If you’re planning on doing a mega-marathon baking session this holiday season, you’ll need to figure out how and where you’re going to store your cookies until you distribute them. There are many ways you can preserve them so that you can bake ahead of time.
Many people choose to bake ten or more cookie recipes starting as early as October. They keep their cookies fresh for the giving in December by storing them in the freezer. Some avid bakers have even gone as far as buying a second freezer just for the purpose of storing their Christmas cookies!
Your regular freezer will do just fine. Plan to use up most of your freezable foods before your first cookie baking session. You’ll need the room. The last thing you want is frozen vegetables toppling over onto your cookies or having to cram your cookies in causing them to break. If you put the hard work in, you want them to remain intact.
After you’ve baked and cooled your first batch of cookies, you’ll be ready to store them. In the space you’ve created in the freezer, find a flat surface. Lay a row of six cookies down on plastic wrap. Put a sheet of wax paper between them. Continue layering this way until you have a stack of cookies five or six high. It’s better to make skinny stacks than wider stacks. That way you can slip them into narrower spaces. When you’ve completed your final layer, wrap the entire bundle in another layer of plastic wrap. Then do an outer wrap of aluminum foil. Two would be even better. You’re aiming to keep freezer burn, which can spoil your cookies, out. You may even want to place the whole stack into a zippered freezer bag. Stores now sell aluminum foil and freezer bags especially designed to keep freezer burn away from foods. It’s worth investing in a stash.
If you follow these steps, your cookies will be safely stored for a few months. That means you can start baking in fall for the winter holidays. Aim to stagger your baking so you bake a batch every week or so. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed and you’ll still enjoy the baking process.
When it’s time to distribute the cookies, take them out of the freezer and leave them on the counter to thaw. Don’t unwrap them until they are no longer cool to the touch. Start arranging cookies on pretty trays. You can place a paper doily on the bottom of the cookies before you start to give a little extra special look. Try to alternate cookie types so that your tray looks well-rounded.
Cover the cookie arrangements with pretty red or green plastic wrap. Add a festive bow. And, of course, after all your hard work you’ll definitely want to put a tag on your trays letting them know who baked them. Another nice touch is to include the recipes you used on index cards. This not only allows the recipient to make the cookies themselves if they choose but it also alerts them to the ingredients you used in case they have any allergies.
Cookies are a great way to share the joy of the season. Bake ahead and store well, and you’ll be sure to have incredibly delectable cookies to share.