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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