Why I Always Make Extra Desserts to Freeze for Later

published Dec 9, 2015
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(Image credit: Leela Cyd)

When it comes to food, I have a serious sweet tooth. And because I like to bake, I’m always one to serve desserts when I have people over to my apartment. But my schedule doesn’t always allow for baking time before hosting. That’s why I’ve begun to embrace the make-ahead-and-freeze-for-later option.

I started doing this a while ago, but had a moment where it really saved me last month, and now my goal is to never be without a dessert in the freezer. Here’s what happened.

Over the summer, I was super into plums. I was buying a quart of them from the farmers market each week and making everything from plum tortes to plum butter to stone fruit crumbles. Toward the end of the season, I bought one last batch of plums and made this classic recipe from the New York Times. (It’s worth reading the story about it, trust me.) I didn’t have anything planned for it, so I wrapped it carefully and stuck it in the freezer.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

Fast forward to November. Plums are out of season and my schedule has already gone into holiday hyperdrive and a dinner with friends that I had anticipated being at a restaurant gets rescheduled to my apartment. (That’s the blessing and the curse of having the largest, most centrally located apartment of your friends.) We opted for an easy takeout dinner, but because it was one of the rare occasions I got to see a friend who now lives in Chicago, I wanted to have at least something homemade. That’s when I pulled that plum torte out of the freezer. I reheated it in the oven while we ate dinner and made some whipped cream, and it was a huge hit. Plus, I’m pretty sure I leveled up when it comes to hosting cred.

So when you’re in holiday baking mode this season, or when you’re facing the cold dreariness of January, try doubling the dessert recipe you’re making and stashing half of it in the freezer. Then the next time you’re surprised (pleasantly or not) by guests, you’ll be able to serve a freshly baked homemade dessert without breaking a sweat.

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5 Desserts That Freeze Well

Need suggestions for which desserts freeze well? Try one of these recipes that will be perfect for the next time your friends, mother-in-law, or a parent from your child’s school unexpectedly drops by.

  • S’Mores Brownies: You can’t go wrong with these brownies. Try baking them first and cutting them up to freeze.
  • Lemon Bars with Almond Shortbread Crust: You might be surprised just how well the custard of these lemon bars holds up to freezing.
  • Lemon Poppyseed Bundt: If you don’t have space in your freezer for a whole bundt cake, consider slicing this cake up and freezing individually wrapped slices. Plus, you’ll be able to serve it one piece at a time.
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly Ice Box Cookies: Consider this the all-season cookie. It’s not a bad idea to just keep a couple dozen unbaked in your freezer. And if you don’t want to turn on your whole oven for a few cookies, no worries — bake them in the toaster oven instead.
  • Perfect Cheesecake: This cheesecake is a classic, and goes with any occasion or meal imaginable. We’d recommend keeping one of these on hand at all times.

What kind of desserts do you find freeze well?