Q: I have always wished that recipes for cookies and holiday goodies would include the best way to store the item and how long it can be stored. This would be so helpful in planning what to make or bake and what I can do in advance.
A: I’m with you on planning ahead for holiday baking. And while some recipes do include a little instruction on storage, many do not.
In general, keep like with like. That means storing crispy cookies with crispy ones and soft cookies with soft ones. A soft cookie will make a crispy one limp.
Also pay attention to flavors. A batch of coffee shortbread shouldn’t spend too much time in an airtight box with peppermint cookies unless you like coffee and peppermint.
The good news for longer storage through the holidays is that most baked goods freeze very well. Most cookies — even cookie dough — can be frozen. If you’re not sure, set aside three or four cookies, freeze them overnight and see how the texture is affected the next day. That way, you won’t waste a whole batch.
You also can freeze more than cookies. Cheesecakes, cakes (either layers or even fully iced cakes) and fruit or sugar-based pies such as pecan usually can be frozen for six weeks or so. Just make sure you wrap them well. Double-wrapping in plastic and then foil is a good idea. Also make sure decorated cakes and pies aren’t somewhere where they will get chipped or crushed.
Custard or cream pies usually don’t freeze well and can get weepy.