One of the questions I get asked most from family and friends about baking, believe it or not, is how to pack and ship cookies. In fact, now that I’m thinking about it, nobody seems to really care what I bake for them: They just want to know how I pack it up to ship it to them!
Hmmm. I wonder if I should be insulted.
After taking the time to bake, and in some cases decorate, the most important thing to remember is that you need to give cookies a lot of tender loving care when you pack them. That’s especially true, as I’ve recently learned, for decorated cookies.
The medical themed cookies I made for my nieces and nephew had to be packed and shipped to Boston so I needed to protect them from the perils of a 1,500 mile trip.
I had one goal in mind: The cookies just had to arrive fresh and unscathed. I didn’t want to disappoint the kids.
So, if you’ve ever wondered how to pack and ship cookies I will give you this bit of advice: Take your time and carefully pack each cookie like it’s your favorite cookie in the world.
Like it’s a precious child or pet. You’ll be happy you did, and so will your recipients.
Whether cookies are shipped across town or across the ocean some thought has to go into packing them for the journey. Let’s face it: Once your precious cargo is dropped off at the post office or another carriers’ facility, what happens from there is out of your control. Cookies have to be packed with enough cushion to survive potential drops, throws, temperature changes, multiple truck rides and possibly plane rides.
So this is the way I pack and ship cookies. This is my method and the method that has always worked for me.
To begin, there are some rules to follow:
- Pack and ship the cookies as soon as possible after baking. If they’re decorated of course you want them to be completely dry. Don’t let them sit on your counter for a few days before sending them on their way.
- Separate flavors. Pack chocolate cookies separate from lemon cookies and pack lemon cookies separate from peanut butter cookies. While you may think peanut butter-lemon is one of those to-die-for flavor combinations, others may not necessarily agree. You want the flavors to stay true. It’s perfectly fine to pack them in the same box, but wrap the cookies separately..
- Crisp cookies usually ship best. Some types of cookies are much more perishable than others so I personally would not ship any type of key lime or lemon bars, cream-filled sandwich cookies, cheesecake squares, etc. The shelf life is not nearly as long as crisper cookies and extreme temperature changes can wreak havoc on them. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, shortbread and biscotti are all durable enough to ship.
- Be liberal with packing material when you pack and ship cookies. This is no time to be Mrs. or Mr. Scrooge. Cushioning is key whether you’re using bubble wrap, packing peanuts, air pillows or even newspaper and real popcorn.
- Use two boxes; a small one to pack the cookies and a larger sturdy corrugated box to hold the smaller one.
- Label the box clearly and write “FRAGILE” on all sides so there is no doubt.
- Although many people believe it’s good practice to note that the box contains “perishable food” “just baked” or “freshly baked” items on the outside box, I do not do this. Not once, but twice, my baked goods never made it to their intended destination. Both times they got “lost en-route” and both times I had written something about their being fresh-baked goods inside. Now I don’t mean to be a cynic but I have a sneaky suspicion that someone other than my intended recipients knowingly enjoyed cookies and brownies that weren’t intended for them. I prefer to indicate that the package is simply “FRAGILE”.
To begin, wrap each cookie individually. The medical cookies, you may remember, were wrapped in little bags with a ribbon.
I surround the cookies with small bubble wrap: In the photo below it’s the green bubble wrap.
In my opinion the small bubble wrap offers the best protection. I reserve the larger bubble wrap and air pillows to cushion the box. I save all kinds of bubble wrap so that I always have some on hand. It saves money and I prefer to re-purpose any time I can.
I double over a piece of the small bubble wrap, lay one cookie on top, and then fold it back and forth over itself again so there is a double layer between cookies. If the bubble wrap is longer than two cookies laid end-to-end, I alternate them such as in the picture below.
This serves two purposes: The cookies are sufficiently cushioned, and there are less cookies piled on top of one another.
I’m not stingy with the bubble wrap. In fact, some may think I overdo it a bit but it gives me peace of mind.
Once the cookies are cushioned in the bubble wrap, I wrap the package once more.
And then one more time lengthwise to keep the cookies from sliding out.
I lay some packing material in the bottom of the small box and place the cookies on top so the cookies are standing vertically. This puts less weight on the cookies.
Then fill in all the gaps with more packing material. I give the box a shake; the cookies should not move at all. If they do, I add some more packing material. I’m careful not to crush the cookies but add enough so there is no movement in the box at all.
When I’m satisfied the cookies are safely protected in the box, I seal it with packing tape.
Next, I line the bottom of the larger box with packing material. Here I used the pillow packs and I love these. I just put one layer on the bottom and nestled the cookies on top.
Again, I fill in all the gaps with packing material and finish by covering the box of cookies with some extra bubble wrap.
As noted, I reuse and recycle when I can so for the most part I do not buy many large shipping boxes. I would rather reuse a box and play a small role in saving the environment. It may not look as neat and professional but it gets the job done.
If I were running a business and shipping the cookies to a customer I would spend money on a box and shipping labels.
But I’m not, so I DIY the package and it serves its purposes just fine.
And that’s it. The cookies are padded, packed, and ready to ship.
I’m thrilled to say that my sister said they arrived in perfect condition – two days earlier than expected so I have to give kudos to the U.S. Postal Service. Kerry sent me this text to let me know.
There you have it; my method of shipping cookies. It works every time.
Do you have your own method of packing and shipping cookies, brownies, cake pops or the like? If so, I’d love to hear it. I’m always open to new ideas, especially if they work for other people.