For almost every batch of cookies I make, I save and dry out a few to keep as demonstration pieces for the occasions I teach decorating. You may want to hold on to a few cookies you’ve made as mementos, or you may have received some you’d like to retain to remember a special event by. Either way, there are a few things you can do to help ensure the cookies are properly stored. Trial and error over the years have helped me figure out what works best, so I hope you find my top 7 suggestions helpful.
Top 7 Tips for Storing Decorated Cookies as Mementos
An important point to note before I begin, these tips are for cookies you do NOT intend to ever eat.
1. Dry the cookie or cookies out
Keep your cookies out at room temperature, in a room with a dehumidifier on, for at least one week. Alternately, place your air-dried cookies in a dehydrator at 95 degrees Fahrenheit for an hour to five hours. It will depend on the size of your cookies, the thickness of your icing etc., so a little experimenting with this may be necessary. If they get extremely dried out, the royal icing can separate from the cookie and slide right off, so no need to keep the cookie in the dehydrator too long. A good rule of thumb is to dry the cookie out until it becomes hard.
2. Store your cookies in an air-tight container
Keep the cookies stored in a box, or preferably, an air tight container such as Tupperware, layered between pieces of parchment paper. Layering with bubble wrap is an option as well, especially if you’re travelling with the cookies. Just make sure the bubble wrap does not touch the cookies. Parchment paper should always be the surface the cookies touch.
3. Place a small packet of dessicant into the box the cookies are being stored in
Place a dessicant pack in the box they’re being stored in. I use dessicant packs from new shoe boxes as the cookies will never be eaten.
4. Store your packed cookies in a cool, dry place
Store your packed cookies in a cool, dry place. Preferably a place where they won’t be moved often.
5. Spray with shellac or hairspray
An optional idea – Lightly spray your cookies with clear lacquer or shellac you can find at Michael’s Craft Store or with hairspray. I should note that I do not do this as I find simply drying them out (Points 1 – 4) works fine for me. If you live in a warm climate and are planning to display cookies for any reason though (such as cookies used as Christmas ornaments), make sure you follow this step. “Untreated” cookies will attract ants or other little critters.
6. Vacuum seal and freeze
Another option; vacuum seal your cookies and freeze them. This is another method I don’t use, as I find cookies kept in a freezer can be affected by the moisture and bleed etc. This is perhaps a good option if you’d like to keep your cookie to eat in the future. You can find more info. on freezing cookies in this post here.
7. Label your cookies as inedible
This one may not be a practical tip in terms of how to store your cookies, but certainly makes a difference if you have curious people in your household or business who may decide to take a bite of a very old and perhaps toxic cookie (if you’ve used hairspray etc.).
With all these guidelines, I cannot guarantee humidity won’t seep in, causing the icing colors to bleed, especially if you’ve used a lot of food gel coloring in your darker colors such as red or black, but these tips should help! (See this post on avoiding bleeding and this one on avoiding spots on icing). Here are a few examples of cookies I made a few years ago which I keep as display boxes when I teach cookie decorating (I need to dust the display boxes – just noticed that!), and they’re still fine.
These are just a few of my favorite tips which would have helped alleviate some frustration had I known them when I first began storing cookies. If you have any tips which you’d like to share you’re welcome to leave a comment below.
Happy cookie decorating!