SOS to all you food52 bakers!

I have to make shortbread cookies placed in cellophane bags to be put in "Welcome Baskets" for hotel guests who will be attending a summer wedding in Washington, DC. How soon ahead of the event can I make the shortbreads, and can I freeze them, and for how long? When I need to package them, is there a special process I should follow in terms of thawing? I am afraid of the shortbreads getting mushy, and clearly I have never done anything along these lines before! Help!

  • Posted by: Bevi
  • June 20, 2011
  • 7648 views
  • 12 Comments

12 Comments

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ChefJune
ChefJune June 20, 2011

Have you made shortbread cookies ever before? For any occasion? If not, you should make some, and play around with them.

I don't think shortbread freezes well, although it is very easy to make. However, it does keep very well in airtight cookie tins. You should be able to bake them, cool them and vacuum seal them at least a week in advance of the event.

As an example of how well they keep, check out the packages of Walkers' Shortbread for sale on deli shelves.

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boulangere
boulangere June 20, 2011

I freeze them often with great success. Be sure they are securely double-wrapped. Do get as many made ahead as possible so that assembly will be easier for you. Do you have help?

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Bevi
Bevi June 20, 2011

@ ChefJune -I have made shortbread but I never had the need to freeze them. I know that Walkers will have preservatives to extend shelf life, so I will need to check
some brands in Whole Foods, maybe.

@boulangere - What is your process for thawing out?

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boulangere
boulangere June 20, 2011

Pull the wrapped packages to room temp the evening before your need to package them, and you will be good to go. If you stack them as you're wrapping them - I do - please be sure to lay a sheet of parchment between each layer. Very best of luck to you. I'm sure your guests will enjoy the kind gesture.

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Droplet
Droplet June 20, 2011

I haven't tried, but wouldn't it be better to make and shape them all, freeze them that way ready for baking, and bake a day or two before you need them Once you have the oven all heated up, it should go quickly for however many sheets you end up with. Also, it might be better to go with salted butter for this because it is less prone to spoilage. If you happen to want flavored cookies, you can try a adding a drop of rosemary oil to the butter (just melted enough to mix evenly with the oil and hardened back up). Rosemary is a good natural preservative.Hope this helps some.

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Anitalectric
Anitalectric June 20, 2011

Cookie dough freezes very well. But cookies don't. Is it your own wedding? If so, you definitely won't have any time to bake in the week or two leading up to the event, so I'm guessing that's why you want to make ahead. I would either make the dough and freeze, then finish the cookies up to a week before...or get dollar store cookies and put 'em in super-cute bags :)

For my wedding we gave everyone little packs of marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate to make s'mores. I bought the super-cheap big bars of chocolate from Trader Joe's, broke them up into squares and wrapped in gold candy paper. Everyone thought it was the super fancy good stuff! Honestly, the less work you can make for yourself the better.

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boulangere
boulangere June 20, 2011

As I mentioned, I freeze them regularly with great success. They are much *tougher* than other cookies, low in moisture and high in fat. Great candidates for the freezer.

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ChefJune
ChefJune June 20, 2011

Walkers does NOT have preservatives. That's the interesting part.

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mrslarkin
mrslarkin June 20, 2011

I think they'll be fine if you make them and freeze them several weeks in advance. But definitely make a single test batch now and freeze them in a sturdy air-tight container, like a tupperware, so they don't get crushed in the freezer. When packaging, take the containers out and bring to room temp before packing in the cellophane baggies.

Good luck!

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amysarah
amysarah June 21, 2011

Not exactly the same, but when I make pastry for tarts, I almost always double it and freeze half. For dessert tarts, that usually means pate sablee - which is essentially shortbread. It holds up fine in the freezer. I just form it into a disk (to be rolled when thawed) and wrap it really well. Can't see why you couldn't do the same for cookies.

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Bevi
Bevi June 22, 2011

Thank you all for the advice. I am going to freeze some and start to experiment. @Anita, I am a bride of 32 years, but my husband would eat shortbread on every anniversary, and happily!

You are all great!

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sallyglaspie
sallyglaspie June 22, 2011

we make this recipe often and it does very well if you freeze the cookies up to several weeks. they stack well in cellophane bags and you can put them right in frozen and they will thaw just fine.

http://www.pbs.org/everydayfood...

good luck!

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