Freezing Baked Cookies
Freezing baked cookies is a great way to preserve their freshness.
If you have a party or special event coming up and wondering how you're going to get all your baking done, consider freezing your cookie dough or a variety of fresh baked cookies in the freezer in pre-portioned bags ahead of time. When the event gets closer you can get that last bit of shopping done, decorate your home, or get that last present made instead of spending all your time in the kitchen. This way you will also have some on hand for unexpected company.
Some cookies and ingredients do not freeze as well as others.
As a rule, crisp cookies freeze better than soft, moist cookies. Rich, buttery bar cookies and brownies freeze extremely well. But meringue, decorated cookies or those low in fat unfortunately do not freeze well. Also, chocolate-dipped cookies may discolor if frozen.
Imitation vanilla does not hold its flavor well when frozen, and spices like nutmeg and cloves tend to intensify during freezing.
Cookies shelf life in a freezer.
Unfrosted cookies can be frozen for up to a year (6 to 12 months) if they are individually wrapped and placed in an airtight container. Frosted cookies can only be frozen for about 3 months.
Store cookies in a cold freezer, as close to 0°F as possible.
Store them inside the freezer rather than on the door shelves, which are warmer.
Cookies can be stored longer in a manually defrost freezer than in a frost-free freezer. Frost-free freezers will dry out the cookies and cause freezer burn sooner.
Pack cookies in the proper container.
Cookies should be frozen in freezer containers or freezer bags to prevent ice crystals and freezer burn. Cookies stored in a sturdy airtight container will last longer than just wrapped in foil in the freezer. Freezer containers should be moisture and vapor resistant and should not be prone to cracking or breaking at low temperatures. Containers should provide protection against absorbing flavors or odors and should be easy to label. Suitable packaging for freezing cookies includes freezer-grade plastic bags, plastic containers or glass containers, tins and heavy-duty aluminum foil. Cardboard containers are not recommended for storage as the flavor and aroma from the box may be absorbed by the cookies.
When using a freezer storage bag remove as much air from the bag as possible to reduce moisture and the chance of freezer burn.
Pack cookies properly for freezer storage.
Freeze cookies only after they are completely cooled and any icing or glaze has completely dried.
Frozen cookies taste the best when they are individually wrapped. Individually wrapping them before placing them in containers will keep them fresh longer. Wrap your cookies individually in plastic wrap and place the wrapped cookies into the freezer container. To bulk wrap cookies, wrap several layers of cookies separating each layer with waxed paper--to prevent them from sticking together--in plastic wrap, then seal them in the freezer container.
When freezing several different types of cookies, freeze them in separate containers to maintain the best flavor.
Freezing Bar Cookies
Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and stack in an airtight container. Or, freeze bar cookies in a block. Before baking, line the inside of the pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil leaving at least 2" extra at each end. Mold the foil to the outside of the pan so that the foil will easily slip inside the pan. After cookies have cooled, use the foil to lift out entire block. Wrap the block of cookies in the foil, seal in an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, then place in the freezer. Frost and cut the bars after thawing.
Freezing Frosted Cookies
It is best to freeze cookies unfrosted, thaw, then frost them. The frosting may cause the cookies to stick to one another when thawing. Also, cookies tend to absorb moisture from the frosting and lose their crispness.
To freeze frosted cookies, arrange cookies on a tray in a single layer and freeze until firm. Then place the frozen cookies in a freezer safe container or resealable plastic bag.
Label the container.
Make sure to label cookies with the name of the cookie and the date that they were placed in the freezer.
Freezing cookies that will be given as gifts.
After you bake and cool cookies, wrap them individually in plastic wrap and freeze them in gift tins. Wrapping them in plastic wrap looks attractive and keeps them fresh tasting. When it's time to distribute them, simply remove tins from the freezer as you need them.
Thawing frozen cookies.
Defrost cookies in the refrigerator with their wrapping in place. The moisture that forms during defrosting will then form on the wrapper, not the cookies. Once thawed, allow the cookies to stand at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes.
Restoring a cookies crispness.
To restore a cookies crispness, placing thawed, unwrapped and unfrosted cookies in a 300°F oven for a few minutes.
Restoring the "from the oven" temperature.
To restore that just "from the oven" temperature, place thawed, unwrapped and unfrosted cookies on a paper towel in the microwave for 3 to 5 seconds.