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  
DianaM

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
      MILLET GROATS CHOCOLATE CREME WITH CRANBERRY MOUSSE
       
      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!


    • By Kasia
      SWIFT HOMEMADE NAPOLEON
       
      Sometimes we have days – may there be as few as possible – when nothing works out. I can even burn the water for tea. I have two ways of dealing with such days. The first is to sit in a corner and wait it out – maybe it will sort itself out. I can only do this when I'm alone. When I have a hungry family I have to look for another way. My second way is to use only well-known recipes and stick to them irregardless of how well I know them. Any experiments in this situation will end in failure.

      Last weekend was just difficult. My husband helped me prepare dinner, but the dessert was my problem alone. Following the rules, I used a recipe for napoleon that is so simple there is no way you could fail. I recommend it to anyone struggling with creative impotence or who likes glamourous results after not too much effort in the kitchen.
       
      Ingredients (for 9 napoleons)
      1 pack of chilled French pastry
      500ml of milk
      6 tablespoons of sugar
      1 packet of powdered blancmange
      50g of butter
      2 egg yolks
      1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
      1 tablespoons of potato flour
      2 tablespoons of flour
      caster sugar

      Heat the oven up to 180C. Cover a baking tray with some baking paper.
      Cut the French pastry in half. Bake one half for 20 minutes. Remove it from the tray. Cut the second part into 9 squares. A cake prepared in this way is easier to divide into portions. Put them on the paper and bake for 20 minutes.
      Now prepare the crème. Boil 400ml of the milk with the sugar, vanilla essence and butter. Mix the rest of the milk with the powdered blancmange, flour and potato flour and egg yolks. When the milk has boiled, take it off the heat and add it to the mixture, stirring constantly. Put it on the heat and boil, stirring until the mixture is coagulated. Take the pot off the heat. Put the warm mixture on the whole part of the French pasty and then cover it with the sliced part of the pastry. Cover the dessert with aluminium foil and leave in the fridge for a few hours. Cut and sprinkle with the caster sugar before serving.
       
       

    • By Kasia
      CRANBERRY-APPLE CAKE
       
      The worst thing about my cranberry-apple cake is the way it looks. It didn't look impressive, but it was so yummy it disappeared from the baking pan before it had completely cooled down. My children said that it was a colourful apple pie, and it really was something like that. Apples with cinnamon are the basis of apple pie – one of my favourite cakes. However, the sour cranberries make it more fresh and interesting. The crumble topping was, for my son, the most important part of the cake. I had to drive him away, because otherwise the cake would have been deprived of its crunchy top.

      Ingredients (18×26cm cake tin ):
      dough
      200g of flour
      150g of butter
      3 eggs
      1 packet of powdered vanilla blancmange
      1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
      200g of sugar
      1 teaspoon of baking powder
      pinch of salt
      fruit
      250g of fresh cranberries
      1 apple
      3 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of cinnamon
      crumble topping
      5 tablespoons of brown sugar
      100g of butter
      150g of flour
       
      First make the crumble topping. Put the cool butter, flour and sugar in a bowl. Knead them until you have small lumps. Leave it in the fridge.
      Heat the oven up to 180C. Cover a cake tin with some baking paper.
      Mix the flour with the baking powder and salt. Cream the butter with the sugar. Add egg after egg to the butter, stirring constantly. Add the flour, vanilla essence and powdered vanilla blancmange. Mix it together until you have a smooth dough. Put the dough into the cake tin. Wash the apple, remove the apple core and cube it. Mix the cranberries, apple, sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Put the fruit on top of the dough. Cover the fruit with the crumble topping. Bake for 50 minutes.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Kasia
      BICOLOUR DESERT WITH SEMOLINA
       
      Today when we think about breakfast with milk we can choose different kinds of flakes, granolas, muesli and milk which has sometimes never been anywhere near a cow. When I was a child, only semolina rolled oats and rice were on the menu. Semolina with milk – our hated everyday breakfast – means that I don't fancy using it in my kitchen. But, as they say, time is a great healer and semolina was on our table last weekend for dessert. The dessert had two colours: the first layer was vanilla, and the second was with cocoa. On the top I put some mousse with blueberries. The dessert was very grand and really very tasty.

      Ingredients (for 4 people)
      vanilla layer
      50g of semolina
      400ml of milk
      3 tablespoons of brown sugar
      1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
      cocoa layer
      50g of semolina
      400ml of milk
      3 tablespoons of brown sugar
      2 tablespoons of cocoa
      fruit mousse
      200g of blueberries
      1 tablespoon of brown sugar
      pinch of cinnamon
      1 tablespoon of lemon juice

      First prepare the vanilla layer of the dessert. Boil the milk with sugar and vanilla essence. When the milk has boiled, slowly add the semolina, stirring constantly so as not to make lumps. Keep boiling and stirring until the mixture is stiff. Put some small glasses into some small bowls and arrange them in such a way that they are resting at an angle. Put the mixture into the glasses and leave to congeal. Now make the cocoa layer. Boil the milk with sugar. Mix the semolina with the cocoa. When the milk has boiled, slowly add the semolina with cocoa, stirring constantly so as not to make lumps. Keep boiling and stirring until the mixture is stiff. Place the glasses upright and put the cocoa mixture into them. Leave to congeal. Wash the blueberries and blend them with the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice. Put the fruit mousse on top of the dessert.

      Enjoy your meal!

    • By Tuber magnatum
      Having experienced the "Edible Balloon" dessert at Alinea, I have been on a quest to try this at home.  Only recently was I able to find purportedly a recipe:
      https://www.buzzfeed.com/raypajar1/these-edible-helium-balloons-are-dessert-from-the-future?utm_term=.ut6r3PnMk#.acGNVWmd6 the video of which is found below.
       
      I tried this and probably no surprise, it failed.  The bubble collapsed / popped with only a little distension.   I wasn't sure if the problem was that a "secret" ingredient (e.g. some kind of surfactant to stabilise the bubble or using a different kind of sugar) was missing.  Or maybe I didn't allow the mix to come to correct temperature etc.  Elsewhere I thought I had read that the original recipe was in effect some kind of taffy.  Has anyone else had success, or do any candy makers /modernist chefs, have suggestions they are willing to share?
       
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×