Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Sign in to follow this  

Shelf life of cookies

Recommended Posts

I am hoping an experienced baker-gifter may have an answer for me.

I would be very interested to know the shelf life of various cookies like shortbread/sable, chocolate chip, crinkle cookies, biscotti and the like. Friends and family have asked me to make these for teachers' and other gifts (for co-workers, the vet, etc). I know full well that some of the recipients won't eat them as soon as they get them, so I want to label them with small "enjoy by..." notes.

I know amaretti cookies last for ages, and many other cookies seem to sit for months on grocery store shelves. The recipes I have are with butter, and regular household ingredients (so no invert sugar to prolong freshness, and no shortening to replace the butter etc).

So what shelf life can I expect these cookies to have?

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Personally I would not go the "enjoy by" route as so much has to do with storage factors. If they sit in your hot car or in a heated living room near the fire it is different than being transferred to a sealed container in a cool dry spot - just a stark example. I use a loose "one week" measure and tell folks to freeze them in a zip lock bag if they want to keep them longer.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

How long something will technically last (shelf life) is different from how long it will be at peak freshness. Frankly, I only like a chocolate chip cookies freshly made. I freeze ALL cookies immediately, and think many are improved with a little time in the freezer. For giving mixed cookies, which will vary in their peak quality from a day or two to a week or so, I would say to freeze if not eating in a day or two and remove an hour before serving. A tin of mixed homemade cookies is a great gift.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Biscotti is different because, if made with a traditional recipe it's very, very low fat. (the only fat is in the egg yolks, and in the nuts) Real Bisoctti can lat a year+ if wrapped well and kept fairly cool. -If you vacuum seal, it can be even longer.

Regular cookies, with added fats like butter will go rancid. Fats can go rancid, forming cancer causing chemicals, before you can smell the rancidity. (if you can smell that a fat is rancid, dump it without question) Usually, two weeks is the grace period for low moisture cookies. Generally, you just plain don't want the fat oxidizing. Commercial cookies are made with preservatives (got any dilaurylthidipropinate around the house?) and often packed with gas instead of air in the package to prevent oxidation. Don't compare home made baked goods to commercially packaged product, the shelf lives are not comparable.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say one week for any cookie with medium to high moisture (so the chocolate chips, crinkles, and sablés for sure), two weeks for low-fat or low-moisture (biscotti, etc.) And then, only if they're well-packaged, say, heat-sealed in cellophane minimum, vaccum sealed even better.

Lisa brings up some excellent points about butter and rancidity.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for the answers!

I was thinking of making Pierre Herme's chocolate sables, a hazelnut crinkle cookie, and some biscotti using a Martha recipe. The sables have tons of butter (yum!) though, so I will have to think this through. To be on the safe side, a "store in a cool, dry place, and freeze if not enjoyed within 2-3 days" note, to ensure the cookies are eaten before they get stale or rancid on someone's counter should do the trick. The packaging will likely be cello bags (not heat-sealed, unfortunately, just tied with ribbon) or tin boxes, so I think the 2-3 days is all I can get.

Thanks again!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to mention that I live in a really super-low humidity area. People who live in places that are really humid will experience a loss of crispness and other textures within a few days due to the starches absorbing moisture from the air. So, try to seal things well, but, also be aware that once open these items are on their way down, quality wise. If possible, I'd give smaller, more frequent gifts rather than larger amounts. -My vacuum sealer is great, but doesn't do the recipient any good once they have cracked something open.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By Kasia
      Since I found the recipe for courgette muffins with lemon on the Polish blog gotujzcukiereczkiem I decided to prepare them. My children looked at the ingredients with surprise. Courgette and cakes don't go together well. The argument that they add caster sugar to the courgette pancakes didn't convince them. The muffins reminded my husband of the lemon cake his grandma used to prepare many years ago. I just liked them. They were short lived, because they disappeared in no time, slightly lemony, moist and not too sweet. They were perfect.

      If I didn't know they had courgette in them, I would never believe it. Try it, because it is worth it.

      Ingredients (for 12 muffins)
      200g of flour
      a pinch of salt
      half a teaspoon of baking soda
      half a teaspoon of baking powder
      150g of sugar
      peel from one lemon
      a tablespoon of lemon juice
      2 eggs
      150ml of oil
      a teaspoon of vanilla essence
      a teaspoon of lemon essence
      210g of grated courgette
      3 tablespoons of milk
      10 tablespoons of caster sugar
      1 teaspoon of lemon essence

