So if you’re like me, you love, love, LOVE getting gifts in the mail… especially grandma’s homemade cookies! However did you ever open up that box, smell those amazing cookies only to open it up to find 10,000 cookie crumbs. Now sure you still ate it – a cookie is a cookie no matter how miniscule the pieces are but it’s just not quite the same. It’s kinda difficult to dunk a teensy piece… trust me, I’ve tried *wink*.
Well let me give you some of my tried and true packaging/shipping tips on how to send cookies in the mail.
1. Wrap each and every cookie individually. You can get away with putting 2 cookies back to back, I personally just like the presentation of seeing individual cookies wrapped.
♦ Often depending on the cookie itself (think softer cookies or cookies that are iced), I’ll wrap them I parchment paper first then either a plastic baggie (you can get at my craft stores) or simple plastic wrap. This will also help seal in the freshness and ensure that yummy goodness!
♦ Once each cookie is wrapped with plastic wrap, wrap each one with bubble wrap. Okay, you really don’t have to go this far but if you’re anal like I am and put so much time and effort into your cookies you want them to arrive in pristine shape.
2. Get a box – a much larger than you expected box. You don’t just want to lay each wrapped cookie on top of one another. You want cushion in between each cookie to one allow them not to jostle around and bang against one another (this can cause breakage) plus it’s so much more funner (yes, I just went with the word ‘funner’) to dig around the box of packing materials feeling around for buried treasure!
♦ Now if you wanted to go one step deeper, I’m a HUGE fan of shipping in those decorative tin boxes. They help secure the cookies more plus you don’t have to place cookies randomly in a huge box of packing peanuts.
♦ If you do this route, line the inside of the tin of crumpled wax paper, packing peanuts or bubble wrap
♦ Next place a layer of wax paper on top (not crumpled).
♦ Place a layer of wrapped cookies and then crumpled up smaller pieces of waxed paper or packing peanuts in between the empty spaces. This will prevent cookie movement.
♦ Add another sheet of crumpled wax paper or bubble wrap, more cookies and repeat.
♦ Once you get about 3/4” from the top of the tin, add a thick layer of bubble wrap and fit it snugly on the top and sides of the inside of the tin.
♦ Close the lid and give a gentle shake. If you hear movement, remove the lid and add more packing materials to prevent movement.
♦ When all done, wrap the tin in plastic wrap to keep fresh.
♦ If going this route you will still need to next place in a cardboard box to ship. You want the box to be at least 3-4” bigger than your tin on all sides.
3. Packing materials – I like using packing peanuts and bubble wrap.
4. Packaging them all up – Put a thick layer of bubble around on the bottom and up the insides of the box. Put a few inches of packing peanuts on the bottom and sporadically place the cookies (you can skip this if you’re using a decorative tin), nestling between more layers of packing peanuts. Once you get to the top of the box, put another layer of bubble wrap on top. Seal the box up tight and address clearly. Make sure to let the person at the post office or mailing hub that you are shipping perishables.
5. I typically will only ship out on Mondays and Tuesdays as to ensure items do not sit in the shipping office over the weekend. Depending on the destination and the type of cookie inside, I prefer to ship no more than 3 days, often 2 day. Now you can overnight them or even 2-day air them but they are expensive.
Things to keep in mind when packaging up your goodies:
♦ Know which sweets travel well. As a rule, packable sweets are the same sweets we think of as good keepers. Moist butter cakes are keepers, as are cakes made with honey and molasses. Dried fruits help hold a cake’s moisture and anything boozy will stay moist and tasty for a while, which explains why fruitcakes were so popular for so long.
♦ Bigger cakes stay fresher longer than dainty little things and, of course, sturdy sweets travel better than crispy, lacy, fragile sweets. Bundt and tube cakes, loaf cakes, brownies, bar cookies and biscotti are all good candidates for shipped goodies.
♦ Avoid cakes and cookies with soft icings, jammy toppings/fillings and powdered sugar coatings: They won’t last and, worse, they’ll get gooey and messy. If you want to ship decorated cookies, Royal icing, which dries firm, is a good traveler.
♦ The Great Flavor Divide: When you’re packing your cookies to send separate the soft, chewy cookies from the crisp, crunchy ones with a layer of wax or parchment paper; pack them together and they’ll all end up soft. Do the same thing when you’ve got plain simple cookies and cookies with strong scents, like spices and molasses, or all your cookies will take on the stronger smell.
♦ Place the heaviest cookies on the bottom.
♦ If you couldn’t resist and you made fragile cookies, such as gingerbread people with delicate hands and feet, then wrap each one individually with the method above (back to back). However those poor little gingerbread men have been known to lose an arm or leg even in the best packaging attempts.
♦ Wrap cakes and cookies in a double thickness of plastic wrap or in two airtight plastic bags. Airtight is the important word here, since it’s air that dries out your goodies.
♦ Mark the box you’re shipping “Fragile” and maybe “Perishable.” But avoid labeling it “Edible” — why put temptation in the path of the postman or Santa?