One of my favorite things about the holiday season is catching up with friends and family. Christmas is the prefect time to host an ugly sweater party, a Christmas movie viewing shindig, a cookie decorating contest, a white elephant soiree, and of course to make sure you have some quality time scheduled with your family members. Although our calendar gets jammed packed with activities, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
No matter which types of celebrations you will be attending this month, there will most likely be treats, snacks, and/or festive beverages involved. You will in all likelihood also be bringing along some treat or snacks to share. Instead of being a slave to your kitchen for the month, or relying on grab and go convenience items, I have a trick that I have been doing for a few years: using my freezer.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, we have food allergies at our house. This method also guarantees that out daughters will be able to have a safe treat at the event. Win, win!
How do I use my freezer to help? Well, that depends on the baked good. I’m going to walk through what I do for three different types of cookies that we have successfully used this method every time we’ve attempted it.
For traditional cut out cookies, the cute frosted and decorated shaped cookies that are a popular item on cookie trays, it works best to bake them and decorate them before freezing.
Then flash freeze them. To flash freeze your cookies put them in a single layer on your cookie sheet so that they do not stick together. Once they are fully frozen they can be stacked and put into containers or baggies for long-term freezer storage without fear off them sticking together. When you are ready to use them simply take out the number of cookies that you’d like for your tray and thaw them in the refrigerator again in a single layer to avoid them sticking together. Be sure to date make your containers, you’ll want to use these up within 6 months time.
For all other types of cookies that we bake for Christmas we freeze the uncooked dough. For the next example I’m talking about today I used my Aunt’s molasses cookies recipe which is a holiday favorite at our house. This recipe calls for us to roll the prepared dough into balls, then roll the balls in sugar before baking. That’s just what we do before freezing, roll them into balls, then sugar, then line them up on a cookie sheet to be frozen. They can be touching a little on the tray, don’t worry if they roll around and bump into each other. They will easily snap apart when you remove them for storage. Once they are frozen solid they can be transferred into baggies or storage containers. I usually pop between 8 and 12 cookies into each baggie which is how many I will take out to bake at a time. When you are ready to use them, remove them from the freezer and place them in the refrigerator to thaw out. Then, bake them as your normally would. I’ve used this freezing method for all of the other types of cookies that we make that need to be rolled into a ball before baking, including traditional chocolate chip cookies. Again, I would mark these to be used within 6 months time.
The last type of cookie I would call a roll cookie. We also make them as directed and freeze the cookies uncooked. The cookies pictured are called ‘Kris Kringles‘. I have no idea where they got their name, but we make them at Christmas and they are a mandatory item on our cookie trays. The cream of tarter in this simple sugar cookie is what makes them stand out, and extremely addictive. The instructions for these cookies have you form the dough into long rolls that are approximately 1 inches thick in diameter, roll them in sprinkles, wrap the roll in wax paper, and then chill in the refrigerator. The cookies are then sliced into circle shaped cookies prior to baking. Instead of slicing them, these cookies get frozen after the are wrapped in wax paper. Once you are ready to use them simply thaw them in the fridge, slice, and then bake as directed. Again, I’d follow the 6 month rule for a use by date with these as well. If you’d like to see the full recipe for these click here: http://notquitesupermom.com/kris-kringle-cookies/
I highlighted three different types of cookies in hopes that you can look at your own recipe and determine what the best method would be to freeze your favorite cookies. This method has been a lifesaver for me! A lot of mess upfront, since I usually double (or triple) a recipe when I’m freezing them, but very little mess or time baking a single sheet. Also, the ability to pull out 4 or 5 different types of cookies from your freezer and make a beautiful cookie tray for your Christmas gatherings will definitely get you lots of compliments on your baking at your next party. ‘However did you have time to bake all those cookies,” they’ll ask in amazement thinking you made 4 or 5 entire batches of cookies the day before. You can share your trick, or simply smile and say ‘thank you,’ as you think about how you got to catch up on your favorite show on Netflix last night while your oven was slaving away. Your secret is safe with me!
I hope this saves you some time and stress this holiday season!
x – Nicole