Have You Heard of the Bread Trick?
Is there anything sadder than biting into a cookie and finding it hard and crumbly, when—just the day before—they were soft and chewy?
Granted, as a life event, it’s probably not that bad. But on the scale of cookie-related misfortunes, it ranks pretty high.
So, is there a way to keep cookies soft and chewy? And what makes a cookie soft and chewy to begin with? For starters, let’s take a look at what makes a cookie lose its softness.
Why Do Cookies Get Hard?
Like all baked treats, cookies are subject to getting stale. Over time, the moisture in the cookies evaporates, leaving them stiff and crumbly. It’s the same thing that happens to breads, muffins, and other baked goods. The longer they sit, the more stale they become.
Thus, the best, most foolproof way to prevent cookies from going stale is to eat them the day they were baked. Seriously! You can make a batch of cookie dough and refrigerate or freeze it, then just bake however many you plan to serve that day. Stale cookie problem solved.
But suppose you have more cookies than you and your household can eat in one day. Or maybe you’re sending some cookies through the mail and they won’t arrive for a few days. What can you do?
Keep Them Sealed
The key to keeping cookies fresh and soft is to seal them in an airtight container, like a resealable freezer bag. And here’s a nifty little trick: add a piece of bread to the bag.
You might think that the bread trick works because the cookies absorb moisture from the bread. But what’s actually happening is that the extra moisture from the bread creates a humidity level inside the bag that slows down the moisture loss from the cookies.
It’s like going out on a hot, humid day. The extra humidity in the air makes you feel hotter because you can’t perspire fast enough to cool yourself down. It’s the same with the bag of cookies. The air inside the bag is already so saturated that there’s no room to add more. So the moisture in the cookies stays in the cookies.
Some folks recommend using flour tortillas, especially if you’re shipping your cookies in a round tin. The tortilla works the same way as the bread, but since they’re round and flat, you can stack the cookies with a tortilla between each layer.
Tips for Making a Chewier Cookie
Now, let’s take a look at a few ideas for making chewier cookies to begin with. You’ll notice that what they all have in common is that they all involve adding more moisture to the cookies.
Use brown sugar: This works because there’s more moisture in brown sugar than in white sugar. Of course, this won’t work if you’re making sugar cookies, because brown sugar will produce brown cookies. But if you don’t mind a darker color with other cookies, swap out some white sugar for brown. Alternately, you can add a tablespoon of molasses to the dough.
Use bread flour: The idea here is that since bread flour absorbs more liquid and contains more gluten than all-purpose flour, it would make a more elastic (i.e. chewy) dough. This all makes sense, except that the way gluten is developed is through kneading. When you bite into that chewy pizza crust made from bread flour, that dough was kneaded for a very long time.
But with cookies, there’s no kneading happening at all. You just mix the ingredients until they’re combined and that’s that. So while it’s true that bread dough contains more gluten, it’s unlikely that bread flour alone is going to contribute much additional chewiness to a cookie.
Use melted butter: Why? A chewy cookie is not just a moist cookie, it’s also a dense cookie. And creaming the butter mixes in air, which makes it airy, but not necessarily chewy. Melted butter is impossible to cream, so there’s no extra air added to the dough. That makes the cookies dense and thus chewy.
Play with your eggs: If you’re doing a melted butter cookie and the recipe calls for two whole eggs, try using one whole egg and one egg yolk. In other words, leave out an egg white, making up the extra liquid by adding two tablespoons of milk. This will yield a chewy cookie.
On the other hand, if you’re creaming your butter, you might be better off using all egg whites and no yolks.
As a general rule, if you’re using the melted butter method, extra egg yolks produce chewier cookies and extra egg whites make them cakey. If you’re creaming your butter, do the opposite: extra egg whites make them chewy, but yolks make them cakey.
Here are several storage options for when you want to enjoy your cookies later — whether that is next week or three months from now.
Part of the appeal of cookies is their simplicity and the short amount of time it takes to make them. Cookies bake up faster than cakes and are less labor intensive than pies and other desserts. Not to mention, the number of varieties of cookies is limited only by your own imagination.
One of the biggest challenges, however, comes in keeping those freshly baked cookies tasting, well, fresh. And the solution can vary based on whether your cookies are crisp, chewy, frosted, or filled.
