Brain Food 101: Storing and Shipping Holiday Treats

Last year, my friends and family received tins filled with some of my best holiday cookies along with their Christmas gifts.  I lovingly wrapped each variety of cookie in cellophane treat bags before placing them in the tin.  When the mailman came to pick the packages up, I crossed my fingers that the cookies would arrive in one piece, just as tasty as they were on the day I baked them.

This year, I don’t have cookie tins, but I do have plenty of hard plastic containers and cardboard bakery boxes.  Last week, I attempted to find the best way to store my cookies so that they arrived at my loved ones’ doorsteps fresh and delicious.

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Cookie Storage Trials:

I tested these storage methods with botheggnog sugar cookies and chocolate fire cookies.  Two cookies of each variety were stored back-to-back for 5 days in the following conditions:

1.  In a cellophane treat bag

2.  In a bakery box lined with tissue paper

3.  Wrapped in plastic wrap, then placed in a bakery box lined with tissue paper

4.  Wrapped in parchment paper, then placed in a bakery box lined with tissue paper

5.  In an airtight plastic container

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The Results:

Eggnog Sugar Cookies:

The cookies wrapped in plastic wrap and those in the airtight plastic container stayed the softest, though the cellophane treat bags came in at a close second.  The cookies that were left unwrapped or in parchment paper in the bakery box were crisp and lost some of their flavor, but were still edible.

Chocolate Fire Cookies:

Again, the plastic wrap, plastic container and cellophane treat bags helped the cookies keep their texture and flavor.  However, the cookies that were in parchment paper or unwrapped in the bakery box were incredibly dry and crumbly, almost to the point of inedibility.

Summary:

Airtight wrappings (cellophane, plastic wrap, plastic containers) are best for preserving the texture and flavor of cookies.  Avoid wrapping in parchment paper or leaving cookies unwrapped in a bakery box, unless you are planning to personally deliver the cookies within a day or two, or the cookies will be dry, crumbly and less flavorful.  (The effect may be more pronounced in some types of cookies than others.)

 

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Other cookie packaging tips:

When shipping cookies in plastic containers, pack the treats as tightly as you can without crushing them.  The less they can move around in the container, the less they will break from bumping against each other!

If you are mailing treats in cellophane treat bags, make sure that they are cushioned REALLY well in the box you’re shipping in so they don’t break.

If you are mailing cookies in bakery boxes, pack the box as tightly as possible without crushing the cookies, and fill in any empty space with crumpled tissue paper or parchment paper.  And because these boxes have soft sides, they also need to be cushioned really well in the shipping box.

Keep like cookies with like.  Do not wrap peppermint flavored cookies and peanut butter cookies in the same treat bag or bundle of plastic wrap, unless you want them to arrive tasting of minty peanut butter (Yuck!).  Similarly, don’t wrap a soft and a hard cookie together, or the soft cookie will become crisper and the hard cookie softer during storage/shipping.

 

Comments

  1. says

    I used one of the hand-held vacuum sealers to send cookies/baked goods to a Bahrain military base last year and I was told them held up really well compared to all other forms of packaging. I highly suggest buying one if you plan on sending cookies that will take a while to deliver (I think it took 5 or so days for the cookies to get out there). I bought mine at target last year for maybe 15 bucks?

  2. says

    My cookies stay fresh for sooo long when I put them in an airtight plastic container! I never store them any other way. And this year I’m freezing a bunch of cookies, too – put them into ziploc freezer bags, then into airtight containers. Hopefully they keep ’til the 24th/25th!

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