How to Store Christmas Cookies
Santa doesn't like stale cookies. Our guide shows you how to keep cookies fresh until Christmas.
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Want to get a head start on your holiday baking? Before you reach for the flour and sugar, read these tips about how to store cookies. Our Test Kitchen secrets will help your goodies stay fresh well into the season. (But first, check out our Christmas Cookies Baking Guide!)
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Making Christmas cookies is a lot of work, so don’t ruin your efforts by rushing the cooling process. Cookies need to be completely cool to the touch before they’re placed in storage containers, otherwise the trapped heat will create condensation—which ultimately will ruin your cookies. Making batch after batch? Try this trick.
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Keep cookies separate
If you’re storing different varieties of cookies, plan to keep them in separate containers. Otherwise your soft cookies will moisten your crisp cookies, and the flavor profiles of different varieties—say sugar cookies stored with gingersnaps—will start to blend together.
Test Kitchen Tip: Made a mistake? If your cookies got too soft, crisp them up in a 300º oven for 5 minutes.
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Divide into layers
The last thing you want is for your cookies to stick together! Arrange cookies in a single layer, adding a piece of parchment paper or waxed paper between layers. You should use parchment paper when baking the cookies, too. Here’s why.
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When storing cookie bars, the best way to keep them fresh is in the original pan they were baked in. Cover the pan with foil, or place it in a large, resealable bag. If your bars contain any perishable ingredients—such as a cream cheese glaze—store them in the fridge. (Psst! These bar recipes are perfect for the holidays.)
Test Kitchen Tip: Sometimes it’s not always possible to keep the bars in the original pan. If that’s the case, cut them into squares and place in an airtight container, then store in the fridge. They will stay fresh for one to two weeks.
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To frost or not to frost
For best results, avoid frosting cookies before storing. Not only will the end result look cleaner, but you’ll avoid taking up half of your fridge space with cream cheese-frosted cookies. After baking, wrap unfrosted cookies in plastic wrap, stack in an airtight container, seal and freeze. Thaw at room temperature before frosting and serving.
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Freeze the dough
Running low on freezer space? Consider freezing cookie dough instead of the baked goods. Just drop scoops of dough on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes. When firm, place the dough drops in a resealable plastic bag. Bake from frozen for 3-5 minutes longer than the original instructions.
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Use the right container
To keep your cookies fresh, you need to keep air out. For that reason, we suggest airtight containers (like one of these Tupperware favorites). Make sure nothing gets in the way of the container and its lid, and double-check that the seal is tight before popping it in the fridge.
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Pick the right recipes
Some Christmas cookies freeze better than others, so keep that in mind if you’re preparing your cookie tree way in advance. Drop cookies, cutouts, icebox cookies, shortbreads and hearty bar cookies stand up well to storage. Delicate lace cookies, meringue-based treats and whoopie pies do not. Get our ultimate guide to the different types of cookies.