Of course, the easiest way to ensure consuming a freshly baked cookie is to eat it right out of the oven or, in the case of Cheryl’s Cookies, the package in which it is delivered. Brenda Mortensen, food product development director and food scientist at Cheryl’s, says homemade cookies can be enjoyed within five-to-seven days after being baked. (As Cheryl’s cookies are made with the same ingredients you would use at home, and don’t contain any added freshness preservatives, you should treat them just as you would fresh-baked cookies.) After that, she says, you’ll want to preserve that peak freshness by freezing them.
But don’t worry: If you freeze a Cheryl’s cookie, you don’t have to wait long to enjoy it again.
“It only takes 10 minutes for an individually wrapped cookie to thaw out…although they are also fabulous frozen!” Brenda says.
There are times, however, where you need to keep those cookies on hand for a later date, or maybe you are shipping them to someone else. For those instances, you have several options for guaranteeing fresh success!
Two general rules apply to storing any kind of cookie. One is to keep them in an airtight container. Air is the enemy of freshness, and all cookies do best when sealed well. (That’s why Cheryl’s individually wraps its cookies.)
Make sure you do not store strong flavors together. Flavors will migrate from one cookie to the other, and they will all taste the same.
Food product development director and food scientist
The second is to store “like with like.” This applies to both flavors and textures. If you store soft cookies with crisp ones, the crisp ones will get soft and chewy, and vice versa. Stored cookies also tend to absorb the flavors with which they are packed.
“Make sure you do not store strong flavors together,” Brenda advises. “Flavors will migrate from one cookie to the other, and they will all taste the same.”
So, if you don’t want your lemon cookies to taste like peanut butter, keep them separate.
Here are some tips for keeping certain types of cookies at their peak freshness.
Oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodles, and ginger cookies are prized for their soft, chewy texture. Airtight storage is most important for these types, as air will cause them to dehydrate and take away from their chewiness. Brenda also points out that refrigerating cookies accelerates the staling process, so it is important to leave them at room temperature.
One trick to keeping cookies softer longer is placing a slice of bread in the container with them. This creates a more humid environment. Just be sure to use a neutral bread, such as white bread, as the cookies will absorb any flavors with which they come into contact.
If you are storing the cookies in a round tin for gifting or shipping, you can also place a flour tortilla in between the layers of cookies. The tortilla will do the same job as the bread.
Another tip is to slightly underbake the cookies by about 2 minutes. The softer center will help them retain their texture longer.
Just as we like our soft cookies to stay nice and chewy, we want the opposite for the crispy kind. These include such varieties as biscotti, meringues, lace cookies, and even some types of chocolate chip cookies. While the method of storage is just as important for crispy cookies as it is for chewy, the ingredients and baking method you use can make a difference, too.
In general, cookies made with granulated sugar will turn out crispier than those baked with brown sugar. This is due to the molasses in the brown sugar, which typically results in a chewier cookie. Another factor is the shape of the cookie: Those that are “dropped” or mounded will bake up chewier than rolled or cut-out cookies.
Storing crisp cookies in a glass versus a plastic container will also help maintain that crisp texture. And while freshly baked cookies should be consumed within three-to-five days, you can extend their shelf life for up to three months by freezing them in an airtight container after they’ve cooled completely.
If your cookies soften anyway, you can easily “re-crisp” them in the oven. Brenda recommends baking them at 300° F for about 6 minutes to remove some of the moisture and bring back their texture.
Bar cookies, such as brownies and blondies, are best eaten within a few days — that’s when they have the best texture and flavor. To extend their freshness, avoid slicing them until right before you serve them. This minimizes the number of cut edges exposed to air. Once cut, keep them in an airtight container at room temperature, Brenda says, with layers of parchment or wax paper between them to keep them from sticking to each other (adding a slice of bread works well here, too).
Brownies and blondies also freeze well. Cut and store them as explained above, and they will stay good in the freezer for up to three months. You can then take out just what you need, as they defrost quickly.
Store-bought or packaged cookies
If you’ve grabbed a box or bag of your favorite cookies at the store, you can easily maintain their freshness longer by following all these tips. Simply store the cookies as you would if they were homemade, based on their texture. If you are not going to finish them shortly after opening, transfer them from their original package to an airtight container, or freeze them for even longer storage. (Store-bought or individually packaged cookies freeze well!)
Now go grab a glass of milk and enjoy some cookies!
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Making homemade cookies is a pastime for many, especially around the holidays. During the month of December, you may receive several batches of cookies from various loved ones in your life, and you probably make some yourself for holiday parties, cookie swaps, and gifts. The question is: what’s the key to making cookies stay fresh for longer?
