Cookie Baking, Decorating, Storing & Shipping Tips

Cookie Baking, Decorating, Storing & Shipping Tips
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* Plain, sturdy cookies, such as drop cookies like Chocolate Chip or Oatmeal Raisin, make the best travelers.

* To ensure that cookies arrive in the best possible condition, carefully pack them between layers of waxed paper in a rigid tin. Use crumpled waxed paper to fill in any extra space. Then pack this tin in a larger, sturdy shipping box. Pad the area around the box with crumpled paper or other packing material, seal and address.

* If you're using cookie cutters to make cut-out, decorated cookies, smaller designs are less likely to break in transit than larger cookies.

* Cool cookies completely before storing or they will get soft and sticky.

* When storing soft or decorated cookies, separate layers with sheets of waxed paper so they don't stick together.

* Soft cookies will stay fresher, longer if they are stored with a slices of apple or a slice of bread (change the apple or bread slice every day).

* With the exception of meringue based cookies or those with very thin batters, most cookie doughs can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator (for a few days) or the freezer (for up to 3 months). Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap for the fridge or plastic wrap and aluminum foil for the freezer. Bake when convenient.

* When making drop cookies, make a large batch, form into balls and freeze on cookie sheet. When frozen put into zip lock bags and store in freezer. Later, just remove amount needed from freezer, place on cookie sheets and bake while still frozen. This way you will always have a variety of cookies on hand.

* Wrapped, frozen logs of cookie dough, packed with baking instructions, make wonderful gifts.

* Most baked cookies and brownies can also be frozen , well sealed in airtight containers. Decorated cookies, or those low in fat, unfortunately, do not freeze well.

* Store fragile cookies in a shallow tin instead of a deep cookie jar or craock as extra weight will brak the delicate treats.

* Brownie or cookie crumbs make a great ice cream topping.

* If you live in a dry climate, store crisp cookies in a loosely covered container.

* If you live in a humid climate, store crips cookies in an airtight container.

* Cookies with a high butterfat content will usually stay fresh for a week orr longer in a tightly covered container.

* Empty coffee cans make perfect storage (or transporting) containers for cookies.

* Use a stencil or even a paper cutout doily to quickly decorate cakes and cookies. Simply put stencil on baked goods and sift powdered sugar or cocoa powder over. Carefully remove stencil and you'll have a beautiful design left.

* For rich vibrant food colors, use paste, rather than liquid colors for decorating doughs and icings.

* Here's a fun way to let the kids "paint" their own cookies. Make cookie paint by mixing food coloring with egg yolks. Let the kids paint pictures on the cookie, before baking. After baking, the colors will come out bright and glossy.

* For small, quick piping jobs, when you don't want to dig out the pastry bags, use a small zipper top plastic bag. Fill with icing, remove excess air, seal the top and snip off a tiny bit of one corner. You're now ready to pipe away!

* For soft chocolate chip cookies, bake at 325 degrees F until golden brown. For crisper cookies, bake the same dough at 350 degrees F (again until golden brown).

* Unless a recipe specifies otherwise, drop cookies should be removed from the baking sheet soon after coming out of the oven.

* If you want the chocolate chips in chocolate chip cookies to retain their shape better, freeze them before adding to your cookie or cake batters.

* Small ice cream scoops are perfect for making uniformly sized drop cookies.

* When re-rolling scraps of cookie dough, dust the surface with equal parts flour and confectioner's sugar. This will help keep the dough from getting tough.

* Be careful not to over mix cookie dough after adding flour as this can over-develop the gluten in the flour, resulting in one tough cookie.

* To keep cookie cutters (especially plastic ones) from sticking to cookie dough, lightly coat them in some vegetable oil.

* Cookies made with corn oil or corn oil margarine are softer than cookies made with butter or other types of margarines.

* Make your own custom shaped cookie cutters by using a cardboard cutout pattern and a sharp knife to cut around the cookie dough.

* It's easier to transfer shaped cookies to cookie sheets, if you remove the scraps from around the cut out shapes first.

* For fewer scarps and less rolling when making cookies, start cutting on the outside edges and work your way in towards the center.

* When making sandwich cookies, make sure to only cut the cookies half as thick as you normally would.

* When slicing cylinders of ice box cookies, be sure to roll the dough every other cut so the bottom of the cylinder doesn't flatten out.

* Be sure to rotate baking sheets from the top to bottom shelves mid cycle when baking cookies to insure even browning. Even the best ovens can build up hot spots in certain areas.

* To avoid breaking and crumbling, cool bar cookies and cakes completely before cutting.

* To put an end to the chewy versus cake-like brownie debate - the more eggs in a batter, the lighter and more cake-like the brownie will be. Less eggs means, denser, chewier brownies.

* To get confectioner's sugar to stick to cookies, sprinkle while they are still warm.

* A fun cookie project for kids is "Cookie Pizzas". Make large round sugar cookies, then let the kids top their own "pizzas" with various toppings: chocolate chips, tinted coconuts, jelly bean or other candies.

* Need a fun activity to keep a group of kids occupied? Have a cookie decorating party. Bake large cookies in advance. Cover a worktable with a plastic disposable cover, lay out various bowls of colored icings and various topping and candies for decorations. The kids will take it from there and everyone goes home from the party with a souvenir.

* Want to make chocolate chip cookies, but are out of chocolate chips? Get creative and raid the pantry. Some tasty alternatives that will usually work well mixed into any chocolate chip cookie recipe include: raisins, dates, coconut, nuts, chopped candy bars, toffee bits and dried fruits.


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About The Author

Cheri Sicard is the author of "The Great American Handbook: What You Can Do For Your Country Today and Every Day," and the editor of, a favorite net destination for recipes, cooking tutorials, health and fitness information, holiday and entertaining ideas, celebrity chef interviews, cookbook reviews and more. Sign up for their free cooking and recipe newsletters!

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