Sending a package of homemade cookies is one of the sweetest ways (pun intended!) to share the holiday spirit with your loved ones, but the travel isn't always so good for the treats.
Too often, your painstakingly-created creations end up in shambles by the time they arrive at your recipient's door, but it doesn't have to be that way. With these tips and tricks, you can be sure your cookies show up as beautiful as they were when they were sent out.
It's just a fact that some cookies and treats travel better than others. Choose carefully when selecting what to send. Skip anything that requires refrigeration or that are too delicate to survive the shaking along the journey. If your cookies are headed somewhere warm, think ahead and don't include ingredients like fancy frosting or chocolate chips that might melt in the back of a hot mail truck.
Stick with bar cookies, drop cookies or fruit-based treats. Shortbread and biscotti are also excellent choices that travel well. Other ideas include pignoli or macaroons, which are both dense, chewy cookies that actually improve in texture over time.
You'll want to pack your cookies into smaller tins or boxes and then cushion them within a larger, sturdy cardboard box. Use tissue paper, bubble wrap or old newspapers as packing material. Or, make the interior more festive by using shredded wrapping paper.
Important! Make sure your cookies are totally cooled before packing them up for shipping.
Sort like cookies into separate containers. Keep crispy with crispy, and keep strong flavors like gingerbread in their own box or bag as the taste may permeate other cookies.
Use plastic wrap or small zippered baggies, and label everything so your recipient knows which is which. Drop the sealed cookies into cute boxes, tins or other containers and add a small ribbon to make them extra special.
Pack 'Em Up
Line the bottom of your sturdy shipping box with some of your packing material, then loosely place the cookie containers inside, heaviest ones on the bottom. Use additional packing material between layers and be sure you don't overstuff the box.
Once everything's inside, add a final layer of packing material to the top and be sure the sides are also filled so things shift around as little as possible. Pick the box up, give it a little shake to be sure it's all good, tape it up and it's ready to roll!
Send 'Em Out
Use a marker to clearly label the box with your loved one's name and address, as well as the words "Fragile & Perishable" so the shipper knows to handle them properly. When you plan to drop the box off for shipment, be sure to consider when the cookies will arrive.
Your best bet is to send cookies so they get to your recipient at the beginning of the week so you don't have to worry about them sitting in storage over a weekend. When in doubt, overnight shipping is always an option.
What About Shipping Overseas?
With just a few extra precautions, you can send cookies to your loved ones in the military or across boarders that will arrive as delicious and beautiful as the day you baked them.
- Stick to butter-flavored shortening
- Avoid butter, margarine, peanut butter or nuts that spoil easily in heat
- Opt for white sugar, melted chocolate or butterscotch to sweeten treats over molasses, brown sugar, corn syrup or honey, all of which produce soft cookies that can get fuzzy and moldy during a long trip
- Consider packing your cute cookie containers into large zipper bags before dropping them into the shipping box to protect them in case they encounter rain along the route
Finally, double check the address, seal the box with a kiss and send it along its way! Your loved ones are sure to enjoy the delicious treat, and appreciate the care you put into such a thoughtful, delicious gift.