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How To Store Holiday Cookies

Image Credit: Good Life Eats

You’ve been baking until you can’t bake anymore. You have holiday cookies cooling in every nook and cranny of your kitchen and you’ve got to find somewhere to put them all. I know there have been plenty of posts on holiday cookie storage; however, I think I have some tips and tricks up my sleeve that you might not have heard of before, so I hope I can help make sure you store those cookies somewhere other than your tummy!

Freezing

Keep in mind that drop cookie dough freezes very well before it has been baked. In fact, almost every drop cookie dough you can think of – chocolate chip, peanut butter, shortbread or sugar cookies – get better with a little (or a lot) of chill time before baking.

The method I use to freeze cookie dough is flash freezing. It’s basically the same method you would use to freeze berries or fresh vegetables – I line a baking tray with parchment paper, scoop out the individual dough balls onto the tray (no need to have 1″ spacers like you would if you were baking), and then place the tray in the freezer for 20 minutes to an hour. If you aren’t familiar with this method, check out Katie’s post on the process.

When I happen to remember the tray is there, I remove it from the freezer, and drop each dough ball into a gallon-sized freezer ziptop bag. One bag should hold 2-3 dozen dough balls, and that’s for large cookies. The bag will hold even more than that if the dough balls are smaller.

Most cookie doughs will last approximately 3 months in the freezer. Just be sure to date and label the package so you can get all that deliciousness baked up before expiration! I also label the bag with the temperature the cookies should be baked at, and the cooking time. That way, I don’t have to go searching out the recipe before I get my bake on.

Stay away from cookies that have a less dense or cakelike batter, as they won’t freeze well. When you go to bake your dough balls, you can bake them directly from the freezer. Just remember that they may need an extra minute or two in the oven on top of the recommended baking time.

This tip is also great for portion control. You can bake up one or two cookies at a time instead of two or three dozen – perfect for when you’re craving just a little something sweet after dinner.

But to swing it back around to holiday baking, what this really means is, you can start your Christmas baking in October if you want to. No more stress about trying to get all those cookies made in a few days.

Storage

Make sure that cookies have cooled completely before you try to store them. If they’re still warm when you try to put them in an airtight container, you’ll create condensation within the container and the result is a soggy cookie. Gross!

Freshly baked and cooled cookies can be frozen. Store them flat in a ziptop freezer bag, with layers of parchment paper between them. That will make it easy to separate them for serving, with minimal breakage. It also makes for more organized storing in the freezer. Cookies should thaw at room temperature outside of the bag for 10-15 minutes. If you’d like to reheat them, bake at 300F for about 5 minutes.

Think about the flavors of the different cookies you’ve baked before you store them. If you’ve made sugar cookies and mint chocolate chip cookies, you wouldn’t want to store them together. The mint will overpower the sugar cookies, and they’ll take on that flavor.

If you’re trying to store decorated cookies, make sure to layer them between wax or parchment paper after the decorating icing has completely hardened.

Bar cookies, like brownies or blondies, should always be baked before storing. They will freeze well, but should be frozen in the container they were baked in. Wrap the pan with a few layers of plastic wrap, then cover with freezer-safe foil, and label with the date. Defrost them at room temperature with plastic wrap and foil removed. If you’d like to warm them again, place in the oven at 300F for about 5 minutes.

Do you have any additional tips to add?

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Debbie

Thursday 22nd of December 2016

Hi, I'm planning to make lemon ricotta cookies for Christmas. Do I have to refrigerate them or are they ok at room temp for 1-2 days? I was thinking of icing them when I get to Christmas destination. thanks!!

Jamie

Sunday 25th of December 2016

Hi, Debbie! I think you can keep these at room temperature for a 1-2 days. I hope you enjoyed them!

Sarah R Adkins

Tuesday 20th of December 2016

Thanks Jamie!!!

Jamie

Wednesday 21st of December 2016

You're welcome, Sarah!

Sarah A

Saturday 17th of December 2016

I am planning on making 4 types of cookies for Christmas. (Starting tomorrow... Yikes!!) I was trying to figure out how to bake them and store them for about 3-4 days before giving them out. I wanted to know if you had any pointers about which to freeze, refrigerate, or leave out in an air tight container. I live in NC, it is chilly right now outside, but my home is kept around 70 and it's still lightly humid in the winter. So any advice would help - I'm a new baker and don't have much experience with storing any goodies for any amount of time.

Here are the types of cookies I'm making. Please, any advice from anyone on how to keep them at their best would be appreciated. 1. Oreo Truffles (I've made these before and kept in the fridge, but I noticed the candy coating seems to sweat - any idea how to avoid this and would they be better to freeze instead of refrigerating?) 2. Lemon Cake Mix Crinkle Cookies made with Cool Whip (Never made before and praying they come out right because everyone is dying to try them!! Ahhh, no pressure! Can I bake and freeze?) 3. No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Toffee Cookies with Quick Cook Oats (Will these freeze and defrost well? Will the toffee be ok freezing? Or should I refrigerate?) 4. Hershey Kiss Stuffed Coconut Macaroons (Best way to store??)

Also, can 2 & 4 be frozen before baking? As I said - new baker here!! Hahaha!! Any pointers are greatly appreciated!! Thanks in advance!!!

Jamie

Saturday 17th of December 2016

Hi, Sarah! Your cookies sound amazing! First, I wouldn't freeze the truffles as they'll still sweat. Keep these in a sealed container at room temperature. I think the lemon cookies could probably be stored also at room temperature in a sealed container. I would refrigerate the no bake cookies. And I think storing the macaroons in a sealed container at room temperature would be a good way to go. I hope they all turn out well for you!

Alyssa

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

How long can i store cookies in the freezer for?? i have a bridal shower in one month and i want to start baking within in the next week or so... can cookies they in the freezer for 3 weeks? and the once I'm ready to decorate them i will do it the night before with 15 secs icing. 

Jamie

Tuesday 16th of February 2016

Alyssa- As long as you store them properly, 3 weeks should be just fine. Thanks for stopping by! -Jamie

Nancy Schulz

Sunday 20th of December 2015

I have made alot of Christmas cookies , cut out s and thumb cookies with jam... Do they have to be put in the frig.  or can I leave them on the counter till thursday... ( Its Sunday ) 

Jamie

Tuesday 5th of January 2016

Hi, Nancy. I'm on the fence about baking the cookies and leaving them for four days. Three may be better, and an airtight container helps. I hope you had a great holiday season.

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