How do you get speculaas to release from their molds?
December 23, 2009 2:46 PM   Subscribe

How do you get speculaas to release from their molds?

Got a giant wooden speculaas mold of a boat from my mom as a pre-Christmas present. It's about 10x15 inches, and has lots of carved texture on it that the dough just does not want to let go of when I try to drop the molded result onto a cookie sheet. I've tried dusting the mold excessively with flour before pushing the dough in and that doesn't seem to help much. I've tried being very gentle about packing the dough in, but that doesn't help much plus it loses a lot of the detail on the bits that do release. I've tried slamming it down very hard on the sheet, but that only seems to make a lot of noise. I've tried tapping it on the back with a hammer after I've upended it. Still no luck.

Any Dutch hive mind-ers have any good techniques for getting the dough to release? I've contemplated using cookie spray, but not sure if that would ruin the wood...
posted by reticulatedspline to Food & Drink (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The recipe I've seen says brush the mold with vegetable oil, and then dust lightly with flour. I haven't tried this myself with wooden molds, but that's basically the same as every other pan or mold ever (butter / oil / shortening, and then flour/cocoa powder).

Were you using any oil, or just the dry flour as your mold release agent?

If that still doesn't work, maybe your dough is the wrong texture to properly demold? I dunno.
posted by aubilenon at 3:03 PM on December 23, 2009

Some Google Fu on Dutch sites as I am not the Queen of our kitchen, learns that a wooden mold is impossible to work with the first time. Source for people who can read Dutch.

The first speculaas cookie will always fail because the mold is too clean. Then the trick is to use flour but the right amount. Too little the dough will stick. Too much you cannot get the dough in the mold. Then the trick is to put in enough dough that none will stick out of the mold. Turn the mold and see if some of the dough releases. Then carefully try to release the dough from the mold.

Do not give up too soon.
posted by Mrs Mutant at 3:21 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Just using dry flour.

The molds are not new by any means. Mom has had them since before I was born, so they're almost 30 years old and have been used many times.
posted by reticulatedspline at 3:41 PM on December 23, 2009

FWIW, Oil shouldn't ruin wood, it's generally used to protect wood, besides your dough has oil/fat in it. I should think it would help to stop the absorption. But, I'm speaking from a sculpture frame of reference and not a cooking one.
posted by haunted by Leonard Cohen at 3:42 PM on December 23, 2009

Best answer: This site says:

1. Dust the molds with powdered (confectioner's) sugar before impressing dough
2. Chill the dough for 3+ hours or overnight before use

Good luck!
posted by NoraCharles at 3:59 PM on December 23, 2009

Obvious question perhaps, but has your dough had time to rest?
posted by lioness at 4:02 PM on December 23, 2009

Best answer: I just asked my mom, who used to be part of a giant speculaas-making operation at church when I was a kid. She says to put down saran wrap on top of the mold and then spray the saran wrap with Pam or similar, then the cookie dough (chilled overnight!) goes in on top of that.

She also says it's far from perfect (and requires careful arrangement of the saran wrap to avoid wrinkles), but the best they ever came up with for rapid speculaas-production. She also suspects that this is not the traditional method :)
posted by heyforfour at 4:09 PM on December 23, 2009

Agreeing that saran wrap would not be the traditional method. But it might actually be a good way to do it.

When you say giant mold, you mean for making giant speculaas, correct? Not those thin little cookies but the big crunchy cake about an inch thick, filled with almond paste ?

This recipe for that kind of cake also says to sprinkle liberally with flour each time fresh dough is pressed into it.
posted by beagle at 4:26 PM on December 23, 2009

Response by poster:
posted by reticulatedspline at 4:35 PM on December 23, 2009

My mom uses saran wrap.

Wow, that's a pretty intricate mold!
posted by HFSH at 5:18 PM on December 23, 2009

I had to look up what you were talking about, but this is what I'd do:

I'd slather it in some high smoking point oil, then heat it for a while at a little under the smoke point. I'd take it out, wipe it down, spray/brush/slather it with my cooking oil, and apply the dough/batter, then cook. Sorta like a cast-iron mold, but wood. It should all be okay as long as you stay well under 450F.

I've never used a wooden mold to cook anything.
posted by cmoj at 8:16 PM on December 23, 2009

Response by poster: You don't cook it in the mold. The mold acts more like a cookie cutter. You put the dough into it to get it into the shape of whatever the mold is, then you remove is and bake the dough.
posted by reticulatedspline at 1:25 PM on December 24, 2009

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