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Make ahead and freeze cookies

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I need some info about waht cookies can be made in a batch, refrigerated or frozen, then baked up as needed. I know that refrigerator cookies work that way, but they are not generally my favorite sort. Can that be done with drop cookies? Cutter cookies? Can you freeze 'em, then bag 'em & store in freezer? Should this method be avoided with any particular sort of cookies?

That is, can it be done successfully?

BTW, my lemon refrigerator cookies baked up fine; I'll try another batch in the mixer to see what difference it makes in the texture if the butter is still fluffy when the flour is added. These were very light, crisp and buttery.

Note added Oct 3: I just came upon this article on the Washington Post about frozen dough.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/food/
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #2 of 20
Alexia, the only way I like to make drop cookies is if they are chilled a minimum of 12 hrs. up to 48 hrs. I also portion them out and freeze them, no problem. For rolled cookies, we always have a batch of sugardough in the fridge(we keep it max a week). When we need cookies, we just soften dough a bit and roll out. With huge orders, you can roll and precut up to 4-5 days ahead. Just try and bake them as fresh as possible.
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
:bounce: What good news, angrychef to learn that what I want to do for my convenience is actually the best way!.

Baked food just baked is the best. I usually only bake when I'm making dessert for others, but lately I've begun keeping pie crust and scones in the freezer for a quick small freshly baked treats. Now I can add cookies to my insta-repetoire. Thanks.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
You heard it from angrychef first, but look what I found today in the Washington Post food section! There must be some sort of atmospheric waves that cause these coincidences.



http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...2002Sep24.html
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #5 of 20
Why not bake the cookies and freeze them?
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
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post #6 of 20
Thread Starter 
We have a really good local baker here (CIA), so if I'm going to bake it has to be because it will be better than hers in SOME way. I'll never decorate a cake the way she does or get that professional "look," but with pastry I have a fighting chance because mine can be fresher, crisper when it's eaten.) One reason I'm considering making croissants is that by the time I get to the bakery, they've lost their edge and most of the flake, no matter how good they may have been they no longer justify their calories. :)

Isa, I'm curious about others' experience with this. I like the texture of fresh baked goods soon after they've been baked and find too much deterioration of the texture even if not the taste. I feel I've successfully frozen some baked cakes (pound cake freezes really well) for a few days but never pastry after baking. Perhaps others have found ways of getting around this. (I'd lump most cookies in with pastries on the crispness issue.) I'm sure it's got something to do with moisture because even unfrozen cookies lose their crisp pretty quickly. Also, I think there's an aroma to many fresh pastries/cookies that get lost over time, quickly sometimes.

There are some things I slightly underbake, freeze, then finish baking directly out of the freezer - empanadas work that way. As they've had that last minute abbreviated baking without defrosting, they still have a fresh just baked quality.

I don't know how others feel about it, but for me one of the best reasons to bake pastry at home is the texture when it's really fresh, and I try to time baking tarts, scones, etc. so that they will be mostly eaten within hours if not sooner. The first couple lemon refrigerator cookies I wrote about, eaten within the hour, were delightfully crisp. But by the next day, there was a noticable deterioration in texture.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #7 of 20
When it comes to cookies/scones/ muffins/small pastries, from my experience in professional baking, I prep the dough or batter ahead (which can be portioned, chilled or frozen) and then baked fresh. Nothing compares with it being freshly baked. If in a time bind, you can freeze baked cookies, scones and muffins ---wrap them well, make sure you defrost and pop them in the oven for a bit to wake the butter up and re-crisp. But I would not recommend to do it that way unless it's an emergency.
post #8 of 20
I bake loads of cookies for Christmas. I give them away as presents. Since I could do it all just before Christmas, I have to start early, meaning I'll start in a week or two.


I'll start with the icebox cookies and leave the dough in the freezer until just a few days before Chirstmas. It's the only dough I freeze. Everything else is bake and frozen until December 23. Should there be filling and assembling needed I'll do that in the week before Christmas.

I'm careful of what I'll freeze, making sure the cookie is sturdy enough to handle the freezing and thawing. So far, I've never notice a change of texture or taste.


To freeze the more fragile cookies, I place them in a metal tins between layers or waxed paper. The sturdier cookies are frozen in ZipLock bags.

