How to store holiday cookies and candies makes it a cinch to stash your creations in advance for safekeeping–both from deteriorating over time and from stray cravings–so they last long past the moment you made them.
Rest assured, busy bakers who have other things to do with every spare hour in December besides bake, that most decorated cookies, as well as caramels and bark and brittle, can be made in advance and stashed for up to a week before gifting them or noshing on them with some wine at your swanky soiree. Which means you can easily pretend that you JUST slaved over a hot stove for the cookies and candies that you’re gifting. You simply need to pay mind to a few commonsense tricks.
STORING COOKIES & CANDY AT ROOM TEMPERATURE
First, make sure the candy itself or the icing on your decorated cookies is fully set and dried before storing in an airtight container at room temperature. You can layer candies or cookies between sheets of parchment paper or waxed paper, stacking the cookies no more than three layers high since too much weight can damage the decorations or the shapes of the candies toward the bottom of the tin.
STORING COOKIES IN THE FREEZER
For longer storage, you can freeze baked but undecorated cookies in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Simply thaw them at room temperature before serving or decorating.
You can also freeze unbaked cookie dough that must be chilled before rolling out, such as sugar cookie dough or gingerbread dough, can be formed into a disk, wrapped in plastic wrap, sealed in a freezer bag, and frozen for up to 3 months; let the dough thaw to a cool room temperature before rolling it out, baking, and decorating as usual. Same goes for icebox doughs, which are formed into a log prior to chilling, slicing, and baking, can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for up to 3 months. Just thaw at room temperature before slicing and baking.
Additionally, any unbaked rolled or shaped cooked dough, such as sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, and fig rugelach, can be shaped and frozen before baking and then baked directly from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.