Cookies tend to switch texture upon storing—soft cookies get hard and crisp cookies get soft. Here are some tips to keep these morsels at optimum freshness.
- Allow cookies and bars to cool completely before storing. Cut crisp bar cookies while slightly warm. Allow icing on cookies to completely dry before storing.
- Store soft and crisp cookies in separate airtight containers. If stored together, the moisture from the soft cookies will soften the crisp cookies and they will lose their crunch.
- Flavors can also blend during storage, so don't store strong-flavored cookies with delicate-flavored cookies.
- Arrange cookies in a container with waxed paper between each layer.
- Store cookies in a cool, dry place. Cookies, frosted with a cream cheese frosting, should be covered and stored in the refrigerator.
- If your crisp cookies became soft during storage, crisp them up by heating in a 300° oven for 5 minutes.
- Cover a pan of uncut brownies and bars with foil—or put the pan in a large resealable plastic bag. If made with perishable ingredients, like the cream cheese, store covered in the refrigerator. Once the bars are cut, store them in an airtight container.
- For longer storage, freeze for up to 3 months.
- Wrap unfrosted cookies in plastic wrap, stack in an airtight container, seal and freeze.
- Freeze a pan of uncut bars in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag. Or, wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and stack in an airtight container.
- Thaw wrapped cookies and bars at room temperature before frosting and serving.
Here are some pointers to ensure that cookies arrive at their destination as delicious and attractive as when you baked them.
- First, select cookies that are sturdy and will travel well such as bars and brownies, drop, slice and bake, and sandwich cookies. Cutouts and other thin cookies might break or crumble during shipping. Cookies requiring refrigeration are a poor choice for shipping because they'll spoil.
- Bake and completely cool cookies just before packing and shipping, so they arrive as fresh as possible.
- To help the cookies stay fresh and intact, wrap them in bundles of two (for drop cookies, place their bottoms together) with plastic wrap. Wrap bars individually. Pack the crisp and soft cookies in separate tins and pack strong-flavored cookies such as gingersnaps, separate from mild-flavored cookies.
- Line a tin or box with crumbled waxed paper to cushion the cookies. Snugly pack the cookies to within 1 in. of the top. Use crumpled waxed paper or bubbly wrap to fill in any gaps between cookies and side of container and to cover tops of cookies. Close box or tin.
- Wrap cookie container in a cardboard box that is slightly larger and cushion with bubble wrap, crumpled paper or shipping peanuts. Seal box and label "Fragile and Perishable."