The holidays are just around the corner! As such, you may wonder when you should start holiday baking. Is it best to start holiday baking right before the holidays, or is it something that you can do in advance?
This depends on the type of baked goods you want to make! There are indeed some treats that you can make ahead of time and just pull out of the freezer when you’re ready to have them. However, there are other treats that don’t last very long, freezer or no. These, you’ll want to make within a day or so of when you want to have them.
Here is a general overview of when you should start holiday baking, as well as tips for storing cookies so that they last longer. Let’s jump into it!
Get A Head Start Holiday Baking With These Recipes
The holidays are usually busy as busy can be, with shopping, decorating, and fun events, such as catching a Nutcracker ballet. You can save yourself time by knowing what recipes you can make ahead of time – and what you can’t.
You’ll be pleased to learn that most homemade cookies keep well in the freezer. You’ll typically have better luck if you freeze the cookie dough rather than the cookie. However, many cookies can actually improve with age.
Here are some of the cookies that you can start holiday baking with right away!
Cookies That You Can Freeze After Baking
Some of the popular holiday cookies you can go ahead and make, then pop in the freezer include:
- Gingerbread men.
- Mexican wedding cakes.
- Sugar cookies.
Generally, if the cookie is on the drier, crunchier side, it can be frozen for weeks, if not months at a time. However, if the cookie is on the softer, cakier side, these are best if you have them sooner than later. They can be frozen for a week or so. If you have a cookie that is custard-filled, you don’t want to freeze these.
- Important note: If your cookies have nuts in them, you’ll want to have these within a few days. This is because nuts can go rancid if stored too long.
Cookies You Can Freeze The Dough For
If you want freshly baked cookies without the time spent mixing the dough together, you can make the dough in advance, then freeze it. You can do this with many different types of cookies – so convenient!
Some of the popular types of holiday cookies that you can do this for include:
- Chocolate chip cookies.
- Gingerbread cookies.
- Shortbread cookies.
- Sugar cookies.
- Peanut butter cookies.
- And many, many more!
Bear in mind that this doesn’t work for all cookies. The more liquidy the batter, the less likely the dough or baked cookie is to hold up well in the freezer.
Tips For Storing Cookies
So, you got a headstart holiday baking. Now, you want to know how to go about storing cookies that you made ahead of time for optimal results. We’ve got you covered!
We’ll break this up into two sections, one for cookie dough and one for baked cookies.
Tips For Storing Cookie Dough
Generally speaking, you can start holiday baking months in advance if you do this. Depending on the type of cookie, cookie dough can be frozen for up to 3 months at a time.
#1. Flatten It
To help your cookie dough both freeze and thaw faster, you’ll want to flatten it. You can roll out the dough into a flat disc, then pop it in the freezer on a sheet until it gets firm. This usually takes about half an hour or so. After the dough has become firm, you can then store it in a plastic bag in the freezer.
#2. Label It
You’ll see this tip pop up with storing baked cookies too. Make sure that you label when you made the dough and what type of dough it is. You may even put the baking instructions on the plastic bag to make baking the cookies easier on your future self.
#3. Put It In The Fridge Overnight Before Baking
This will allow the frozen cookie dough to thaw properly and help you avoid cookies that are too soft. If you don’t have the time to thaw the cookie dough overnight, you can thaw the cookie dough on the counter for a couple of hours before baking. Just know that they will likely be softer than you may like, depending on the type of cookie it is.
Tips For Storing Cookies
Some baked cookies you can store at room temperature or in the refrigerator, while others would fare better if you stored them in the freezer. If you start holiday baking in advance, it’s important to know how to properly store your cookies so that they still taste good when it’s time to eat them.
Baked cookies will usually freeze for a couple of weeks, but depending on the type of cookie, they may last up to a month.
#1. Cool Them All The Way Before Freezing
If you stick your freshly baked cookies in the freezer when they’re fresh out of the oven, they’ll be more likely to stick together.
#2. Store Them In Airtight Containers
This helps them to stay fresher, longer. This is true for both if you’re putting them in the freezer and for if you just want them to stay fresher on your counter for a few days.
#3. Don’t Mix Cookies
Labeling will help with this. While you may be tempted to store different types of cookies together, this can affect their taste. Instead, use appropriately sized containers for each type of cookie and label them properly. You’ll want to list when they were made, as well as what type of cookie they are.
Kitchen Kneads is here to help you start holiday baking. We provide cooking classes to teach you new skills or how to hone your current skills. We also carry a wide selection of baking equipment and baking ingredients. Feel free to click around our site or to swing by our store in Ogden, UT. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us!