Now that you’ve made all of those Christmas cookies, how do you keep them from going hard and dry before delivering them to all of your friends and neighbors?
Here are a few tips for keeping large quantities of cookies fresh:
- Refrigerate or freeze uncooked dough. Uncooked dough can be kept in Ziploc bags or wrapped in plastic wrap (especially logs of dough) in the fridge. Take out dough and bake small batches of cookies. Many types of cookies actually taste better after letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight before cooking. For drop cookies, freezing dough is very helpful. Prepare cookie dough and place scoops of dough on parchment lined baking sheets. Freeze raw dough until solid, then transfer dough balls to Ziploc bags. Pull out just as many cookies as you want to bake.
- Refrigerate or freeze cooked cookies. Baked cookies will also stay fresh longer if stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Store cookies in Ziploc bags or seal-able containers and freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve. Be sure to keep different kinds of cookies in different containers. Mint and gingerbread cookies do not go well together!
- To store cookies at room temperature: You can still keep cookies fresh without freezing all of them. Use containers that are as air-tight as you can find. Place a small piece of BREAD in the container with the cookies. The bread will lose its moisture more quickly than the cookies, allowing the cookies to stay soft longer than they normally would. Replace the bread with a fresh piece as it dries out. This will not keep cookies soft indefinitely, but it will extend their shelf life to more than a week.
Just a note of warning: if you put bread in your cookie jar, every time your kids open the jar, they will ask, “How come there’s bread in the cookies?” Some may even choose to eat the bread over the cookies, which will prompt you to ask (when you go to sneak another cookie for yourself get a cookie for a starving child), “What happened to the bread I put in the cookie jar?” No one, of course, will admit to eating the mysteriously disappeared stale bread.
P.S. This also works to keep your brown sugar soft. The bread will last much longer in your canister of brown sugar than in the cookie containers. Maybe because it doesn’t get opened quite as many times throughout the day!