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It’s always a smart move to get ahead of your holiday cookie baking before the madness sets in. That means leaning on your freezer for some major help — get those cookies ready now, tuck them in, and they’ll be there for you when those parties come around.
Mistakes to avoid when freezing cookie dough
The tips in this section are all about freezing cookies while they are still in their dough form. There are a number of mistakes you can make at this step of making and freezing cookies, from not paying attention to the needs of each specific dough to putting off the finishing touches, such as icing sugar.
1. Freezing the wrong kind of dough.
Most cookie dough freezes well, but there are a few exceptions. Thin, delicate cookies such as tuiles, florentines, lace, and pizzelles usually have runny batters that don’t freeze particularly well unbaked or baked, so it’s best to make these types of cookies fresh.
Follow this tip: The best cookie doughs to freeze are drop cookies like chocolate chip or oatmeal, slice-and-bake cookies like shortbread, and cut-out cookies like sugar and gingerbread.
2. Not using the correct method to freeze a particular dough.
Depending on the kind of dough you’re freezing, whether it’s dropping, cutting and baking or cutting out, it makes sense to follow a particular method.
Follow this tip: Remember what kind of cookie dough you’re freezing and follow the best method for freezing that particular kind of dough.
3. Freeze those already rolled in granulated or powdered sugar.
There are a few things you should save up for right before baking your cookies, and rolling them in sugar is one of them. The sugar can clump and form an unappealing coating on your cookies instead of baking as it should, like when you want the powdered sugar to form the wrinkles on your crinkled cookies. Instead, wait to roll before baking them.
Follow this tip: Keep rolling cookie dough in granulated or powdered sugar until just before sticking them in the oven. This last step will make your make-ahead cookie look and taste as fresh as possible.
4. Do not forget to add a few minutes to the baking time.
Drop cookie dough balls can be baked right out of the freezer, while slice-and-bake and cut-out cookie dough need to thaw briefly on the counter so they can be cut or rolled out. Either way, the dough will be colder than it would be if it were freshly baked, so you should spend a minute or two on the suggested baking time to make sure the dough is cooked through.
Follow this tip: Add one to two minutes extra baking time to the suggested time for the recipe, but keep an eye on the cookies to make sure they don’t overbake in the process.
5 cookie dough that freezes well
Mistakes to avoid when freezing baked cookies
So you already baked all your cookies – such a smart move! — and now it’s time to put them away for future cookie boards and last-minute, easy desserts for friends. Here you will find tips on storage, decoration and the recipes that best suit this method.
5. Do not freeze them separately on baking trays first.
You can also successfully freeze baked cookies, especially the ones mentioned above that also freeze well as dough, but if you just throw all those peanut butter cookies in a container and put them in the freezer, you’ll be mad if you see a block. of cookies stuck together if you’re only going to grab a handful. To avoid this, they must first be frozen individually.
Follow this tip: Freeze your baked cookies first on baking sheets lined with wax or parchment paper, until firm, then place in a freezer bag or other airtight container.
6. Freeze them with icing and other decorations.
While you can freeze baked cookies already decorated with icing or filling with jam or ganache, those ingredients don’t freeze incredibly well; you’ll get better overall results if you add them after you’ve thawed the baked cookies.
7. Thaw in the containers they were frozen in.
If you thaw baked cookies in the containers you kept them in the freezer, the condensation that forms during thawing can cling to the cookies and cause them to become soggy. It is better to take them out of the freezer bag or airtight container during thawing, so that no condensation forms.
Follow this tip: Remove frozen baked cookies from their trays and place on a paper towel-lined plate to thaw at room temperature.
5 baked cookies that freeze well
What is your strategy for pre-freezing cookies? Are you someone who freezes the dough or bakes your cookies and freezes the finished product?