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Baked goods that ship well


Ling
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I would like to send some baked goods to some friends and would like some help coming up with some ideas of things that ship well. I'm concerned about freshness--typically, I only ship things like biscotti or shortbread because I know the flavour won't suffer if they're packaged for a few days. I'm kind of a stickler for freshness and don't even like to make cakes more than a day in advance because I worry about moisture and flavour loss. At the same time, I'm kind of tired of sending the same old stuff through the mail!

What are some baked goods that travel well? I would like to send something a little fancier than biscotti and shortbread. :smile:

Bonus points if it's a baked good that benefits from being "matured" for a few days en route...I remember seeing a Paula Wolfert walnut tart recipe before that had to be ripened for 3 days or so to improve its flavour.

Edited by Ling (log)
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It's a little pedestrian, but I've sent the California Fruit Bars from Maida Heatter's Book of Great American Desserts pretty much all over the world. It's a sort of blonde brownie but with your favorite dried fruits (I've experimented with just about every type of dried fruit: apricots, figs, pears, plums, cherries, cranberries, golden raisins....) and nuts (I like to change the nut depending on which kind of fruit mix I'm using). It also works with just one type of fruit and nut (like cherries and hazelnuts or cranberries and walnuts) or only all nuts/no fruit.

The other recipe that I know travels well is the Golden Grand Marnier cake from RLB's Cake Bible. Ditto for Maida Heatter's Best Damn Lemon Cake (from the New Book of Great Desserts).

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Bourbon Pecan Cake, a Southern staple.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
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Any dry, crisp cookies will keep.

Quick breads, chewy ginger cookies.

Cookies made with honey won't dry out, but must be well wrapped so they don't absorb a lot of moisture along the way.

How far are the cookies going?

Eileen

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Ling, are you taking orders? :raz:

Actually, I agree with the honey proviso. I find that any baked goods that we make with applesauce substituted for some of the fats work very well for shipment.

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Thanks for all the replies so far...keep them coming! :smile:

CanadianBakin'--are you sure brownies would keep? I have not made a pan and had them last for over 24 hours so I'm not sure... :laugh:

The Guiness Stout cake, Grand Marnier cake, and southern pecan cake are all great ideas--I think I'll start with those. :biggrin:

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Many Greek and Middle Eastern desserts age and ship well. I've shipped baklava, koulouria, melomakarina, and karidopitta and other syrup cakes succesfully. Paula Wolfert and Aglaia Kremezi are two of my favorite sources for recipes for these desserts.

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Cookies made with honey won't dry out, but must be well wrapped so they don't absorb a lot of moisture along the way.

...

Lebkuchen might be one good candidate for honey-based cookies. They are supposed to be aged before eating.

I don't have my own tried and true recipe yet but this one might be nice: Lebkuchen

Edited by ludja (log)

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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A great way to ship stuff like brownies, simple cakes, and bar cookies is to bake them in a foil 8x8 pan, frost or decorate right in the pan, and don't cut it at all. Just ship the whole pan, and when cut into by the lucky recipient it'll be nice and fresh and tidy.

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A great way to ship stuff like brownies, simple cakes, and bar cookies is to bake them in a foil 8x8 pan, frost or decorate right in the pan, and don't cut it at all.  Just ship the whole pan, and when cut into by the lucky recipient it'll be nice and fresh and tidy.

Brownies are my go to shipping treat because of the ease of the trick Abra mentions. No crumbled, dry, soggy, whatever cookies to deal with. You can add flavor combos (orange, mint, cinnamon, chile, caramel, etc), frost or not, top or not. I wrap the foil pan in plastic wrap and put it in a sturdier container to prevent smushing. I use Medrich's cocoa brownies as my base. It gets a tiny bit of a top crust anyway so it stands up well to a day or two en route.

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I send baked goods overseas a lot; my favorites to send are bar cookies, any of the ones that are gooey/fudgy (brownies/blondies) travel well. Loaf quick breads (pumpkin, zucchini, applesauce), moist nut cakes, and boozy bundt cakes travel well too. But also, gingerbread -- both the cake-type and the cookie-type. The spices just get better.

And Sachertorte! They ship that from Vienna everywhere, and I have sent it via 5-day shipping also.

Packaging is key: you want plastic wrap, foil, tightly-fitting box or tin, then in a bigger box surrounded with bubble wrap or peanuts. Label well insode and out, including a this-way-up if applicable. And tell the recipient not to shake it to figure out what you sent them!:D

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So taking ideas about using alcohol and spices, I decided to ship pumpkin spice cakes tomorrow, with brandy caramel. (I also have some goat milk that I'll be adding to the caramel). I'll probably poke holes into the cake and pour the caramel on top, and then the caramel should set into a frosting-like consistency on the surface. (At least, this happens when I pour caramel on cakes at home and leave them to sit for an hour or so.)

You know, I've never thought to ship cakes in those disposable aluminum pans either, so I bought some. They're so cheap! :biggrin:

Thanks for all the ideas...I'm sure I'll get around to using all of them in the future. :smile:

Edited by Ling (log)
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How do you wrap the cakes so they don't break apart in transit? I was thinking of baking something for my nephew and his girlfriend, and was considering rugelach because I can put them in a nice tin and they won't be much the worse for wear. A really moist spice cake that needs a day or two to mature is a great idea, but wouldn't it just crumble during shipping?

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I second Medrich's cocoa brownies recommend. I'm sorry Ling, but I think it's going to be my standard brownie from now on. :laugh: If you want the recipe, I can PM it to you.

I've made those brownies before, and none of the taste-testers (10? including me) preferred them over my recipe.

(In efforts to eliminate bias, I told them beforehand the cocoa brownie recipe was another recipe I developed as well, then told them it was a Medrich recipe after they told me which one they liked better.)

Edited by Ling (log)
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How do you wrap the cakes so they don't break apart in transit? I was thinking of baking something for my nephew and his girlfriend, and was considering rugelach because I can put them in a nice tin and they won't be much the worse for wear. A really moist spice cake that needs a day or two to mature is a great idea, but wouldn't it just crumble during shipping?

I'm shipping them directly in those disposable aluminum pans mentioned upthread, then using foil and plastic wrap. I think it should be OK.

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I second Medrich's cocoa brownies recommend. I'm sorry Ling, but I think it's going to be my standard brownie from now on. :laugh: If you want the recipe, I can PM it to you.

I've made those brownies before, and none of the taste-testers (10? including me) preferred them over my recipe.

(In efforts to eliminate bias, I told them beforehand the cocoa brownie recipe was another recipe I developed as well, then told them it was a Medrich recipe after they told me which one they liked better.)

This is an excellent reason for me to bake both of them and compare them side to side. :wink:

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