David Zaquine, pastry chef and owner of the dessert bar Sweet Rehab in New York City, and recipe developer and wellness writer Beth Lipton gave us some helpful tips on how you can make your homemade cookies remain fresher for longer.
What’s the single best way to make freshly baked cookies last longer?
For soft cookies, Lipton says you must store them in a sealed air-tight container with parchment between the layers and a slice of white bread in the container. Why? The moisture from the bread will help keep the cookies soft. If you prefer crisp cookies, you can skip the bread and leave the container slightly open so air can circulate.
Lipton provides a few extra helpful tips on how you can properly store cookies so that they remain soft and scrumptious:
- Store different types of cookies in individual air-tight containers, don’t combine them into one container. Why? If combined, the different flavors of cookies and textures will begin to blend together.
- Make sure your cookies are completely cool before storing.
- If it’s going to be more than a couple of days, freeze the cookies.
RELATED: The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.
What could happen if cookies sit out on a table with no cover or lid for a few days?
“When you bake cookies, if you respect their indicated cooking time, then the cookies remain soft and good all day and can sit out on a table with no cover or lid for up to two days,” Zaquine says. “If you go over the recommended baking time, the cookies become hard very fast if they sit out with no cover or lid.”
Are there any particular flavors of cookies that tend to last longer than others?
Zaquine says that chocolate chips cookies tend to remain fresher for longer than other types of cookies, particularly those with nuts in them.
“Chocolate is soft and nuts are hard, so when you mix the chocolate with the dough, the chocolate bits physically take up some of the dough’s space in the bowl, which ultimately makes the batch softer,” says Zaquine.
In short, any cookie that’s baked with a soft main ingredient will help to keep the surrounding dough softer for longer, too. The chef even recommends placing a chocolate square on top of each chocolate chip cookie before placing it in the oven!
Now that you’ve made all of those Christmas cookies, how do you keep them from going hard and dry before delivering them to all of your friends and neighbors?
Here are a few tips for keeping large quantities of cookies fresh:
- Refrigerate or freeze uncooked dough. Uncooked dough can be kept in Ziploc bags or wrapped in plastic wrap (especially logs of dough) in the fridge. Take out dough and bake small batches of cookies. Many types of cookies actually taste better after letting the dough sit in the fridge overnight before cooking. For drop cookies, freezing dough is very helpful. Prepare cookie dough and place scoops of dough on parchment lined baking sheets. Freeze raw dough until solid, then transfer dough balls to Ziploc bags. Pull out just as many cookies as you want to bake.
- Refrigerate or freeze cooked cookies. Baked cookies will also stay fresh longer if stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Store cookies in Ziploc bags or seal-able containers and freeze or refrigerate until ready to serve. Be sure to keep different kinds of cookies in different containers. Mint and gingerbread cookies do not go well together!
- To store cookies at room temperature: You can still keep cookies fresh without freezing all of them. Use containers that are as air-tight as you can find. Place a small piece of BREAD in the container with the cookies. The bread will lose its moisture more quickly than the cookies, allowing the cookies to stay soft longer than they normally would. Replace the bread with a fresh piece as it dries out. This will not keep cookies soft indefinitely, but it will extend their shelf life to more than a week.
Just a note of warning: if you put bread in your cookie jar, every time your kids open the jar, they will ask, “How come there’s bread in the cookies?” Some may even choose to eat the bread over the cookies, which will prompt you to ask (when you go to sneak another cookie for yourself get a cookie for a starving child), “What happened to the bread I put in the cookie jar?” No one, of course, will admit to eating the mysteriously disappeared stale bread.
Tip: Keep Cookies Soft
Add a slice of bread to any kind of cookies. The cookies will pull the moisture from the bread and soften. Every year I add a slice of bread to my Christmas cookies. It works wonderfully.
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Tip: Keeping Cookies Soft
After you have cooked your cookies or brownies and they have cooled, when putting them in the storage area, like a bag or plastic container, put 1-2 pieces of “white” bread in with them. The moisture of the “white” bread will help keep the cookies or brownies soft.
Tip: Keeping Cookies Soft
I have this big jar for cookies. Anytime my kids want to eat one they can just grab the jar and pick up those cookies, but there is one problem that bothers me. Sometimes the cookies can get hard inside the jar, and my kids will not eat those cookies anymore.
