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Freezing Cookie Dough

Christmas means lots of things to lots of people. We have several family traditions and one of them involves baking gobs of cookies. The lineup varies from year to year but a few staples remain: Oatmeal Scotchies, Sugar Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies. (We don’t eat them all; many are given as gifts. But… we eat plenty.) In November of this year I had a brilliant idea: Wouldn’t it be cool if I whipped up some cookie dough during this I’m-not-crazy-busy-with-holiday-things-to-do time, stick it in the freezer and then (viola!) pull it out just in time to make hassle-free cookies with Christmas carols blaring in the background?

It was a brilliant idea!

I didn’t do it.

But I haven’t given up on the idea. And since pretty much any time of the year is a good time for freshly baked cookies, I’ve decided to make double batches during Christmas baking and save some for the rest of the winter. (You know, because I need extra hurdles to my diet-related New Year’s resolutions…)

I’ve personally never frozen cookie dough before. Just in case you haven’t either, here are tips I found on how to freeze both drop (chunky) cookies, such as chocolate chip, and for cut out cookies, like gingerbread and sugar cookies. I’ve also included links to my favorite recipes. Enjoy!

Freezing Cut-Out Cookie Dough

Recipe: Christmas Sugar Cookies

Recipe: Easy Gingerbread Cookies

1. Mix dough per recipe.

2. On a lightly floured surface, divide the dough into three roughly-equal sized sections. (Note: Refrigerating the dough for 15-20 minutes will make it easier to work with.)

how to freeze cookie dough

3. On the floured surface, shape each section of dough into a disc about one inch thick.

how to freeze cookie dough

4. Place the disc on top of a sheet of wax or parchment paper. Fold the paper around the disc. (Optional: Use a piece of tape to secure the paper.)

how to freeze cookie dough

how to freeze cookie dough

how to freeze cookie dough

how to freeze cookie dough

5. Place each disc into a freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing. Label the bag with the contents, date, proper oven temperature and number of minutes to bake.

how to freeze cookie dough

how to freeze cookie dough

6. Dough can be stored up to three months.

7. To bake with frozen dough, remove the disc from the freezer and allow it to warm at room temperature for 10 minutes (or until pliable). Roll the dough out per recipe directions and cut cookies.

Want even faster cookies the next time you have a craving? Try this:

  1. Create cookie dough per recipe.
  2. Roll dough out to desired thickness and cut cookies.
  3. Transfer cookies to a room-temperate cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper.
  4. Place cookie sheet into freezer until… wait for it… frozen. (Could take 1 to 6 hours depending on your freezer’s temperature and the thickness of your cookies.)
  5. Once cookies are frozen, transfer them (quickly, to avoid a thawed, sticky situation) to a pre-labeled freezer bag and return to the freezer. Label information should include the contents, the date, proper oven temperature and number of minutes to bake.
  6. To bake the frozen cookies add an extra minute or two to the recommended baking time.

Freezing Drop (Chunky) Cookie Dough

Recipe: Oatmeal Scotchies

Recipe: Minimally Processed Chocolate Chip Cookies


how to freeze cookie dough
  1. Create dough per recipe.
  2. Place portioned scoops of dough onto a lined (wax or parchment paper) cookie sheet as you normally would. Since the cookies will not be immediately baked (and thus won’t spread out) you can place them close together.
  3. Place the cookie sheet full of portioned dough into the freezer until frozen solid. (This process will take at least six hours; you could also freeze them overnight.)
  4. Label a freezer bag with the contents, date, proper oven temperature and number of minutes to bake.
  5. Place completely-frozen cookie “balls” into freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible before closing the bag. Cookies can be frozen for up to three months.
  6. To bake with frozen dough, add an extra minute or two to the recommended baking time.

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally. 

 
 

Minimally Process Cookies

cookies on plate

Earlier this month I shared this post about how to make natural, homemade vanilla extract. I had no idea it would be such a hit! After posting it, one reader emailed me with the following question:

“I have a question for you in regard to a comment you made about getting rid of all your artificial stuff. I was wondering the cookie recipe you used and if you would share it? My desire is to get rid of the artificial and harmful and make as much as possible from scratch. Thanks for the help.”

