Cookies can come in all shapes and types from a bar cookie, to drop cookies, to refrigerator cookies, to rolled cookies, to shaped cookies. Most of these cookies can be baked ahead if they are properly stored. Supermarket cookies are baked with enough preservative to stay fresh on the shelf for a year or longer. Homemade cookies are baked without preservatives, and need to be eaten promptly. Cookies taste best when they are fresh out of the oven, or within five days of baking. If cookies are stored properly they will keep their fresh from the oven flavor and texture. Following are tips to ensure that your home-baked cookies stay fresh:
Generally, cookies can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks and in the freezer for up to 3 to 6 months.
All cookies should be cooled completely before storing. If they are still warm when placed in a container, they will become too soft and moist from the condensation.
Soft and crisp textured cookies should be separated before storing. If the two are mixed, the soft cookies will dry out and the crisp ones will become soft.
Store each kind of cookie separately to prevent flavors from blending and changing the taste of the cookies.
Soft cookies should be placed between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container. If the cookies begin to dry out, place a slice of bread or a fresh-cut apple on a sheet of waxed paper and place inside the container. Replace the bread or apple within two days.
Crisp cookies should be stored in a cookie jar or container with loose fitting lid, such as a cookie tin, in a dry climate so any excess moisture can escape. In a humid climate, store crisp cookies in a tightly covered container between layers of wax paper to keep the moisture out. If they become too soft an undecorated cookie can be reheated in a 300°F oven on an ungreased cookie sheet for 3 to 5 minutes.
Frosted cookies should be stored only after the frosting has dried on the cookies. Like soft cookies, they should be stored between layers of waxed paper with a maximum of 3 layers.
Cookies with very moist fillings should be stored in a loose covered container. If fillings contain dairy products, they must be refrigerated.
Store fragile cookies in a shallow tin to prevent breakage.
Store thumbprint cookies between layers of waxed paper to protect the filling from touching the bottom of the cookie on the layer above.
Uncut bar cookies should be stored in the baking pan wrapped in aluminum foil. Or the baking pan can be placed in a resealable plastic storage bag. If the bar cookies are made with dairy products, store covered in the refrigerator. Once the bars are cut, store them in an airtight container between layers of waxed paper.