Now that online shopping is an everyday occurrence, receiving a package in the mail has lost a lot of its novelty. Razor blades. Socks. Diapers. Yawn.
If your gift recipients are used to the generic packaging and contents from Giant Retailer XYZ, you can bring back the magic. All it takes is a box of homemade cookies.
Baking and packing cookies for shipping takes a little more thought and effort, all of which the receivers will appreciate once they tear open the box. First, a few tips:
- Choose recipes that are fairly sturdy and neat. Cookbook author Nancy Baggett recommends cookies that are at least 1/4-inch thick, skipping any that are crumbly, brittle or tender. Be wary of sticky fillings or glazes that are liable to smudge and adhere to everything. Among the varieties ideal for shipping: Biscotti, bars (blondies, brownies), macaroons, gingerbread and classic drops (oatmeal, chocolate chip and peanut butter). There are plenty of others that will work, too. Just think it through.
- Take timing into account. You want treats that will last at least a few days. A week or two is even better. For optimal freshness, consider two-day shipping so that your recipients will still have plenty of time to enjoy the goodies while they’re at their peak. Try to work in advance to avoid the mad last-minute rush at the post office.
- Bake cookies with complementary flavors that are fine to mingle, or pack each variety separately. Assume a couple of days in a box will cause them to collide both physically and aromatically.
- Pack with care. Separate layers of cookies with wax paper inside airtight plastic containers or metal tins. If you’re worried about a top popping off, the extra security of a tied ribbon or decorative tape is worth it. Place the cookie containers inside a larger shipping box lined with packing peanuts, bubble wrap or other airy filler (I’m a fan, no shock, of crumpled newspaper) for insulation.
- If you’re really on top of things, feel free to include a list and description of your cookies (noting any potential allergens if that’s a concern) and even a recipe card or two.
Now, here are a half-dozen recipes from our archives to get you started.
Snickerdoodle Blondies. Bar cookies, including brownies and blondies, are great for shipping, thanks to their sturdy nature and long shelf life. This hybrid treat is one of the stars of this year’s Food section cookie package.
Gingerbread Chocolate Chunk Biscotti. Like blondies, biscotti can stand up to the time and travails of travel. We envision these seasonally flavored goodies being enjoyed with a hot beverage on Christmas morning.
Grandma’s Gluten-Free Sugar Cookies. Colorful, big-batch, sturdy and a treat for the gluten-tolerant and gluten-averse alike — what more could you ask for? Green and red are the obvious Christmas choices for sanding sugar, but use whatever colors you like.
Catalan Marzipan Cookies With Coconut (Panellets de Coco). These will add flair to any holiday assortment. They’re also a dairy- and gluten-free option for those on restricted diets. The secret ingredient for stability: potato.
Corean’s Oatmeal Cookies. These are a perennial favorite at Voraciously HQ. Because they’re easy to scale up and can last up to two weeks at room temperature, you can make a bunch way in advance and still have time to ship to all your family and friends.
White Chocolate Unicorn Bark. This is not a cookie per se, but it’s definitely worth including for the holiday. Customize with your choice of seasonal colors and candy, i.e. the solution for all those candy canes you impulsively bought.
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Correction: An earlier version of this article stated an incorrect thickness for cookies to be shipped. This version has been updated.