Here are some of the cookies I freeze:

Chocolate Crackles
Chocolate Coins
Chocolate Rum Balls
Big Soft Ginger Cookies
Chewy Gingerbread
Cranberry Pistachio Biscotti
Mexican Wedding Cakes
Pistachio Coins
Shorthbread
Toffee Crunch Shortbread
Maple Snap



I'd you would like any of these recipes, just let me know.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Wow Isa, that's a marathon of cookie making. And if you find a moment to share your recipes I'm sure I wont be the only one who's grateful. I don't make a lot of cookies, so it's nice to have a tried and true recipe. I particularly like the sound of the maple snaps and the chocolate rum balls.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
post #10 of 20
Alexia- Flo Braker has a book called Sweet Miniatures that also has instructions on how to make ahead and store many cookies and small pastries, you may want to check it out.

Isa- Would you mind sharing the Toffee Shortbread recipe- it sounds yummy.
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks Anna, I have her other bookand a long list of things to try in there. If I bake all these things that look good, my waist will be confused with my height.;)

That's one of the reasons I want to freeze the cookies before baking. In the face of some scrumptious dessert, I have NO will power. If I have cookie dough in the freezer instead of already baked cookies, I have to make a deliberate decision to eat them and go to the trouble of baking them, instead of the steady, mindless munch a whole batch of already baked cookies will allow.

My other strategy for having cakes and tarts, etc., without being overwhelmed by calories, is to take them with me when I go out to dinner. I have my slice and leave the leftovers behind.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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post #12 of 20
That is just a sampling of what I make for Christmas. I must make at least twenty different kind of cookies, that is why I start early. Add to that different candies, fruitcakes and the drsserts for Christmas dinner.



I'll post the recipes for you and Anna, might take me a day or two but I'll get there.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #13 of 20
Butter-Toffee Crunch Shortbread
50 Cookies


21/3 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup rice flour, or substitute cornstarch if rice flour is unavailable)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons fruit sugar or caster sugar
6 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
1 cup English toffee pieces (such at Skor, available in the baking sections of most supermarket)


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13inch metal baking pan. Line the bottom and the two long sides with a piece of parchment paper. Leave about 1 inch overhang over the sides to make removing the cooled shortbread easier. Sift the all purpose flour and rice flour together with the salt and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a large mixing bowl with a wooden spoon, beat the butter until very smooth. Gradually add the sugars and cream the mixture until it is very light and fluffy. If using a mixer, transfer the creamed butter-sugar mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, fully incorporating each addition before adding the next. Use your fingers to knead the final portion of dry ingredients into the dough, keeping your palms off the dough as much as possible, so the warmth doesn’t turn the butter oily. When the last of the flour is fully blended, add the butterscotch and toffee bits and knead them into the dough until they are evenly distributed. I should warn you, at this point the dough now smell better than any cookie dough you have ever experience. Restrain yourself; you will do yourself no favours devouring the entire mess at this point, and the baking doesn’t take that long.

Press the dough firmly into the prepared pan and use the back of a metal spoon to smooth the surface, Prick the dough all over with a fork and set the pan in the centre of the oven . Bake the shortbread for about 45 minutes, then prick the dough again to release any trapped air. Return the pan to the oven for another 15 to 30 minutes, or until the edges are light golden brown, and the centre feels just firm to the touch.

The shortbread will set to a very firm biscuit as it cools, so it must be cut while it is still warm. Cool the pan on a wire rack for 7 to 8 minutes, then run a sharp knife around the outside of the dough to loosen the edges. Make two long cuts in the shortbread, dividing it evenly into three rectangles, each cut beginning and ending at a short side of the pan. Cutting from long side to long side, cut the rectangle into about 3/4 inch wide fingers, wiping the knife on a clean towel between each cut, as it gets sticky and can pull and tear the cooling shortbread.

Leave the fingers to cool completely in the pan, then recut and transfer them to airtight tins. This shortbread can be frozen before or after it is baked.

Freeze the dough pressed into the prepared pan, well wrapped with plastic and aluminium foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, without disturbing the wrapping, and bake directly from the refrigerator. The baking time may have to be increased by a few minutes to compensate for the chilled dough.

