d rather keep the molds for yourself you can start a new holiday tradition of giving the spectacular cookies every year, just one of these large cookies, packaged nicely, would be a fabulous gift.  The process is simple, once you have the right dough.  Each mold gets lightly dusted with powdered sugar, and then you pat the dough into it.  Tap to release the cookie, and bake.  They can be used as ornaments, as place cards on a holiday table, or just plain gobbled up.

American Artisans Windmill cookie mold

Gene is generously giving away his best selling large Windmill Cookie Mold (with recipe booklet) to one lucky reader!

You have two ways to enter, please visit Gene’s site, HERE, and poke around, then come back and comment. For a second entry, join me on my email list HERE, and let me know in a second comment (if you are already on the email list, leave a second comment letting me know)…you have until Friday November 20th to enter — good luck!

Hobi Cookie Molds

(Giveaway is closed )

*I use Random.org to pick the winner, and will announce it here on Saturday.

***The winner of the Windmill cookie mold is Yelena, who blogs at Cooking Melangery — congratulations Yelena!***

St Nicholas cookie from Anne L. Watson

PS.  If you get ‘bitten by the bug’ and want to learn more, this site has a wealth of information and inspiration on how to make successful cookies with your molds.

And Baking With Cookie Molds is a great resource if you’re interested in diving in and giving it a try…

 

75 Comments

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  • Reply
    Yelena
    November 30, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I couldn’t wait for a long time, I just had to try this beautiful mold. http://www.melangery.com/2015/11/honey-ginger-windmill-cookies-speculaas.html

    Thank you!!

    Hugs,

    Yelena

  • Reply
    Yelena
    November 22, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    OMG!!!Thank you so much!!! I love these molds!! Can not wait to try them!!!

    Hugs,

    Yelena

  • Reply
    Susan Silverberg
    November 20, 2015 at 7:17 am

    Cookies from these molds are works of art and a meditation. These truly elevate home baking. Thank you for this discovery and your lovely recipes.

  • Reply
    Dana White
    November 19, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    I love Gene’s site and am ordering Father Christmas ASAP. I think I need (:)) the 12 Days of Christmas too!

  • Reply
    Dana White
    November 19, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    You have a wonderful site and at this moment I am your newest subscriber. I will be back often!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 19, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      Welcome in Dana :)

  • Reply
    Vicki
    November 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I have been an email subscriber to your blog for years now – happy customer too; you’ve got one of the best blogs on the web!

  • Reply
    Vicki
    November 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    I especially liked the Saint George and the Dragon mold; the woodwork detail is fantastic! The cookie stamps were great too and all the other molds as well. I’ll take one of each please :-)

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's+Recipes
    November 18, 2015 at 6:04 am

    They look really impressive!

  • Reply
    Joanne T Ferguson
    November 17, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    Oh My Goodness … were the first words that I SQUEALED!!! What ABSOLUTELY extraordinary craftsmanship and a truly dying art! These works of art are truly unique and bring me back to my childhood growing up in New York! I would LOVE experiencing the Scottish Thistle Shortbread mold for that someone who is as special and unique as your molds!

  • Reply
    Gerlinde
    November 17, 2015 at 8:03 am

    These are beautiful cookie molds. We have similar ones all over Germany .

  • Reply
    Shari Wick
    November 17, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I have signed onto your mailing list… Love Gene’s cookie molds and would love to use for my Christmas cookie baking…

  • Reply
    Helene
    November 17, 2015 at 5:51 am

    Amazing works of art! U just opened a new door to my cookie making. I’ll have to pick up a mold or two.
    Thanks & I’m on your email list.

  • Reply
    Barely Vegan
    November 16, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I don’t know why we’ve gotten away from finding a craft and perfecting it (well at least here in America I don’t think it’s emphasized very much). I watched a documentary a couple of years ago about this Russian craftsman who built beautiful furniture. Something he said that always stuck with me is “You can never take away a mans craft”. It’s true. If you have a craft that you’ve perfected, you will almost always be able to make some type of living, even if it’s not much. These cookie molds are gorgeous and I appreciate Gene Wilson’s craft very much. No one can ever take this from him. Stunning!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 17, 2015 at 6:38 am

      Beautifully said :)

  • Reply
    Alice
    November 16, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Beautiful and charming, wonderful talent.

  • Reply
    robyn
    November 16, 2015 at 9:50 am

    Hi there,

    I am already on
    your email list.

  • Reply
    robyn
    November 16, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Beautiful molds – would love for him to do a border collie. Would love to make cookies from his molds.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 16, 2015 at 10:13 am

      Wouldn’t it be amazing if he did a variety of breeds…

  • Reply
    Jen
    November 16, 2015 at 8:30 am

    These are absolutely gorgeous… WOW. What artistry!

