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Questions about freezing/gifting & flour

cookielover's picture

Thanks for your help! I plan to start my baking tomorrow (Saturday) and plan to give the cookies away Friday (week from today). I know the answer to my question depends in part to the specific recipes I will make but can you give me some general advice on whether I am better off storing the cookies in sealed containers for up to six days or if I should freeze the batches I make Sat - Tues? Should I risk a little freezer burn or risk a slight staleness?

Also, do you have any tips on packing cookies for gift giving? I like to have a variety of flavors but inevitably the spice cookies overpower the aroma of the others when you open the tin. Should I be concerned about the stronger aromas affecting the taste of the "lighter" cookies?

Finally, what can I substitute for whole wheat pastry flour? Will whole wheat white result in the same texture? Can I just substitute regular flour cup for cup (although I realize I will lose the health benefits if wheat)?

Thanks so much! Happy baking!!

ADodge's picture

(post #67331, reply #1 of 1)

You have a busy baking weekend ahead of you -- sounds like fun!

With the exception of biscotti and meringues, I'm a big believer in freezing cookies in both their baked and unbaked state. Almost all cookies can be frozen and with just a week or two in the freezer, you won't lose any flavor or risk the dreaded freezer burn. It sounds like you'd like to get all your baking done this weekend so I'd suggest that you bake-off all your different cookies. Carefully, stow the like kinds of cooled cookies in freezer bags or containers and pop 'em on in your freezer. Take care with butter cookies and double wrap them to protect their delicate flavor from other stronger characters in the freezer. Take out only the amount you need -keeping the rest tightly sealed in the freezer - and thaw a couple of hours before you're ready to wrap and go.

Protecting individual flavors when packaging is definitely tricky. First off, pack 'em up at the very last minute. I know, it's a whole ton easier to do a big assembly line project but you do risk flavor co-mingling. A few years ago when I was sending out cookie samples from The Weekend Baker -- I called them "Buckets of Love" -- I double bagged each variety, arranged them in a roomy container (I used lucite buckets) and filled the spaces bewtween with mini-marshmallows. The buckets looked really cute, the cookies retained their flavors and the marshmallows helped absorb the run-away flavors but where still yummy in hot cocoa.
Finally, replacing w/w pastry flour??? In some parts of the country, I've seen it labeled as "soft" whole wheat -- this is the same thing as w/w pastry. Have you come across this in the health food store? It's worth a look. You could always mail-order but if you're baking this wk'nd, you 're better off trying a combination of half w/w flour and half all purpose (use gold medal- it's a bit softer than King Arthur) or white pastry flour. This won't be an exact swap - your texture will still be a bit dense -- but it should help.
Happy Baking!