Keep Your Christmas Cookies Fresher for Longer with These Expert Tips
Whether you're making tree-shaped sugar cookies or gingerbread and snickerdoodles, the tradition of baking Christmas cookies is one many families look forward to every year. Whether you're making several dozen for a holiday party or baking a batch for your personal stash, you'll need to know how to store your cookies properly to ensure they maintain their flavor and texture. There are a few different factors that go into keeping your holiday treats fresh, which is why we tapped the experts. Ahead, they explain how to properly store Christmas cookies to guarantee optimal freshness throughout the season.
Know How Long Different Types of Cookies Last
Being aware of how long different types of cookies last will determine how you store them. According to Melanie Auxer, vice president at Insomnia Cookies, Christmas cookies can last anywhere from three to 14 days when stored at room temperature. She explains that softer cookies or cookies with filling will last on the short end of the range, while harder cookies, like biscotti, tend to last toward the long end of the range. If you want them to last even longer, she suggests storing baked cookies in the freezer for up to six months.
Let Your Cookies Cool Before Storing
No one likes a soggy cookie, for that reason Auxer says to always let your cookies—and any baked goods for that matter—cool before storing. "If not cooled, the moisture generated by the heat will get trapped inside of the storage container and cause the cookies to get soggy." Generally, Christmas cookies will take about 10 minutes to cool after baking.
Store Different Varieties of Cookies Separately
If you made batches of different cookies, each type should be stored in its own container. Not only will this keep the flavors separate, but Auxer says it will also prevent the cookies from absorbing unwanted moisture from nearby treats. "I like to keep more delicate flavored or textured cookies separate from others since these soft cookies can quickly pick up background notes from something like anise if packed together," adds Anna McGorman, the director of culinary operations at Milk Bar. She notes that traditional press cookies are usually baked from the same dough, so those can be kept together. "Think of storing Christmas cookies like making a fruit salad—bananas are going to get a bit roughed up by the more sturdy melon cubes if left too long together," McGorman explains.
Keep All Cookies in Airtight Containers
Once your cookies have cooled, store them in layers in airtight containers. Separate each layer with a sheet of wax paper to prevent the cookies from sticking together. Auxer recommends storing Christmas cookies at room temperature for short periods of time (up to two weeks).
Store Cookies Without Frosting
If you plan on keeping cookies for more than seven days, don't add frosting until you're ready to serve them as the icing has a different shelf-life to the cookies. If you've already iced your cookies, Auxer says store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Like unfrosted cookies, frosted ones should be stored in layers in between sheets of wax paper to prevent sticking.
Make Sure Cookies Don't Dry Out
If your cookies have started to dry out after a few days after you baked them, McGorman says you can pop them in the microwave for five to 10 seconds, making sure to cover them with a damp paper towel. If you opt for this method, serve the cookies immediately after microwaving. Alternatively, you can also add half a slice of bread to your airtight container overnight. "The cookies will reabsorb some moisture from the bread and should be as good as new," she says.