      Heat the oven up to 170C. Put some paper muffin moulds into the "dimples" of a baking pan for muffins.
      Mix together the dry ingredients of the muffins: flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Mix together the sugar and lemon peel in a separate bowl. Add the eggs, oil, lemon juice and both essences. Mix them in. Add the dry ingredients and mix them in. Grate the unpeeled courgette, don't squeeze and don't pour away the liquid. Add the courgette to the dough and mix it in. Put the dough into some paper muffin moulds. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Now prepare the icing. Mix the milk with the caster sugar and lemon essence. Decorate the muffins with the lemon icing.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By pastrygirl
      I had a chance to try a couple of Valrhona's new "inspirations" flavors today, the passion fruit and the almond.  The almond was good but I'd probably add salt.  The passion fruit is intense and delicious, I bet you could cut it with a sweeter white chocolate and still get good flavor.  They also have strawberry.  These are cocoa-butter based so can be used for shell molding.  https://inter.valrhona.com/en/inspiration-valrhona-innovation
      I could definitely see using these.  Passion fruit is one of my favorite flavors, and I already indulge in the convenience of Perfect Puree so I don't think this would compromise my integrity   
      Just wanted to share.  Available soon, probably expensive
    • By Kasia
      This year, mischievous nature tried to upset my daughter's birthday plans. Spending your birthday in bed with a thermometer isn't an excellent idea ¬– even for an adult. For a teenager it is a drama comparable to cancelled holidays. My daughter told me that you are thirteen only once. And she was right. Literally and figuratively.

      I wanted to sugar the pill for her on this day and cheer her up for a bit, so I prepared a caramel cake with bananas – banoffee in the form of a small birthday cake. My sweet magic and the dinner from her favourite restaurant worked, and in the end her birthday was quite nice.

      Ingredients (17cm cake tin):
      150g of biscuits
      75g of butter
      200ml of 30% sweet cream
      250g of mascarpone cheese
      2 tablespoons of caster sugar
      2 bananas
      300g of fudge
      1 teaspoon of dark cocoa

      Break the biscuits into very small pieces or blend them. Melt the butter and mix it up with the biscuits until you have dough like wet sand. Put it into a cake tin and form the base. It is worth rolling it flat with a glass. Leave it in the fridge for one hour. Spread the biscuit layer with fudge and arrange the sliced bananas on top. Whisk the chilled sweet cream with the caster sugar. Add the mascarpone cheese and mix it in. Put the mixture onto the bananas and make it even. Sprinkle with the dark cocoa and decorate as you like. Leave it in the fridge for a few hours (best for the whole night).

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
      One of my friends from Ukraine told me about her traditional Christmas dishes. Except for stuffed cabbage with potatoes (which I have made already) I was surprised about cranberry kissel. I searched the Internet and I saw that in many Polish homes Christmas Eve supper ends with cranberry kissel. In my home we always drink compote with dried fruit, but maybe this year we will try a new dish on our Christmas menu.

      I wonder why cranberries are on the Christmas table. I didn't find any particular information about it (except the fact it is tradition). I think that a few years ago cranberries were treated as a natural cure which aids digestion, and this could be quite useful after a hefty Christmas meal!

      At my Ukrainian friends' home Christmas kissel is runny like a drink, but you can prepare it like a dessert with a more dense texture. I made the drink version, but you should choose which is better for you.

      500g of cranberries
      a piece of cinnamon and a couple of cloves
      6-8 tablespoons of sugar
      2-3 tablespoons of potato flour

      Wash the cranberries and put them with the cinnamon and cloves in a pan. Pour in 500ml of water and boil until the fruit is soft. Remove the cinnamon and cloves and blend the rest. Add the sugar and mix it until it has dissolved. Sieve the cranberry mousse to make a smooth texture. Mix the potato flour with a bit of cold water. Boil the cranberry mousse and add the mixed potato flour, stirring constantly so it is not lumpy. Boil for a while. Pour the kissel into some glasses.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
      Today I would like to share with you the recipe for the best chocolate crème I have ever eaten. It is thick, smooth and very chocolaty in flavour and colour. Despite the chocolate, the dessert isn't too sweet. But if somebody thinks that it is, I recommend serving it with slightly sour fruit mousse. You can use cherries, currants or cranberries. You will make an unusually yummy arrangement and your dessert will look beautiful.

      My children were delighted with this dessert. I told them about the fact it had been made with millet groats after they had eaten it, and ... they didn't believe me. Next time I will prepare the millet groats crème with a double portion of ingredients.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      chocolate crème
      100g of millet groats
      200g of dark chocolate
      1 tablespoon of dark cocoa
      250ml of almond milk
      fruit mousse
      250g of fresh cranberries
      juice and peel of one orange
      half a teaspoon of grated ginger
      4 tablespoons of brown sugar

      Boil the millet groats in salty water and drain them. Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie. Blend the millet groats, chocolate, cocoa and milk very thoroughly until you have very smooth crème. Pour the milk in gradually to make the right consistency of your desert. Prepare the fruit mousse. Put the washed cranberries, ginger, juice orange peel and sugar into a pot. Boil until the fruits are soft. Blend. Put the chocolate crème into some small bowls. Put the fruit mousse on top. Decorate with peppermint leaves. Serve at once or chilled.

      Enjoy your meal!

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.