  • Reply
    Guy
    November 16, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Don’t know how you find the time to curate these extraordinary artisans with everything else you do so well but thank you, thank you, thank you! As others have said, it’s so inspiring to see the beautiful work being done all around us. Gene is truly an American treasure. Just…wow. So grateful to be introduced to his unique artistry.

  • Reply
    Yelena
    November 16, 2015 at 7:28 am

    These mold are so beautiful!! I make molded cookies all the time. Would like to try new mold!

    Hugs,

    Yelena

  • Reply
    Heather
    November 16, 2015 at 6:48 am

    Having grown up eating the windmill cookies — both because they’re delicious and because we’re German — these types of molds are always on my “hunt for” list when antiquing. I love this story of Gene’s self-taught skill, and that his wife Jean is the official taste-taster!

  • Reply
    Heather
    November 16, 2015 at 6:46 am

    Subscribed to the newsletter!

  • Reply
    sherry klusman
    November 16, 2015 at 4:13 am

    Oh my what a surprise to see these. I absolutely using wooden molds for cookies and never knew this company existed. I love the Scotty dog as well as Father Christmas. With four grandchildren under the age of six I would love to introduce this as a yearly tradition.

  • Reply
    Char Slovenz
    November 16, 2015 at 2:31 am

    My brother does wood carving and I love it. I am going to send him to this site. The molds are beautiful and I am going to try and decide which one I want.

  • Reply
    Shelley Quezada
    November 16, 2015 at 2:31 am

    These molds are just beautiful. I am thrilled by the detailed recipes for the different molded cookies on his website. I will definitely be following his tips for chilling and baking the dough with a few existing molds. thanks for bringing this unique craftsman to our attention.

  • Reply
    Susan D
    November 15, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    What stunning artistry! I am on the list and would be pleased to own any of Gene’s molds. Thank you so much for posting :)

  • Reply
    Holly
    November 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    I’m already receiving an email digest. :)

  • Reply
    Betty
    November 15, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    I’m a subscriber! :)

  • Reply
    Betty
    November 15, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    These are beautiful! I kept looking at page after page, finding favorites on every one. :)

  • Reply
    Renee
    November 15, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    You show some of the best recipies and neatest items! Love the St Nicholas!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Thanks Renee <3

  • Reply
    clare
    November 15, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    These are so special–such amazing detail! Really really stunning and I love the story behind them. These would make such a beautiful gift, too. Loving this series!

  • Reply
    Kim Carson
    November 15, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks, Sue, for introducing us to Gene’s work…he is truly an artisan. The chicken mold is my favorite. Hmmm, I have a few bakers on my Christmas list that might be seeing these under the tree!
    I’ve been a subscriber to your site for a while now, and always look forward to reading your posts.

  • Reply
    Holly
    November 15, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I love these wooden molds. I’ve spent a lot of time searching for the “perfect” springerle mold, but have so far been too overwhelmed by options to decide. This gorgeous site complicates things even more! I especially love all the molds that feature animals.

  • Reply
    Debbie G
    November 15, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Love love love the molds. What a wonderful tradition. The Father Christmas is just the best.

  • Reply
    Monique
    November 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    I love seeing artists at work..impeccable craftmanship?Every little nook and cranny..sheer perfection.
    I am just going to peruse now.. a lovely respite from the recent news~

  • Reply
    Susannah (Lemon and Coconut)
    November 15, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Hi! I’ve just discovered your site and it’s just wonderful. What a great post. It’s incredible isn’t it the amount of exquisite craft skills out there, making life more beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing Gene and June’s work :)

  • Reply
    Heather
    November 15, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    I am already subscribed to your list! :)

  • Reply
    Heather
    November 15, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    These are amazing! The windmill would be fun to have, as my husband was born in Holland, Michigan and is of Dutch heritage!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 1:16 pm

      That’s interesting, because my grandfather was from Michigan too, I guess it was a destination for Dutch immigrants.

  • Reply
    Wendy
    November 15, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    I recently discovered Hobi Cookie molds and was delighted to realize that they are located a short distance from my home in St. Louis! I was out of town for a recent wood carving event where Gene
    was participating so I placed an order for two of his beautiful molds (snowman and peace dove) and the Cookie Molds book by mail. I couldn’t be happier with the service and the products! The hardest part is deciding which mold to order first!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 1:17 pm

      Thanks for that feedback Wendy! I really love the big Santas, and I am thinking about giving the cookies as gifts this year.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    November 15, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Hi, I am on your mailing list in fact putting your onion dip in oven to watch Pat’s football game in a little while. Have a good day.

