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Tips for Storing and Freezing Cookies and Cookie Dough
by Rachel Keller

Do you have more cookies than you can (or should) eat? Do you want to have a large variety of ready-made cookies at your fingertips or do you like to have cookie dough around for those last-minute needs? This article will help solve your cookie storage problems and show you how to properly store and freeze those baked goodies.

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Baking cookies is fun, but now that you've made all these cookies, how are you going to store them? The first thing to remember is to store each type of cookie in its own separate container. If you mix different types of cookies, the flavors and textures will mix and produce undesirable affects.

Now, how you store each cookie depends on what type of cookie it is. Whatever container or bags you choose should have a tight-fitting lid or a tight seal.

As far as bar cookies, you can store them in the pan you bake them in. Just cover tightly with aluminum foil, wrap, or a lid. For delicate, crisp cookies, store in a sturdy container such as a cookie jar or tin. Soft cookies can go in a cookie jar, a sturdy plastic bag, or in an airtight container with a slice of apple wrapped loosely in waxed paper.

Lay fragile cookies flat in a wide container with parchment or wax paper between the layers. If you have iced or decorated cookies, let them dry before storing. (If freezing, freeze on a pan in a single layer, and then carefully stack layers with wax paper between layers.)


Freezing already baked cookies

To keep cookies fresher longer, freeze them immediately. Place unfrosted cookies in freezer bags or airtight freezer containers for up to 6 to 12 months. Double wrap cookies to prevent them from getting freezer burn or picking up any odd odors. (If you keep your cookies in the freezer for more than 6 months, they may acquire a freezer flavor or freezer burn.) You can frost the cookies after thawing them at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Label the cookies clearly with the name of your cookie and the date. Some cookies taste great frozen. Other cookies are better at room temperature or warmed slightly in the microwave. According to Ursual Dalzell, a former member of the Allrecipes editorial staff, nearly any baked cookie freezes well.


Freezing unbaked cookie dough

If you don't have time to bake all those cookies, or you like to have dough on hand to bake fresh goodies, you can freeze cookie dough. Most cookie dough freezes well for up to four to six weeks, and some even longer (six months). Some dough also stays fresh in the refrigerator for a few days. Dough for cakelike and meringue-type cookies doesn't last in the refrigerator or freezer because their leavening and liquid become active over time and affect the cookies' flavor and texture. Dough containing oats or oatmeal can be frozen, but it becomes a little drier because the oatmeal soaks up the liquid. To compensate for this, add a bit of water to the dough before baking.

Cookie dough that freezes best includes shortbreads, chocolate chip, peanut butter, refrigerator, sugar, and brownies, just to name a few. The types of cookie dough that do not freeze well are cake-like cookies and cookies that have a very liquidy batter, such as madeleines and tuiles.

Before freezing the dough, wrap and seal it twice to prevent freezer burn and to keep the dough from absorbing any odd odors. Don't forget to write the type of cookie dough and the date it was frozen on the outside of the package. When you are ready to bake, simply defrost the dough in the refrigerator. This will take several hours, so plan ahead.

The next time you make cookies, try making a double batch and freezing some of them.

Copyright 2001 by Rachel Keller.


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