First of all, I was pretty excited to get this email because it was my first reader-I’ve-never-met-responding-to-a-blog-post email I’ve ever received. Second, I’m afraid I had to respond and let this dear lady know that the cookies I referenced in my vanilla post were… in fact… deliciously filled with processed food. I did get rid of all of my artificial “baking stuff” but the way I got rid of my white chocolate chips was by making (delicious) cookies with them. The cookies I made that day tasted unbelievably amazing! Besides highly processed white candy chips, they also contained processed white flour and processed sugar (both white and brown sugar). Here’s the original recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

(These are NOT minimally processed – keep reading for the minimally processed recipe)

2 ¼ Cups Flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup butter

¾ cup sugar

¾ cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 teaspoon water

2 eggs

12 ounces chocolate chips

 Instructions

  1. Combine sugars and margarine with handmixer
  2. Add vanilla and water then beat until creamy
  3. Beat in eggs
  4. Add flour mixture (all dry ingredients)
  5. Stir in chocolate chips
  6. Bake at 375* for 10-12 minutes

Make Them Healthier

Despite the fact that the original recipe tastes amazing, this reader’s question sparked a desire in me to develop a less-processed recipe. To make the cookies healthier, I thought I would:

  • Substitute natural/organic whole wheat flour for white, processed flour
  • Use organic butter (I did this originally)
  • Use farm-fresh eggs (I did this originally)
  • Use natural/organic, minimally processed chocolate chips
  • Find a substitute sweetener to replaced the processed sugar

Possible contenders for sugar substitutes included:

  • Stevia
  • Honey
  • Pure maple sugar
  • Pure maple syrup

I decided not to use stevia because I frankly don’t care for the aftertaste it leaves. I don’t have any maple sugar and it’s a wee bit expensive, so I skipped on that one too. Because I have a plethora of both honey and pure (made by my father-in-law) maple syrup at home, I decided to use these as substitutes for the white and brown sugars, respectively. But then riiiight before I mixed the cookie dough I remembered that I’m also not a huge fan of the aftertaste honey sometimes leaves when baked so I decided to go all in with the maple syrup.

When I was planning to use honey I did some research on baking with honey and found the following common tips:

  • Substitute 2/3 cup of honey for each cup of sugar in the recipe
  • Reduce the amount of liquid (i.e. milk) by ¼ cup for each cup of honey used
  • Add ½ teaspoon baking soda to the recipe for every cup of honey used
  • Bake at about 25 degrees lower than called for to prevent over-browning

Maple syrup is obviously different than honey, but I decided to follow these guidelines all the same. They seem to have paid off, although you may be able to get away with just 1 teaspoon of baking soda. (Git it a try and let me know what you think.) With all that in mind, I put together the following recipe. Is it good? Yes!! Is it as delicious as the first recipe? Not so much. But if you’d like something sweet and are eager to eat minimally processed foods, they will be very satisfying. The sweetness of the cookies is very subtle while still readily satisfying that sweet-tooth desire for something sugary.

I used Semi-sweet Chocolate Mega Chunks from Enjoy Life Foods and I purchased them at Sawall Health Foods for $5.19 (10 ounces). They are dairy, nut and soy free, are certified gluten free and are also vegan. The mega chunks of chocolate contain no artificial colors, preservatives or additives. (And they’re delicious!)

Minimally Processed Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 ¼ organic whole wheat flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup organic butter, slightly softened

1 ¼ cups real maple syrup

1 teaspoon homemade vanilla extract

2 natural, homegrown eggs

10 oz natural or organic chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Use a hand mixer to cream the butter
  2. Mix maple syrup, vanilla and eggs together on low speed
  3. Add liquids to butter and mix for about 1 minute on medium speed (be careful!) or until well blended
  4. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt
  5. Add dry ingredients to liquid and mix (with hand mixer) until smooth
  6. Stir in chocolate chips
  7. Spoon cookies onto un-greased baking sheet and bake at 350* for 10-13 minutes

Did you enjoy this article? Visit www.arcadia-farms.net for more info on eating healthy, saving money and buying locally. 

 
 
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