Sunday, November 16, 2014

DIY Freezer to Oven Cookies: Freeze Cookie Dough Now, Bake Later

Every year of my 20s, I've tried to get better at holiday prepping. The Christmas season is like the Olympics for DIYers--it's a distance race (or sprint, if you're a procrastinator) of handmade gifts, made-from-scratch meals, and do-it-yourself decorations. It's exhausting. The older I get, though, the more I want to spend my time enjoying the holiday, not just surviving it.

One of my goals this year is to do as much as possible ahead of time. I've been researching homemade ready-to-bake cookies that I can make now and freeze until Christmas. This post will detail the method for freezing the cookie dough. I'll include the recipe for the All Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies pictured above in a later post.

I actually found this post from Apartment Therapy's The Kitchn after I froze my dough. I'll be explaining the method for drop cookies, but if you're interested in freezing rolled or slice and bake cookies, check out the link above.

Freezing Cookie Dough for Drop Cookies:
You'll Need:
1 batch of your favorite cookie dough, chilled to make it easier to work with (I used chocolate chip)
Sheet pan that will fit in your freezer
Parchment paper or baking mat
Teaspoon or small scoop
2 large zip top bags
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1. Let cookie dough chill in the refrigerator while you prep other
2. Line sheet pan with parchment paper
3. Write type of cookie, date, and baking directions (see below) on one zip top freezer bag
4. Use spoon or scoop to shape cookies. I use a heaping teaspoon's worth of dough for each cookie and roll it into a ball between my palms
5. Drop cookies onto prepared sheet pan making sure they do not touch.
6. Slide sheet pan into freezer, being sure not to tip the pan. The cookies should not touch as they freeze.
7. Allow cookie dough to freeze for at least 6 hours.
8. Once cookies are frozen, place balls in freezer bag, press out air, and seal top. I like to place this bag inside a second freezer bag, just for extra protection.

Baking Cookies from Frozen Dough:
I highly recommend baking a small test batch to test the temperature and time. Generally cookies will be baked as called for in the recipe with an added 1-2 minutes of cooking time. The cookies pictured here, however, do not contain any shortening--they're all butter. The original recipe called for a cooking temperature of 375 degrees. When I baked my first batch (only 5 cookies), they were too dark at the edges and on the bottom before the centers were close to set. I ended up dropping the temperature to 350 degrees and adding a minute of cooking time. Perfect!

I'm very excited about the prospect of having my baking prep done early. If you freeze cookies or cookie dough, I'd love to read your tips and tricks in the comments below! Be creative and enjoy!

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