I learned from my mom. When it comes to entertaining, she and I are a lot alike. We plan in advance, we make lists, and we think about desserts as if they are the most important thing on the planet (duh). For years, my parents threw a big holiday party for of their friends. It was nice to see them work together to plan, execute and host… it’s definitely influenced how I go about celebrating holidays and special occasions today. Anyway, when it came to dessert, my mom was notorious for a major dessert table (before dessert tables were even a thing). We joked that she would have an entire dessert per couple (or per person??) but really what could be more fun? The thing is, you can’t possibly entertain thirty plus people and expect to make everything two to three days in advance. Well, unless you want your kitchen to be a disaster, your sleep to be non-existent and your stress level to be through the roof. Instead, my mom developed a system of baking and freezing in advance for the items that would be just as good as freshly made. Among those items, cookies always worked so well. Just bake them when you have some time, stick them in a ziplock bag, label that bag (I admit that this is one thing I actually taught my mom), and freeze for up to two months. It’s also helpful to keep a running list of what you actually have baked so that you don’t have to check your freezer inventory every day! The morning of your party, keep the cookies sealed in their bags and let them defrost at room temperature. Within a few hours your cookies will be ready to go!
How to Bake and Freeze Cookies for Holiday Gifts
1. Bake cookie of choice as directed.
2. Allow cookies to cool completely.
3. Place cooled cookies in flat layers in ziplock bags.
If the cookies are gooey or tend to stick to one another, separate layers in the bag with parchment paper.
4. Use a permanent marker to label the bags (include number of cookies, type, date of baking). Add cookies to a running inventory list.
5. Store cookies in freezer for up to two months.
6. When ready to defrost, take bags of cookies out of freezer. Keep the bags sealed and allow the cookies to defrost at room temperature for several hours.
7. Plate cookies when ready to serve or package them for gifting.
Thirty Cookies to Bake and Freeze for Holiday Gifts
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (a great basic)
Chocolate Chip Mandelbread (a family favorite)
(Fresh) Cranberry Chocolate Chunk Brown Butter Cookies (<-one of last year’s favorites)
Rugelach, Three Ways (Cinnamon & Chocolate, PB&J, Milk Chocolate Toffee)
Chewy Chocolate Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling (<-one of my favorite early recipes)
Cookie Butter and Salted Caramel Cookie Sandwiches (<-one of the most popular recipes on the blog)
Gingersnap Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing (<-got SO many recipe requests from friends on this one)
Mini Confetti Cookie Sandwiches (Just swap the colors to whatever holiday you are celebrating!)
Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (GF) (<-you won’t be able to tell they are gluten-free)
Chewy Ginger Cookies (GF)
Flourless Chocolate Almond Butter Cookies (GF) (<-beyond easy)
Happy holiday baking!