Freeze the cooled fingers in airtight bags or containers, layering between sheets of waxed or parchment paper and wrapping the whole tin or container with aluminium foil. Thaw the entire package, without removing the wrapping, at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.

Note:

The original recipe calls for 3/4 cup miniature butterscotch chips and 3/4 cup English toffee pieces. I omit the chips and slightly increase the toffee bits simply because I am not crazy about the chips taste.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #14 of 20
Rum Balls
25 Rum Balls

200g dark cooking chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
30g butter
1/2 cup chocolate cake crumbs
2 teaspoons dark rum
1/2 cup chocolate sprinkles

Line a baking tray with foil. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Combine the cream and butter in a small pan and stir over low heat until the butter melts and the mixture is just boiling. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate an stir until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.

Stir in the cake crumbs and rum. Refrigerate for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until firm enough to handle. Roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture into balls.

Spread the chocolate sprinkles on a sheet of greaseproof paper. Roll each ball in sprinkles, then place on the baking tray. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or until firm.

The rum balls can be made up to a week in advance and refrigerate in a airtight container.


Notes:

I use a very small ice cream scoop to make the balls, it goes a lot faster.

Make sure you find chocolate sprinkles made with real chocolate otherwise the taste of it will clash with the chocolate.

They keep in the freezer for many months. I found a small bag a few weeks ago while defrosting the freezer and they were still very good.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #15 of 20
Alexia,

The maple snap recipe was originally a ginger/maple snap raspberry sandwiches, I just modified the recipe to suit my taste. Since then, I have come across a very flavouful maple cookie recipe made with maple sugar instead of maple syrup.


Just let me know which recipe you would like. I can post both recipes if you want.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Isa, can I come sit in your kitchen and savor the aromas? It sounds like 2 glorious months!

As I have better access to maple syrup than sugar, and love ginger, I think the first sounds best for me.

Do you keep your recipes on the computer Isa? If not, we're making a lot of work for you to share all these goodies with us. I bought a cheap scanner so that I can pop anything I think I may like to make onto my computer whether from a library book, paper, etc. THis has two advantages. When I want to use the recipe I needn't take a nice book into the kitchen, I just print it out. And to find a recipe I needn't shuffle through a zillion books, bits, pieces, etc, but just do a quick search.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
post #17 of 20
Some of the recipes from friends or the internet are on my computer but the majority are in books or magazines. Don't worry it doesn't take too long to type and I really don't mind doing it.

I'm giving you the whole recipe that way you can decide if you want the spices or not. I love the taste of maple with raspberries, I hope you will try at least one sandwich cookie.


Gingersnap Raspberry Sandwiches
Makes 2 dozen


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup raspberry jam with seeds

Heat oven to 375° with one rack positioned in center of oven; line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, shortening, and 1 cup sugar on medium speed. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Set aside.

Add maple syrup to the butter mixture; beat to combine. Beat in egg until well combined. Reduce mixer speed to low; slowly add the reserved flour mixture, a little at a time, until well blended.

Place remaining cup sugar in a bowl. Measure 2 teaspoons dough; roll into a ball. Roll dough in sugar; transfer to sheet. Repeat, spacing balls 3 inches apart. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining dough.

Spread about 2 teaspoons jam over half of the cookies; place a second cookie on top of jam-covered ones, making sandwiches.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #18 of 20
Thread Starter 
They sound scrumptious Isa. I assume you use the more flavorful Grade B maple sugar.

And I just noticed an article in the Washinton Post about freezing cookie dough, so I'll post the URL here. and in an edited note to the original posting for anyone just starting this thread.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/food/
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
post #19 of 20
Thanks for the link Alexia.



Yes I used B maple syrup, I love the flavour of it.


If you love maple cookies, there is a good pecan & maple shortbread type cookie in In The Sweet Kitchen. I just read of a maple and walnut cookie. Let me know if you would like any of the recipes.
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food.

- Desiderius Erasmus
Reply
post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks Isa, I may try it out when I get a little less hectic.
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
Reply
" ...but in the spirit of 'stop, think, there must be a harder way, 'I figured starting from scratch might be more gratifying.'' (Judy Rodgers)
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