Storing and Shipping
Most cookies store and ship very well. Cookies with dried fruit in them have better keeping qualities than delicate cookies like pizzelles because the dried fruit helps keep the cookie moist for a long period of time. Before choosing a cookie for storage or shipping, consider the type of cookie it is and the ingredients included in the recipe. This will help you decide whether or not it can be used as you wish to use it.
All cookies are not the same and have different techniques for successful storage. Always allow cookies, brownies, and bars to cool completely before packaging them for storage.
If you have decorated the cookies, take the time to allow the icing to harden before you try to store them. This will keep them as beautiful as they were when you first made them. Any cookies that are properly stored should keep close to a week at room temperature.
Crisp cookies should be stored in a container that is loosely covered. This allows the moisture to be released from the container easily, stopping it from building up and making them soggy. If you have high humidity, it is actually better to store them in an airtight container to keep the moisture out.
While almost all cookies can be frozen successfully, you should never freeze meringue cookies. Freezing them will cause them to become soggy, sticky lumps when they are thawed. Instead, always keep these crisp, delicate cookies in an airtight container at room temperature in a dry place.
Soft cookies should be kept in an airtight container. This allows the moisture to be trapped in with the cookies, keeping them soft and chewy. If they begin to dry out you can add a slice of apple or a piece of bread to the container. Always keep an eye on soft cookies because they will have a tendency to mold more quickly than crisp ones. Separating the layers of cookies with wax paper will keep them from sticking to each other and make them easy to remove from the container.
When cookies are iced they should also be kept in an airtight container. Allow the icing to harden completely and layer the cookies between sheets of waxed paper. Do not make more than three layers in a container because the weight will cause the bottom layers to crumble and the icings to crack.
For long-term storage, cookies can be easily frozen. You can freeze the dough for up to twelve months or baked cookies for up to six months. Never freeze more than one kind of dough or cookie together—the different cookies will take on each other’s flavors. Always wrap the cookies or dough in a couple of layers of plastic wrap and then put them in an airtight container. Cookies pick up freezer flavors very easily and this will keep your prize-winning chocolate chip cookies from tasting like the catfish your husband brought home from his last fishing trip.
If you freeze crisp cookies and then find that when they have thawed they are no longer as crisp as you would like, you can restore the crispness by warming them up in a 300°F oven for about 5 minutes. Not only will the crisp texture be restored, but the house will smell great!
Baked cookies can be put in freezer bags and frozen, but often this results in a lot of broken cookies. It is better to layer them in a freezer container with waxed paper between the layers and over the top. The sturdy container will give support to the cookies and they will be less likely to crumble. Label the container with the type of cookie and the date they were frozen so you can keep track of them.
Sending someone you love a box of homemade cookies is a great way to say, “I am thinking of you.” Make sure that the cookies arrive in top condition by choosing a sturdy cookie recipe and packaging them well.
Packing cookies for shipping is very similar to getting them ready for freezing. Be careful to choose a sturdy cookie that will hold up to be jostled and tossed.
Use a sturdy box and line it with waxed paper.
Crumple sheets of waxed paper for a soft cushion and then place a layer of waxed paper over that.
Place a layer of cookies on the waxed paper, cover with a sheet of waxed paper, and then repeat the layers.
Do not stack the cookies more than three layers high.
Leave enough room at the top of the box for more crumpled waxed paper.
The cookies should be packed tightly enough that they do not jiggle around. If you want to ship an assortment of cookies, be sure to wrap each type individually so the flavors don’t get mixed up. Try to put a cushioning layer between the different cookie flavors to help them maintain their individuality.
Place a 3" × 5" card in the box with the recipient’s name and address. Wrap it securely in brown packing paper and write the address clearly. It is a good idea to mark the box “fragile” and “perishable” in several places. If you will be sending it overseas, you should be prepared to list the contents of the box clearly. Sending the cookies priority mail will help get them there in a timely manner.
Never use popcorn, cereal, or other grains as the cushioning material when you are shipping cookies. By the time your cookies get to their destination, they could be full of weevils or other bugs. It is better to use crumpled waxed paper or plastic wrap for cushioning purposes.
Cookies that are good candidates for shipping are those that are moist and soft. Brownies, bars, and drop cookies are all good cookies to ship. Cookies with dried fruit in the ingredients will stay fresher longer than other types.
Filled and frosted cookies don’t ship well, with the exception of cookies that are filled with a dried-fruit filling and cookies that are iced with a hardened royal icing. Never ship any kind of cookie that has a cream cheese or dairy filling of some sort; they will spoil and can make someone sick if eaten.
Knowing how to store and ship cookies makes it easy to send a quick gift or have a cozy snack whenever you want. Keep the cookie jar full and the family happy by using your freezer to your advantage.