Cookies are one of the easiest things to get a jump on when it comes to planning for the holidays. And most recipes freeze beautifully. So if you have the space, and you've already got our recommended tools for easy baking, why not start? We've got some tips for freezing those homemade treats.
You have two very obvious options when it comes to freezing cookies: before baking or after. We've talked about freezing cookie dough before (it's perfect for portion control during the non-holiday season), but if you want to have freshly-baked cookies for Santa and still want to do something ahead of time, it's a great idea.
For freezing dough:
• Scoop uniform balls onto a cookie sheet (no touching) and freeze them until solid.
• Put the frozen balls into a freezer bag and pull them out when you're ready to bake.
• Icebox cookies, which you slice off of a log, are also a good option. Read all about them here.
For freezing cookies:
• Make sure cookies are completely cooled before freezing.
• If you're making traditional, frosted sugar cookies, we'd recommend freezing the cookies and icing them later. If you really want to ice them first, use the same technique as the dough, above. Freeze them individually, on a cookie sheet, until the icing is hard, then pile them into a bag.
• Freeze cookies with a layer of waxed or parchment paper in between them. For extra protection. take the layers and wrap them in plastic wrap before putting them into a freezer bag.
• You can also use the parchment paper you bake them on as wrapping between layers. Just put it in the bag, layer on some cookies, fold the paper over, place more cookies, etc. Less waste! (We skip the extra plastic wrap unless we're freezing them for more than a few days.)
• If the cookies are somewhat fragile, and you're afraid they'll break, place the freezer bag full of cookies into a baking pan, so the edges of the cookies are protected.
• Make bar cookies! Line the pan with parchment or foil before you bake, then lift out the entire pan of cookies once they've cooled. Wrap and freeze the whole thing—easy and stackable.
Tell us your tips in the comments!
Related: Recipe: Best Cut-Out Sugar Cookies
(Image: Flickr member Denise Cross, licensed for use under Creative Commons)