Ask a Question Here are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.
Question: Soften Hard Cookies?
I would like to buy an Oreo type cookie and make it soft so that I can bite it. I am unable to wear my bottom dentures to chew hard food.
I recently heard if you put the hard cookies into a dish with a tight fitting lid and add 2 pieces of bread, the cookies will soften up. Well what I would like to know is this true, I don’t want to buy the cookies without a answer from some one. I’m sure others would like to know all so.
By Sherrylynn from Valdosta, GA
I don’t know if the bread will soften the cookies or not, I’ve never tried it. You might try leaving the package open, or leaving a couple of cookies out on the counter, or even putting them in your refrigerator unwrapped overnight & see what happens. I live in humid Oklahoma & I get upset with my kids for leaving the cookie packages open, because the cookies end up getting soft from the humidity!
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Archive: Keeping Cookies Soft
I wonder if anyone else has this problem! I can’t seem to keep homemade chocolate chip cookies soft. I put them in an airtight container to no avail a day later hard.
Is there anything in the world better than fresh cookies? We certainly don’t think so.
Soft, gooey, and delicious. need we say more?
Unfortunately, if you’ve somehow managed to refrain from eating your cookies all at once, it can be difficult to keep cookies fresh for longer than a few days. But as cookie experts, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeves.
Read on to discover how to keep your cookies fresh with these 5 handy tips.
Know your Cookies
The first thing you need to do is to get to know your cookies. Are they soft on the inside or a little rough around the edges? Do they make a satisfying crunch sound when you bite into them or are they deliciously chewy? Knowing your cookies will help you figure out how long you can actually expect your cookies to last.
The length of time depends on two things: the type of cookie and the way the cookies are stored. In general, dry cookies, like shortbread and gingersnaps, will last longer because they contain less moisture. On the other hand, chewy cookies like peanut butter and chocolate chip can become stale more quickly and easily because of their moisture. As the days go by, the surrounding air can cause them to lose moisture and as a result, they become stale and brittle – not fun.
Use the Right Container
Not all containers are created equal. To keep your cookies fresh for as long as possible, it’s important to store them using the right container. The best containers for storing cookies are airtight. This prevents air from leaking in and allows the cookies to retain their moisture. When stored properly, you can expect soft and chewy cookies to last for up to a week at room temperature (that is, if you can resist the temptation of eating them!).
Without an airtight container, they can become stale in a matter of two or three days. When storing your cookies, we highly suggest you double check that the lid is sealed tight, just to be sure!
Organize your Cookies by Type
The beauty of cookies is that there are so many different types. From Almond Joyous to Cookie Monster to Taro, there are such diverse and exciting flavors out there to keep your taste buds happy. Let’s not forget these cool flavors like Pancakes and Bacon and Birthday Cake.
When you have a huge selection of cookies before you, we recommend storing different varieties of cookies in different containers. This is especially important if you have a combination of crisp and chewy cookies.
When you don’t organize your cookies, strong flavors, like these Lemon Bar Cookies, may even start to blend with other flavors.
It’s all about the Layers
The best things come in layers really.
If you want to keep your cookies fresh, storing your cookies in layers can make all the difference. Layers will not only keep your cookies fresher for longer, but they will also prevent your cookies from sticking together. We recommend you add a piece of parchment paper between each layer of cookies. If you don’t have any parchment paper, no problem. Waxed paper works too!
Layering frosted cookies is a little harder so we recommend eating those all in one sitting (just kidding – but you will need to be extra careful when stacking them).
The Right Temperature
Some like it hot, some like cold. and cookies like it well. just right.
A great tip for keeping your cookies fresh is by storing them at the right temperature. In general, storing them in cool temperatures is best. Think of places like the back shelf of your pantry. The more cool and dry a place is, the more fresh your cookies will be.
If you somehow manage to resist temptation and not eat them first, you can expect cookies that are stored in a cool place to last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks – though this depends on the variety.
If you really want your cookies to last, you can also freeze cookies for up to 6 months. When you’re ready to eat them, simply remove them from their freezing container, spread them out on a clean sheet, and wait for them to thaw to room temperature.
Get in Touch
To enjoy your very own supply of fresh cookies, we’ve got you covered. Check out our diverse and delicious selection of flavors or subscribe to our Cookies of the Month Club to get a box of fresh cookies for delivery every month. Our flavors are seasonal, exciting, and always fresh! Not to mention, if you sign up for our Cookies of the Month club, you’ll receive new flavors every month.
