I have made a thousand and one mistakes when shipping just baked cookie gifts to family and friends. I typically baked what I loved and shipped it all dolled up with bows, gift wrap, and long ribbons inside the shipping box. I think I broke all 5 rules that way.
Keep reading for the five mistakes everyone makes at some point and how to keep your cookies perfect, fresh and unbroken until opened eaten.
Here are 5 Mistakes to Avoid When Packing & Shipping Cookies.
Shipping cookies immediately after they come out of the oven.
This may change their texture! They are no longer chewy or crisp. Even a bigger problem is that can cause bacteria growth.
Do everyone a favor and wait until the cookies are as cool as the air around you.
Packing your cookies in anything but an airtight container.
Craft style boxes, vintage tins, and every kind of chic gift basket to hold all of your baked holiday gifts are great to giving cookies in person. But do not ship homemade cookies in those containers when the gift needs to make it across the country or even to the next state.
Decorated boxes are beautiful, but an airtight container will keep cookies fresh as long as possible especially during the holiday postal season. The U.S. postal service and every other shipping company will do their very best to make sure packages arrive on time, but delays happen.
Perhaps there’s a snowstorm or a broken down vehicle? Whatever the case, an airtight container will go a long way to ensure that first bite on the other end is moist and chewy.
You can always pack that airtight container inside your beautiful box or tin. You can still share your pretty projects full of your cookies. And that provides an extra layer of protection agains broken cookies!
Not using enough padding in your cookie package.
Cookies seem to be a solid kind of food, and they can certainly spend time being crushed in a backpack. Even then though broken cookies never deterred any kid!
But cookies need a little more cushion when traveling via the mail. Pack them snugly, using three boxes. You can have your cookie filled air tight container, inside a beautiful gift box in a shipping box. (Think Russian stacking dolls) Then add lots of packing material like shredded newspaper, bubble wrap, or craft paper.
Pack the cookies in bags, one or two at a time, before placing them in their airtight cookie box. The bag provides padding and keeps the gift box crumb free. Don’t skimp on the padding to get them to your recipient safely. And as a bonus they have a lot of fun busting that bubble wrap. An extra gift for sure!
Shipping delicate cookies.
When choosing cookies for my mailed gifts, it’s best to avoid ones that are likely to break during transit. Anything flakey and fragile, like macarons, lacey Florentine cookies or cream filled sandwich cookies need extra care.
They probably won’t arrive flawless no matter what how well they’re wrapped. Save the delicate cookies for your own parties or your neighbor. Opt instead for sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or sturdy bar and biscotti cookies.
Choosing a shipping method that takes a week or longer.
Most cookie recipes last about a week but no longer than two weeks. You don’t want them to arrive just as they’re reaching their best date.
Don’t ship them via parcel post or any other method that will have your cookies in transit for a week or longer.
Instead ship using USPS priority mail. This option generally takes only two to three days in transit.
UPS ground often arrives the next day in some regions, or up to five days if shipping across the country. You want to give your recipient every day they can get to enjoy every last delicious bite.
In my home that may not be important. Homemade cookies usually don’t make it to the cookie jar.
If a cookie or two breaks in the post let it go. Don’t apologize. You may feel bad over a broken cookie. But your recipient will get over it because they’re holding a box of homemade cookies! And, I don’t mind either. In fact, every type of broken cookie is accepted and relished at my home so if you need my address, keep me posted.
And the rule in my home is “Anything broken or burnt is mine!”
Summing it All up
There are two types of cookies that ship well. These are bar cookies and crisp cookies.
Bar cookies are fairly moist. They can be cut into convenient squares or rectangles.
And they stay fresh longer than other types of cookies so long as they’re wrapped well.
Crisp cookies have a low water content, and should be well wrapped to keep them from absorbing moisture.
Here are some hints for sending your creations to someone you care about:
Choose a sturdy corrugated box or large tin to ship your cookies.
Line the bottom with soft food safe packing material. Plastic bubble wrap or unbuttered popped popcorn work very well.
Small paper baking cups are an attractive way to package individual cookies.
They also protect the cookies from damaging into each other. Just make sure they are packaged in an air tight container.
Place heavy cardboard in the bottom of a zip top freezer bag.
Place bagged cookies in a single layer covering the bottom of the box completely. The more snugly the cookies fit the less they’ll shift as they travel.
Fill the remaining space in the box with more packing material, to ensure a snug fit.
Place this box inside a larger box, with packing material all around it.
Close the box, seal, label, and ship.