Freezing Cookie Dough

I knew I would be pressed for time this year when it came to baking cookies for Christmas, so, I decided to do something I’ve never done before and was always skeptical of doing… freezing cookie dough. I normally have a good day or two to bake, but, the way things are falling this year I am only going to have one good full day to bake all of my cookies and I just knew that it wouldn’t be enough time due to the fact that I have a few other things to take care of that day as well. So, currently there are about 6 or 7 different batches of drop cookies in my freezer along with the dough for these Checkerboard Cookies . And, there is also a batch of Gingerbread People ready to be popped in the oven. I also went out and purchased some extra-large baking sheets. I am sure you have seen them, the Wilton Mega-Sized Baking Sheet. As you can tell, I am serious about baking these cookies in record time.

So, let’s talk about freezing cookie dough. Were or are some of you skeptical like me about it? Or, is it something you have been doing for years and are shocked to read my apprehension about it? The best cookies to freeze are drop cookies and slice and bake cookies. You can also freeze the dough for roll out cookies (sugar cookies, gingerbread people, etc.), but, I would suggest rolling out the dough and cutting it into your desired shapes first and then freezing it. That’s exactly what I did with the Gingerbread ones. Using a freezer-safe container, I lined it with two pieces of plastic wrap lengthwise and widthwise leaving a few inches of overhang. I layered the cookies in the containers making sure they were flat and placed a piece of parchment paper between each layer and on the top layer. Once filled, I wrapped the plastic wrap over the top layer making sure to press out any air. Topped the container with the cover and placed it in the freezer. You could freeze the entire disk of dough as well, but, I personally think that the time spent waiting for it to defrost would be better spent just making the dough to use immediately. My plan for these is to let them thaw a little and then press mini M&M’s into them before baking and then ultimately decorating them with royal icing.

 

Back to the drop cookies and slice and bake variety…. For the drop cookies I simply made the dough, rolled the dough into balls (scooping it with a cookie scoop) and then placed it on a baking sheet. Since the dough was going in the freezer and not in the oven I was able to place the dough really close together on the baking sheet. I just made sure none of them were touching which could ultimately lead to them freezing together. I then placed the sheet in the freezer for a few hours until the dough was thoroughly frozen. Once frozen, I transferred the dough to a freezer-safe plastic zip bag. I labeled the outside of the bag with the type of cookie it was. Since I wasn’t planning on leaving it in the freezer too long I opted not to include the date, oven temperature and baking time on the bag as well. The suggested length of time for leaving dough in the freezer is 3 months. I actually baked a batch of one of the cookies this weekend and I am happy to say it was a success. To bake them, I placed the dough on a parchment lined baking sheet 1 to 2 inches apart and increase the suggested baking time by 1 to 2 minutes to account for the dough being frozen. The cookies baked perfectly and tasted like I had just made the dough that morning. That’s really what my fear was (and still is to a certain extent), that the cookies will somehow have a weird flavor from the dough being frozen.

 

For the slice and bake cookies, you can follow your directions and form the dough into a log, wrap it in a few layers of plastic wrap, place it in a freezer-safe bag that has been labeled and then freeze it. It’s not necessary to refrigerate the dough prior to freezing as most slice and bake cookies require prior to slicing. To bake these cookies, let the dough sit at room temperature unwrapped for 10 to 15 minutes. The dough should feel cold to the touch, but soft enough that you will be able to slice it. Slice and bake per the directions, once again adding an additional minute or two to the time.

Since my test batch was a success I am little less unnerved by the process. Fingers crossed I will still be singing high praises come Sunday when I bake quite a few more batches.

S’Mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

Not that long ago I finally joined Pinterest and while I am no nowhere near being an expert on it, I am getting the gist of it. Maybe with the holiday season just around the corner I’ll utilize it a bit more. Luckily I have friends who are on it who find cool things to share with me and politely hint at me to try, like S’mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies . I’ve actually never had a s’more; mainly because I am not particularly fond of marshmallows. I recall eating them as a child but chances are I ate one too many of them and got my fill. I figured since these marshmallows would melt into the cookie while baking I wouldn’t be bothered by them. And boy was I right!

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I began by making the chocolate chip cookie dough.

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I then gathered my three ingredients to make s’mores – graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows.

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And a assembled a s’more. I should note that I opted to use mini-marshmallows as opposed to the larger ones which probably explains the lack of marshmallow gooeyness in my cookie. I’m not complaining though!

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This is where the messy part began and I’ll spare you those pictures – mainly because I didn’t take any since my hands were covered with cookie dough. Using an ice cream scoop I scooped the dough into the palm of my hand and flattened it. I then placed the s’more on the flattened cookie dough and then placed another ice cream sized scoop of cookie dough on top of the s’more and smoothed the dough to form a decent sized mound. One more thing about those pesky marshmallows, if I had used the larger sized ones it probably would have been easier to shape the cookies since the smaller ones allowed the graham cracker and chocolate to move around a lot while forming the cookie.

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I baked the cookies (4 at a time) in a 350 F preheated oven for 15 minutes – they were just beginning to brown and the tops were cracking a bit. I let them cook on the pan for 10 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Overall these cookies are amazing! The cookie itself was delicious and I will probably use the recipe the next time I make basic chocolate chip cookies.

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But the best part is when you split the cookie in half and you have all that chocolate in the middle… YUM!!!

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S’Mores Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies 

Makes 12 Large Cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks softened butter

1 Cup granulated sugar

3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar

2 eggs

1 Tablespoon vanilla

3 1/2 Cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

24 graham cracker quarters or 12 full sheets separated at perforations

3 Hershey Bars, broken into rows of 3 bars

12 large marshmallows cut in half lengthwise**

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with parchment or a silpat liner.

2.  In a stand or electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla, continue to beat until well combined.

3.  Place flour, salt and baking soda into a bowl; mix to combine then add slowly to wet ingredients along with the chocolate chips.

4.  Layer a graham cracker quarter with 3 Hershey chocolate squares and 2 marshmallow halves.  Close with another graham cracker.  Top s’more with a large scoop of cookie dough.  Place in hands and place another large scoop on bottom then front and back sides as needed.  Form dough around s’mores.  Will get messy, but stick with it, it does not have to be perfect.  S’mores will move around but it’s no big deal.  Place large cookies onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-17 minutes or until edges are golden and centers are cooked through.  Let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack or serving plate.