Well, it is the time of year where my kitchen starts to look like a cookie factory rather than a place for cooking meals! But I love this time of year. This is when I bake all my favorite cookie recipes that have been handed down from my mother, my grandmother and also some from close friends and neighbors. This year I’ll add some new recipes from our Cookie Exchange Book.
I love to bake cookies this time of year for gift giving. My 13-year-old daughter is always eager to help which makes it a fun time for us to spend together.
Since a lot of the cookies I bake are for gift givingâ€”whether for the teachers at school or for our cookie exchange in the decorating roomâ€“I want to start early so it does not become something that is stressful and stays fun and enjoyable.
So…that being said, storing cookies properly is key to retaining their freshness so that when they are given and enjoyed they are as fresh as when I baked them.
First thing I always make sure of before storing is that my cookies are completely cooled before putting in containers. Wiltonâ€™s stackable wire cooling racks definitely help save space in the cooling process.
I am very careful to NOT overbake my cookies as this will definitely give cookies a very hard texture, and they will be even harder after storing for any length of time.
Generally cookies will keep longer than most baked goods. If stored in an air-tight container, cookies will keep up to several weeks and if frozen 3 to 6 months. I always store each variety of cookies separately to avoid flavor transfer.
I like to store my cookies in large food safe containers and layer them with sheets of parchment paper in between. Some cookies are easier to store than others. Unless absolutely necessary, I would not store any fragile or decorated cookies.
It is best to freeze your cookies bakedâ€”but undecoratedâ€”and then just pull them out, thaw to room temperature then decorate. This is fun for my daughter and I also as we can spread out the fun of the decorating and personalize each decorated cookie. We avoid the baking process each time, as cookies are baked and ready to go in the freezer.
There are some cookie recipes where you can prepare the dough, refrigerate it, and then just pull out and bake when needed. There are special recipes designed for this process. If you’re not using a refrigerated dough recipe, the cookie will not bake properly after the dough has been in the refrigerator for an extended period of time.
Now as in anything you bake…not all cookies are alike…I always refer to the recipe directions for special storing tips.
I know my daughter and I make cookie making fun and with taking these steps it makes it easier to spread my baking over time.
Happy Baking, Happy Holidays!!