A few weeks ago one of my sisters asked me how to freeze cookies and cookie dough. Considering I just made and froze some sugar cookies the other day, I thought I would share how I wrap and freeze my home-baked cookies.
There is always someone dropping by our house for an impromptu BBQ, a cup of coffee, or to smoke a cigar with Sal. Possessing a never-ending desire to please, I keep a variety of home-baked treats, ready at a moment’s notice, waiting in my freezer.
The good news is, although some baked goods are best eaten immediately, most types of cookies are freezer-friendly. That is, as long as you know how to freeze cookies.
Regardless of the method you use, you want to make sure that the cookies, or dough, are wrapped tightly and as much air is removed as possible. You also want to wrap them in a few layers to keep odors from other frozen foods out. Nobody wants to dig their teeth into snicker doodles that taste like chicken stock or lasagna!
Below I show you how I froze the dove cookies I baked in the last post, How To Make Cut-Out Sugar Cookies.
To begin, I prefer using a freezer-safe, hard-sided container. I used to layer all of my cookies in zipper lock plastic bags but the day Sal plopped a 5-lb bag of ice on top of some shortbread cookies I had put in the freezer only moments before, I decided it was time for a new tactic. It’s a personal preference.
I admit, freezer space is sometimes an issue and every once in a while I have no choice but to layer zipper lock bags of cookies, especially around the holidays. I lay the bag down, place the cookies in, layering with parchment, and squeeze the air out of the bag as best I can. I lay them flat in the freezer.
And then I pray.
When possible, I prefer using the hard-sided container because it gives me peace of mind.
Other than a container and some plastic wrap, all that’s needed is parchment or wax paper to layer the cookies. I use parchment for the most part.
The parchment, or wax paper, keeps the cookies from sticking to each other.
Line the container with a piece of plastic wrap twice as wide as the container and then overlap that with a piece of plastic wrap twice as long as the container.
Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the inside the container and lay it on top of the plastic wrap.
Place one layer of cookies in the container, taking care not to let them touch. If freezing different shapes, put the sturdiest cookies on the bottom.
And don’t mix flavors! In other words, freeze chocolate cookies separate from gingerbread cookies and so forth. Remember, we’re preserving the flavor here and don’t want odors!
Place a another piece of parchment on top of the cookies.
Continue layering, using a sheet of parchment between each layer.
Don’t overfill the container. The lid will crush the cookies.
Once you’ve filled the container almost to the top, bring the plastic wrap over from all four sides, one at a time, until the cookies are completely enclosed. This creates a “package” of sorts.
Press lightly as you do so, to get the air out.
Put the lid on, label, and date the cookies. They’re now ready to freeze!
I usually don’t freeze any baked goods for more than 3 months, although other people say they freeze cookies for a lot longer than that. I’m not saying it can’t be done: They just don’t last that long in my house.
When you’re ready to ice, frost, dip, or eat the cookies, let them come to room temperature in the container. Cookies only need a few minutes to defrost. Any condensation that forms while they’re defrosting will be on the outside of the container, and not on the cookies themselves.
You can also freeze cookie dough for rolled cookies, drop cookies, and slice-and-bake cookies, as well as cut-out cookies that have yet to be baked.
Freeze dough for rolled cookies: Turn dough out of the bowl and form it into a disk. Wrap the disk in a double layer of plastic wrap and then wrap tightly in heavy-duty foil. You can freeze the dough for up to 6 weeks. Let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to thaw, and then place it on the counter for a few minutes before you roll it out.
Freeze unbaked cut-out cookies: Roll out the dough and cut out your cookies. Place the cookies on a parchment-lined sheet pan or cookie sheet. The cookies won’t spread in the freezer so you can place them close together on the pan. Freeze the cookies until firm, about 1 hour.
Once the cookies are firm, freeze them as directed above, in a freezer-safe, hard-sided container. There’s no need to thaw before baking. Remove the cookies from the freezer, place them directly on a parchment lined sheet pan, and bake them immediately. Just add 2-3 extra minutes to the baking time.
Freeze dough for drop cookies: Drop heaping tablespoons of dough, or whatever amount your particular recipe calls for, on to a parchment-lined sheet pan or cookie sheet. Again, these will not spread so you can put them right next to each other on the pan. Freeze until firm, 1-2 hours.
When they’re frozen place them in a zipper lock plastic bag and draw as much air out as you can. Bake them right from the freezer, adding an extra 2-3 minutes to the baking time.
Freeze dough for slice-and-bake cookies: Roll the dough into a log. Wrap the log in a double layer of plastic wrap and then tightly wrap in heavy-duty foil. Label and date the roll.
You’ll need to thaw slice-and-bake cookies in the refrigerator for a few hours before slicing them. Then you can put them immediately in to the oven.
So there you go. Home-baked cookies on hand whenever you want. What could be better than that?
How do you freeze cookies and cookie dough? How about other home-baked goods?
There’s no excuse not to have something sweet on hand, either for yourself, or for guests.