STORAGE: Individual Wrapping and Airtight Containers Are the Keys

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's the best way to keep cookies fresh?

MARCY G.: I always cool cookies well, then wrap each one or a few (if they are small) in wax paper and store them in tins or sealed Tupperware. The wax-paper treatment really ensures no transfers of flavor, less breakage and less humidity.

Can I freeze decorated cookies?

MARCY G.: Not really. A day before or the morning of giving or presenting, have your decorating stuff ready, and you can finish the cookies off with melted chocolate, icing, etc. . . . but they taste and look more just-done when the decorating is the final touch.

Do squares and bars freeze well? How about biscotti?

MARCY G.: Nothing beats sticky, gooey, layered squares for freezing. They are rich, have lots of goo, chocolate, jam, nut-rich doughs, and they tend to freeze well. Being rich, they also often taste better cold, and they cut better semi-frozen.

You also can freeze bars in their baking pans (lined with aluminum foil, with overlap). Unmold them and cut them fresh for giving a few hours ahead.

I like to freeze biscotti in logs, then cut/rebake that second time a day before or the day of. But you can make a ton of different holiday biscotti and cut/rebake after freezing. It's better to do that than to freeze baked biscotti.

They also cool fast, so you can be wrapping while some are cooling or having the second bake. Nothing is as assembly-line, but elegant, as biscotti.

Most cookies freeze well after they are baked, but my preference is to make the dough and bake fresh, when I can.

How can I make the most cookies in the shortest amount of time?

MARCY G.: If you can (i.e., have time), freeze doughs and bake off a few batches a day. It also helps to bake one variety one day, freeze and then move on -- provided you have some base doughs to begin with.

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