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Mailing holiday cookies safely

Everyone loves to receive packages in the mail, especially the edible variety.

Pack your tin or container in a heavy-duty cardboard box that’s large enough to allow a two- to three-inch cushion between the tin and the wall of the outside box.

Place a layer of shipping peanuts, air-popped popcorn, or crumpled paper on the bottom of your shipping box. Set your cookie tin on this bottom layer. Then fill in the sides and top with more shipping materials.

Seal the shipping box with heavy-duty shipping tape. Place a mailing label on the box, and you’re ready to send those treats on their way.

Make sure you get cheers when you mail your elegant eatables – avoid breakage by following these pointers.

* Not All Cookies Travel Well *

Certain cookies tend to ship better than others do. We recommend that you do not mail cookies with custard or custard-like fillings or toppings, including cheesecake bars or Nanaimo bars. The custard could spoil, making a very unwelcome gift. For that matter, any cookie that requires refrigeration is not a good candidate for the mail.

Another type of cookie that doesn’t hold up well for mailing is one with a delicate, cake-like texture such as Madeleines. And now, on to the kinds of cookies that can be mailed all over the world.

* These Cookies Are Going Places! *

Cookies that have a crunchy or hard texture such as biscotti, Mexican wedding cakes, crisps, Springerle, and shortbreads make excellent choices for mail delivery. They tend to be fairly sturdy, so you don’t have to worry too much about breakage. And since they already have a fairly dry texture, drying out isn’t much of an issue.

Cookies that have a slightly chewy texture, like chocolate chip, oatmeal, snickerdoodles, and white chocolate-cranberry cookies also ship well. These cookies tend to dry out if they are in the mail for more than a week, so if their destination is a long way off, you might want to ship them by express mail to ensure that they arrive just as tasty as when they were baked.

Macaroons and pignoli mail beautifully. Their chewy, moist textures only seem to improve after they’ve aged a few days.

Dense bar cookies such as fudge brownies, blondies and peanut butter bars travel well too. Be sure to individually wrap each one with plastic wrap to keep that moist, dense crumb from drying out.

* Good Things Come in Secure Packages *

Once you’ve baked and cooled your cookies, you’re ready for the next step: packing them. There are a few guidelines you should follow when it comes to preparing cookies to be mailed. Follow these and your special packages should arrive fresh, in one piece, and great-tasting.

Don’t pack crisp and soft cookies together – the moisture from the soft cookies will seep into the crisp cookies, making them lose their delightful crunch.

Don’t overstuff your container. Your cookies may be damaged. Likewise, don’t under-pack your container. The cookies should fit snugly. If you have too much space, crumple up a bit of tissue paper to fill the holes.

Pack cookies in a sturdy tin or airtight container. On the bottom of the container place a piece of bubble wrap, then line the container with parchment paper or cellophane, leaving enough to tuck over the top once the container is fully packed. Place one layer of cookies in the container. Cover with parchment paper. Arrange another layer of cookies, followed with more parchment paper, and continue this layering until the container is full. Tuck the cellophane or parchment paper over the top, then place another piece of bubble wrap on top, and seal your container.

The following cookie recipes will get your started.

*** Snickerdoodles ***

1 cup shortening

1-1/2 cups white sugar

2 eggs

2-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons white sugar

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

In a large bowl, mix together the shortening and 1-1/2 cups of white sugar until smooth. Stir in the eggs one at a time, blending well after each. Combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt; stir into the batter until blended.

Roll the dough into balls the size of small walnuts. Roll in a mixture of 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in the preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, but still soft. Yields 5 dozen.

*** Blonde Brownies ***

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup butter

2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 15 x 10 x 1 inch baking pan.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together, and set aside. Using a large pan, melt the butter and stir in the brown sugar. Let this cool for about 10 minutes and then add the eggs one at a time. Be sure to beat well after adding each egg. Add the flour mixture, the nuts and the chocolate chips and blend well. Spread in the greased pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven or until the edges begin to pull away from the sides. Cut into small squares when cool. Yields 3 dozen.

– Note: The information and recipes are courtesy of http://www.allrecipes.com


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