Every year, my Aunt Abby sends us a package of her homemade biscotti in a Christmas cookie tin. And every year, my fiancè and I swear to savor each piece as long as possible. And every year, it's gone within 24 hours. Outside of our slightly troublesome inability to pace ourselves with baked goods, this is one of my favorite Christmas traditions. There's no better surprise than opening up a box of cookies made by the hands of someone you love. It's a delicious gesture I'd like to return with my own brand of winter treat, but there's just one problem: how the heck do you mail off a cookie tin without everything getting crushed into a crumbly mess?
While packing a tin full of cookies and shipping it off sounds simple enough, anyone who has done it knows how much can go wrong. Cookies can break, crumbs can accumulate, and what was once a doughy delight can arrive as a sad, unappetizing pile.
To eliminate any potential destruction in my future gift-giving, I consulted with three baking bloggers on their tried and true methods for mail-proofing Christmas cookie tins: Laura Kasavan of Tutti Dolci, Kate Shungu of Gift of Hospitality, and Lauren Allen of Tastes Better From Scratch.
Here's what they had to say about keeping your cookies intact (and delicious) while in transit.
Choose a Sturdy Cookie
Successfully mailing baked goods starts with your choice of recipe. While we all love a good spritz, Shungu advises saving the daintier cookies for in-person snacking.
"Pick a sturdy cookie or bar cookie," she says. "A chocolate chip cookie bar, for example, holds up well as long as it is packed tightly."
She also says to choose lightweight packaging to cut down on shipping costs and to remember that cookies aren't the only mailable treats. "Think outside of the box and mail fudge or Christmas candy instead. Those items are typically more dense than cookies and less likely to turn into crumbs in the mail."
Pack Them Tightly
Even the sturdiest cookies are at risk of breaking if they have too much wiggle room to bounce around during transit. That's why all three bloggers agree on the importance of tightly packed cookies.
When packing your tin, Kasavan recommends arranging them from heaviest to lightest. This way, the heavier cookies won't crush the lighter ones. She also suggests using additional supplies to take up any extra space in the tin.
"Use packing peanuts or bubble wrap to cushion and protect the cookies and fill up any gaps in the box," she says. "I like to wrap up holiday cookies in festive cello bags tied with kitchen twine or ribbon and then place the bags in bubble wrap for extra protection. You can also package cookies in small cookie tins to protect them in the mail and ensure that they stay fresh."
And, of course, make sure the cookies are completely cool before you start packing them. Otherwise, you'll end up with a mushy mess.
Mind Shipping Deadlines
And finally, when you ship your cookies has a big impact on how good they'll taste upon arrival. Allen urges holiday bakers to be mindful of deadline dates.
"Ship baked goods early in the week to prevent weekend or holiday delays," she says. "Cookies tend to show best quality within 3-5 days of baking. So time the mailing to make sure they reach recipients before going stale."
But that doesn't mean you have to rush from the kitchen to the post office as soon as your cookies come out of the oven. Allen says that different cookies require different amounts of time to "rest" before being shipped.
"For softer cookies like snickerdoodles or gingerbread, hold off on mailing until fully cooled and set," she recommends. "This helps them retain shape. Conversely, cookies that stay crispy, like biscotti and shortbread, can be packed sooner after baking."
Mail-Proof Cookies Recipes
For cookies that'll arrive at their destination just as tasty and intact as when they left your kitchen, try these blogger-recommended recipes:
- Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies by Tastes Better From Scratch: This simple yet decadent recipe uses browned butter for an elevated, nutty flavor and chunks of high-quality chocolate for extra richness.
- Cowboy Cookies by Tastes Better From Scratch: Filled with oats, chocolate chips, and cornflakes, these hearty cookies are a great option for mailing.
- Classic Ginger Cookies from Gift of Hospitality: These spiced cookies are packed with flavor and a chewy center that your loved ones will appreciate.
- Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Fudge from Gift of Hospitality: Skip the cookie dough and opt for this deliciously creamy fudge recipe that will taste just as good when it arrives as it does fresh out of the fridge.
- Homemade Gingerbread Biscotti by Tutti Dolci: This twist on traditional biscotti is filled with warm ginger and molasses flavors that pair perfectly with a warm latte on a cold morning.
- Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies by Tutti Dolci: Add a festive touch to your cookie tins with these vibrant and tasty red velvet cookies that Santa himself would approve of.
Best Christmas Cookie Tins
Armed with a delicious cookie recipe in hand that you have to try your hardest not to devour before packing and some helpful advice from the pros, it's time to start shopping for a cute cookie tin. Here are a few festive options that not only look great but also help keep your cookies safe during shipping:
- Joyousa Christmas Cookie Boxes: This set of 12 cardboard boxes are super lightweight and great for shipping. Just put them inside a sturdier cardboard box with packing material so the box doesn't slide around.
- DOITOOL Mini Cookie Tins: These cute little tins are perfect for gifting a small batch of cookies to coworkers, friends, or neighbors.
- LOKIPA Christmas Goody Gift Boxes: Another lightweight tin alternative, this adorable set of 24 boxes features festive holiday designs and secure lids to keep your cookies fresh.
Whether you choose to ship your cookies or hand-deliver them, putting a little extra effort into packaging will make your treats all the more special.
Editor's Note: Products featured on Wide Open Country are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.
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