You can also make your cookies from home anytime you want with our Bake Your Own Cravory Ultimate Chocolate Chip or our Bake Your Own Birthday Cookie At Home. We even offer a Decorating Cookie Kit so your cookies can be as beautiful as they are delicious!
If you have any questions or concerns, our friendly staff would be more than happy to help you out. Just give us a shout here.
You’ve spent the whole afternoon baking up a batch of cookies. Now what? Of course, you’ll enjoy a few and maybe even share some with a friend. But with plenty of extra delicious cookies on your hands, you’ll also want to be sure you have a plan for storing them and keeping them fresh.
After putting your time and effort toward baking, the last thing you want is to head to the kitchen for a soft, chewy cookie, only to find that they’ve completely dried out. Certainly, biting into rock-hard cookie doesn’t have even close to the same appeal.
Luckily, you can keep freshly baked cookies from going stale and hard with just a few simple steps. Keeping freshly baked cookies on hand to grab for when you need a snack is easier than you may think, and we’re here to share all of our best tips and tricks on how to keep cookies fresh.
Bake cookies and let them cool completely
First thing’s first, bake your cookies. Then, once you’ve pulled the cookie sheet out of the oven, be sure to give your cookies plenty of time to cool. Typically, many bakers will allow the cookies to finish baking and start cooling on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before moving them.
Once the cookies are ready, transfer them to a cooling rack to allow them to fully cool before storing them away. If you don’t let them cool completely, the heat radiating from the cookies will create condensation in your container, ultimately ruining the texture of your cookies over time.
Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature
Once the cookies have completely cooled, transfer them to an airtight container for storage. If you’re concerned that the cookies will stick together or the cookies are topped with something like frosting, add a layer of wax paper or parchment paper between the cookies. This will prevent the cookies from losing their design or getting stuck together.
Put the lid back on the container and keep your cookies fresh at room temperature for three to five days.
Store cookies for longer in the freezer
If you’d prefer to tuck your cookies away for a rainy day, they can be kept much longer in the freezer. Just be sure they’re properly stored.
You can store your cookies in the freezer in an airtight container. Add wax paper or parchment paper between the layers of cookies to prevent any cookies from sticking. Put the lid back on the container, and tuck your cookies away in the freezer. If you want an extra layer of protection, you can put your cookies in a freezer bag before putting them in an airtight container.
Once you’re ready to enjoy your cookies, pull out the container, or just pull out a couple of cookies, and let them thaw for a few minutes. This method will keep your cookies fresh for three to four months.
What’s the best container to keep cookies in?
The best container option for storing cookies really is up to you. Sometimes, the best choice may be the only option you have on hand. As long as the container is airtight, keeping any outside air or moisture from getting in, the container will be sufficient.
If you’re opting for a cookie jar on the counter, just be sure to follow the same rule of thumb. A cookie jar with a locking latch to make it airtight will be a better option for storing your cookies than one that lets air through.
The solution is more obvious than you might think.
Chocolate chip cookies, especially homemade ones, don’t last long in my house. But if by some miracle, a batch of cookies lasts two or even three days, I still want them to taste as soft and chewy as they did when I pulled them out of the oven.
There are two tricks to keeping cookies soft, and they are so simple and obvious you might be doing them already, but hear me out: don’t overbake your cookies and store them in an airtight container. That’s it! Some folks swear that placing a slice of white bread (or a flour tortilla) in the container with the cookies will keep cookies softer longer. This may be true, but I haven’t ever had the need to do it.
And that’s because I always pull the cookies out of the oven a minute or two before they are done baking. Most cookie recipes include a range of baking times, like “8 to 10 minutes”. I recommend removing the cookies from the oven at the earlier end of that range. They may look slightly underbaked when you do this, but the cookies will continue to firm up on the hot cookie sheets as they rest for a few minutes. Once they have cooled (or if they are still-warm—who can resist chocolate chip cookies at that stage?), they will have a perfectly tender texture that should last for a few days.
The key to the second trick, storing the cookies in an airtight container or ziplock bag, is to make sure the cookies have cooled to room temperature. If you seal the container when the cookies are still warm, steam will get trapped inside the container, which might soften the cookies too much. I prefer using a ziplock bag instead of a food storage container because I can press as much air out of the bag as possible, which also helps prevent stale cookies.