This is a brief introduction to "Carving a Gingerbread Man Cookie Mold."
He may not look like the gingerbread man you are familiar with, but that's because this fancy looking cookie hails from colonial Williamsburg, VA. This lesson teaches how to carve an springerle cookie mold/print/stamp (a.k.a. speculoos or intaglio mold) based on a replica of a mold from colonial Virginia. Pretty sweet!
- Lesson contents: 2 episodes; template, tool list, and photo available in Episode 1
- Type of Wood: Cherry
- Size: 3-1/2"w x 8-1/4"h x 1/4"d
- Tool List: 3mm v-chisel; 6mm v-chisel; #1, 10mm; #1, 14mm; #3, 6mm; #3, 14 mm; #5, 14mm; #7, 6mm; #7, 14mm; #11, 2mm veiner; #11, 3mm veiner
- Skill Level: Intermediate
= More Lessons at the Intermediate Skill Level =
Speculaas: Advent Christmas poem and meditation
A Yuletide gift for you.
Santa Claus derives from Saint Nicholas, a 4th-century bishop from Asia-minor, who ministered to the poor with gifts giving up his considerable inherited wealth. According to tradition, he gave children small gifts.
In the Dutch language, Sint-Nicolaas contracted to SinterKlaas. Sinterklaas is the Dutch holiday to commemorate him on December 5th and later spiced cookies (Dutch origin: koekje) in the shapes of the bishop and his story celebrated Advent season Holi-day festivities. The Dutch held separate religious Christ-Mas observances commemorating Christ’s nativity on December 25th. Eventually, Speculaas became associated with Christmas, then as other shapes became popular, the famous Dutch windmill cookie.
The English won the Dutch New Amsterdam colony on Manhattan island in 1664 and renamed it New York for King James II, then Duke of York. In America, the traditions of Sinterklaas combined with the English Father Christmas. Initially, Father Christmas, who gave no gifts, was associated with adults only religious festivities. This became secularized and commercialized into Santa Claus who gave gifts on December 25th.
Because of my Dutch ancestry (at least five generations) i bake Speculaas and i wrote this poem.
Wallowing wooden ships thrash through distant seas,
Braving bitter headwinds Dutch traders sail home.
Risking life, spilling blood— exotic spices fill their hulls,
Recall an ancient empire’s rule the world around.
“Awake, arise you bakers, fire your ovens!
Today we celebrate our Child-King’s humble birth.
Prepare hardwood bowls, mixing spoons, antique patterns.
Break-out your hidden hereditary recipes. Rejoice!”
Tradition demands distinctive flavor, speculum(1) images.
Fresh-churned butter, dark sugars, spice beaten together;
Eggs, Frisian flour with a dash of leaven lovingly folded-in.
Artisan dough gently pressed into heirloom, bas-relief molds.
Aroma of baking cookies fills the warm, humid air;
Caramel notes meld with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove scents.
Mysterious hints of cardamom, peppercorns entwine—
Sliced almonds laid atop toasting gently to a crisp.
Spicy-sweet hardy-crunch reveals life’s pleasures and its challenge,
Slight sting of peppery-heat; witnesses Christ’s conquering death.
Cookies shaped as windmills, young lovers, aged bishops.
Rich, aromatic shortbread transformed into sacred icons.
Children young and old anticipate Sint-Nicolaas’ day.
Friends and families journey to renew acquaintance, swap tales, rest.
Sinterklaas cookies, hot tea, sumptuous feasts and trading gifts;
All remind us of God’s atoning love revealed, made flesh.
That is wonderful Christos! Thank you so much for sharing the history and your poem. Beautiful!