Did this photo catch your attention? I sure hope so.
Welcome back to my baking basics series! Where we can geek out about all things baking. The how’s, why’s, and what’s of the baking world. Hopefully you’ve learned a few things the past several months since I launched the series. Like the mysterious differences between natural and dutch-process cocoa, the head-scratcher that is baking soda vs baking powder, and how to make one seriously bangarang (yeah I said it) buttery pie crust. I’m having so much fun with this series.
So, let’s add a new post to the baking basics series today. We’re digging deep into the cookie world. I’m going to teach you exactly how I freeze cookie dough. Doesn’t sound revolutionary, but you won’t believe the amount of questions I get about this. And since the holidays are right around the corner, I know you’ll want to begin making Christmas cookies ahead of time. Let’s get started!
Why I Freeze Cookie Dough
I’m so crazed running my blog during the holidays because it’s when my website receives the most traffic. Not only this, there’s holiday decorating and shopping to do. And between all this, I always need homemade desserts for gatherings, events, gifts, and parties I host. Having homemade cookie dough prepped in the freezer saves me time, sanity, and effort during these busy couple of months. And I usually get started on things right around now.
I freeze cookie dough all the time, actually. Not just this time of year! If I’m in a pinch or need dessert on the fly, I can open the freezer and I have cookie dough ready to be placed in the oven.
If there is one thing you prep ahead of time for the holidays, let it be cookie dough. You will not believe the amount of headaches I am saved by having it on hand. 10 minutes later, I have fresh baked cookies.
How I Freeze Cookie Dough
Freezing cookie dough could not be any easier. I’m sure everyone has their own way, but here is what I do because it’s the easiest and most convenient. After my homemade cookie dough has chilled in the refrigerator (if the cookie recipe requires chilling), I roll the cookie dough into balls. Then, I chill the cookie dough balls for 1 hour. Then, I place the solid and cold cookie dough balls into a labeled zipped-top bag– large or small depending on how much dough I’m working with. I label the bag with the month and the baking temperature. Then, I place the bag in the freezer. I only freeze cookie dough for up to 3 months. So, the date helps me determine when the cookie dough will still be fresh and yield the freshest tasting cookies. And the temperature is written for obvious reasons. Really, you can write whatever is helpful to you. The date, temperature, time, recipe name, etc.
When it’s time to bake the cookies, I remove them from the freezer. Then I preheat the oven according to the recipe’s instructions. Then, bake the cookies for a minute or two longer since the dough is frozen. That’s it!
Here is everything listed for you:
- Prepare cookie dough according to recipe directions.
- After chilling the cookie dough (if the recipe calls for chilling), roll the cookie dough into balls.
- Chill the balls on a baking sheet for 1 hour. This helps get them nice and solid so they do not stick to each other in the freezer.
- Label a zipped-top bag (large or small) with the date, baking temperature for the cookies, recipe name, and/or how long the cookies need to bake for. I always list the date and baking temperature.
- Place the cookie dough balls inside the bag. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Remove from the freezer, then preheat the oven.
- Bake the cookies for a minute or two longer than what the recipe instructs.
- Enjoy fresh-baked cookies in minutes!
What Cookie Dough is Best to Freeze?
- Any cookie dough with a lot of butter or fat.
- Drop cookies are best. What I mean is cookies like chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, peanut butter cookies, etc.
- Shortbread also freezes beautifully.
- Icebox cookie dough is great. And very easy to freeze. Just tightly wrap the logs in plastic wrap, then into freezer bags. Freeze for up to 3 months, then let it thaw in the refrigerator for an hour or two before slicing.
- Delicate doughs don’t hold up well in the freezer– avoid freezing French macaron, pizzelle, or madeleine cookie doughs.
Freezing Cookie Cutter Cookie Dough
Cookie cutter cookies, like sugar cookies or gingerbread cookies, also freeze well though the process is a little different from above. Wrap the cookie dough tightly in plastic wrap, then freeze. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then roll out, cut into shapes, and bake according to the recipe’s instructions.
Freezing Cookie Dough Rolled in Cinnamon or Sugar
For cookies rolled into cinnamon or sugar, like snickerdoodles or peanut butter blossoms, freeze the cookie dough balls without the topping. When you are ready to bake, remove the balls from the freezer, let sit for 30 minutes, pre-heat the oven, then roll into topping. No need to bake for an extra minute or two since the cookies have defrosted a little.
Freezing Cookie Cake Cookie Dough
You can freeze cookie cake cookie dough. If making a funfetti cookie cake, chocolate chip cookie cake, or even a skillet chocolate chip cookie— you can freeze the prepared cookie dough. Simply prepare the cookie dough according to the recipe’s instructions. Then, chill for about 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Then, wrap up the cold dough tightly in plastic wrap. Place the wrapped ball of dough into a zipped-top bag. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Press dough into prepared cake pan and bake according to recipe’s instructions.
Freezing Baked Cookies
After your baked cookies have cooled completely:
- Place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid (this way they won’t stick to each other in the freezer).
- Then, place in a tupperware with parchment between each layer. Or into zipped-top bags.
- Freeze up to 3 months.
- Then, take the cookies out of the containers and thaw overnight in the refrigerator or simply on the counter.
You can also freeze baked bar cookies like blondies or brownies. I usually wait until the tray has cooled completely, then I cut into squares and freeze the squares in layers between parchment in a tupperware.
Start getting prepped NOW for the busy holiday season. Or simply hold onto this post for future reference when you need to prep goodies ahead of time. I hope all of this helps. Here are all my cookie recipes. I usually note freezing instructions in each recipe as well. So make sure you check!
Cookie dough and cookies pictured in this post: Cake Batter Chocolate Chip Cookies, THE Chocolate Chip Cookie, Cinnamon Chip Pumpkin Cookies, Soft & Thick Snickerdoodles, Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Inside Out Chocolate Chip Cookies (but with chocolate chips, not white chocolate chips!), and Rainbow Chocolate Chip Cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction Cookbook.
See you tonight, NYC. I’m selling and signing books at Whisk in Manhattan (933 Broadway between 21st & 22nd streets) from 5-7pm. I have a ton of candy and blog recipe samples for you!