  • Reply
    Charlotte
    November 15, 2015 at 12:33 pm

    These are amazing. I plan to retire shortly and have lined up recipes I plan to cook with my new found time. Thanks for the chance to win one of these cookie mold. What a great Christmas cookie they would make.

  • Reply
    Anita at Hungry Couple
    November 15, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    These are seriously stunning! thanks for showing them to us.

  • Reply
    judith
    November 15, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Beautiful works of art! I just spent close to an hour on the site reading recipes and notes after ogling the molds far too long.

  • Reply
    Barbara
    November 15, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    I’m on your email list

  • Reply
    Barbara
    November 15, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    Great post, Sue. Did not know about these…how fabulous! Loved the 12 days of Christmas molds.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 1:19 pm

      I didn’t delve into all the different types of molds in the post, but I loved those too :)

  • Reply
    Alice Eichelmann
    November 15, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I made three of your recipes on Friday to donate to a fundraising bake sale. Maple Glazed Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Crumb Cake and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies. All were excellent recipes and very well received. I did reduce by 1/4 cup the sugar in the Bread and crumb cake. Thanks for some inspiring recipes and tips to make them. I’m going to try the cookie molds. They are beautiful !

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks so much Alice, you made my Sunday! (You picked three of my favorites!)

  • Reply
    Christine
    November 15, 2015 at 11:53 am

    I am not a subscriber yet. I would love to win one of Gene’s beautiful cookie molds if the contest is open to Canadian readers.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 1:21 pm

      Yes, Christina, it is open to Canadian readers.

  • Reply
    Pattie @ Olla-Podrida
    November 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

    All of the molds are stunning, but I really like the Gingerbread Horn Book.

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 1:22 pm

      I have to admit, Pattie, I had no idea what a horn book was until I read about it on Gene’s site.

  • Reply
    Pattie @ Olla-Podrida
    November 15, 2015 at 11:43 am

    I am a long time email subscriber, and enjoy every one.

  • Reply
    Christine Becker
    November 15, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I am already on the email list. Love these molds! Pleasse enter me for free cookie mold!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 15, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I subscribe – love your blog!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    November 15, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I love these molds – I’ve been looking for the Springerle Multiples mold :) Thanks for the opportunity Sue!

  • Reply
    Auntiepatch
    November 15, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I’m on your mailing list. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Auntiepatch
    November 15, 2015 at 11:20 am

    OMG! I just spent 1 hour on Gene’s site. One of only 3 woodcrafters in the US doing this kind of work! I have a couple of antique molds that I use at Christmas but Gene’s have so much more detail than mine. I have to tell Santa about this!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 15, 2015 at 1:23 pm

      Apparently Gene has perfected his technique over the 40 years so that he gets an amazing amount of detail into each mold.

  • Reply
    joy
    November 15, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I am a happy subscriber!

  • Reply
    joy
    November 15, 2015 at 11:12 am

    Whatever magic you have for finding & sharing these American craftspersons – Keep I up! I’VE bookmarked each one! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Anita K.
    November 15, 2015 at 10:49 am

    I am on your mailing list already :)

  • Reply
    Anita K.
    November 15, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Oh my gosh, that site has so many beautiful, wonderful things! Drooling over the shortbread molds in particular! Thank you for this series, always inspiring.

  • Reply
    Kathleen Lowery Chugg
    November 15, 2015 at 10:31 am

    What a great site, the molds are Beautiful works of art! I love shortbread cookies a.d found a receipe to try!
    I have enjoyed the view newsletter each day! Love to see the new ideas coming.g my way!

  • Reply
    Robin Nathanson
    November 15, 2015 at 10:27 am

    I’ve been on your email list for a while. Always look forward to my TVFGI emails!

  • Reply
    Robin Nathanson
    November 15, 2015 at 10:25 am

    Speculaas are amazing! Love the Nutcracker gingerbread mold! The butter stamp is adorable too!!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    November 15, 2015 at 10:22 am

    Those are so… cool! I love the windmill, so nostalgic!

  • Reply
    Susan
    November 15, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Thank you. I have been on your mailing list for some time.

  • Reply
    Susan
    November 15, 2015 at 10:08 am

    With my German background, I have always considered these beautiful molds as works of art. I absolutely love them.

  • Reply
    Carrie @ poet in the pantry
    November 15, 2015 at 7:59 am

    Wow! What an artist!!! I am really loving the Father Christmas mold–would love to have that for Christmas cookie baking season this year!