Tonight, Angelo hosted a chat on Overstock.com's Facebook page, answering all manner of holiday questions. So many questions, so little time.
Julie, one of the chat attendees, posted: "I need to know how to send cookies 600 miles away arriving un-crumbled and fresh."
Well, hello there, idea for a post.
For all I've written about cookies over the years, I haven't written much about shipping them, mostly because I hand-deliver most of the cookies that I give away.
But there are some simple things you can do to get them to their destination at their cookie best. From the outside in, then.1. Ship overnight or two-day delivery
Yes, I know: Duh. But time is not a baked good's friend. Wine, yes. Baked goods, no. And since the post office or other shippers can sometimes delay a package, the more you pony up to post it, the likelier it'll get there when it should. Also, if it doesn't, you probably warrant a refund.2. Seal every edge of the box or shipping container
Just as time is not a baked good's friend, neither is air. Use a few extra inches of shipping tape and seal that baby up to the point where the recipient will curse you for the effort it'll take to open it.3. Cushion, cushion, cushion, tight, tight, tight
Have you ever seen how packages are handled? The more cushion you have in the box, and the more the cookies are surrounded by that cushion so that the contents of the box don't shift, the better your chances that your cookies will arrive intact. Some folks use air-popped popcorn for packing material. That's a nice idea, as it can be tossed outside for critters at the destination. I keep a stash of packing peanuts from past shipments and use those. Most these days are biodegradable. (Really. They dissolve in water.) Fill the box so that it looks a bit too full. You should have to press down slightly to tape it shut. If you shake it and feel the contents shift, add more filler. It should ship as a solid mass.4. Wrap, stash, and suck
Wrap cookies in waxed paper in pairs, back to back, so that they support each other. Stash them in a zip-top bag in rows. Stand them up along the bottom of the bag, like a roll of pennies. Then stash another row on top of that. Then another. Most gallon-size zip-top bags can accommodate three rows of cookies. Nestle them in next to each other snugly. Don't cram them if they won't fit, but don't leave excess space for them to move around. Then, lay the bag flat on the counter, seal the zip top almost all the way shut, and stick a drinking straw into the bag part of the way. Suck out as much air as you can, and while you're sucking, pull the straw out (yes, with your mouth) while you finish sealing the bag.5. Bake cookies that will travel well
Not all cookies are made for travel. Delicate cookies that like to crumble are best enjoyed locally. Heartier cookies – oatmeal, sugar, any cookie with a bit of body – will travel well, assuming the steps above.
Don't be daunted. Bake and ship. Nothing heightens a holiday like tastes from our childhood homes or little bits of decadence.
And as corny as it sounds, cookies baked with love taste infinitely better than anything anyone can buy.