The only thing worse than a holiday without cookies is a holiday in which the cookies you’re gifting have been reduced to a pile of stale, dried-out crumbs. Luckily, there are simple steps you can take to ensure the sweet treats you ship to friends and family arrive as delicious as the day you baked them. Here are eight tips for mailing holiday cookies the right way.
1. Pick Cookies That Last
This isn’t the time for fresh fruit tarts or treats piled high with frosting. Most holiday cookies are sturdy by nature, but it’s worth double-checking that your recipes yield cookies that can sit for a while before being eaten and won’t easily crumble.
2. Let Your Cookies Cool
Even if you feel like your kitchen has turned into a miniature bake shop during the holiday season, resist the urge to rush cookies out of the oven and into their containers. Let your cookies cool completely before you pack them. Otherwise, the trapped heat will make them soggy, and can even make your treats go bad more quickly. Nobody wants that.
3. Stack Your Cookies Strategically
As you pile cookies in your tin, be cognizant of how they’ll move around in transit. To keep them from breaking, consider putting flat-bottomed cookies back-to-back so that they can reinforce one another. Once you’ve done that, wrap the pairs.
4. Keep Like with Like
Even if you’re filling a box with lots of delicious variety, make sure to separate softer cookies from the crispier kind as you wrap them. Firmer cookies will be fast to absorb moisture from their chewier counterparts, compromising the texture you’ve so carefully perfected.
5. Package Your Cookies Right
Skip the cute holiday box in favor of a tin (still cute!) or well-sealed container. Whichever you choose, make sure the size fits the amount of goodness inside it—too big and your cookies will be squished, too small and they’ll crumble when they inevitably bounce around. Finally, line the base and sides of your chosen vessel with wax or parchment paper and add additional sheets between each layer of cookies.
6. Use Other Treats as Padding
While you decide what collection of confections to bake this year, taste isn’t the only factor to consider. Surround your most fragile bakes with, for instance, bags of caramel popcorn or shock-absorbing fudge that can act as padding and offer some extra variety. Bonus: They’ll taste much better than packing peanuts—and won’t end up in the trash.
7. Choose a Sturdy Box
Reusing those Amazon boxes in the corner is usually a great way to clean out your house and be environmentally conscious, but cookie shipping calls for new, robust boxes that will resist being squashed by other holiday parcels and that can stand up to being tossed on a front porch. (It doesn’t hurt to label the box “fragile,” but you have to assume the warning will only get you so far.)
8. Invest in Faster Shipping
If you’re mailing holiday cookies, this isn’t the time to be cheap at the post office. Choose priority shipping rather than regular to speed up the travel time of your confections. Your recipients will thank you!