Control your holiday eating AND save some of that goodness for when you really need it later with this guide to storing and freezing holiday treats!
Hey everyone, I’m so glad to be back after the end of season 2 and the addition of our sweet baby boy to our family.
The transition has been as smooth as possible, but as usual having a baby has certainly humbled me! (and I’ve gotta be completely honest with you guys, while I’m still cooking most nights, my drive-thru runs have definitely increased. So if you’re in that same survival mode boat, I get it and I’ve been there. It won’t last forever.
Despite being in survival mode a little bit, just due to having a baby our baby is the sweetest little thing that really only cries if he’s hungry or he needs some cuddles…but pick him up and he’s happy as can be. He definitely got the memo that he was a 4th baby before he even joined our family I think.
So enough about family changes, let’s jump right back into the podcast with today’s topic: Christmas treat storage.
Let’s talk about holiday treats for a minute.
If you’re a long-time follower of the podcast then you know I’m not anti-treat or anti-sugar by any means.
However, I do think that around the holidays things tend to get a smidge outta hand.
There’s all the treats from the parties, the treats from your neighbors, and then of course the treats you have to make for your family because they are your favorite.
While i’m all for indulging, especially around the holidays, I also find that the holidays tend to be a time where emotions run high. You might be busier than usual, and less able to commit to regular self-care due to all of the busy-ness and family time. So add in lots of extra sugar and not maintaining your normal diet and exercise habits, and potentially not getting enough sleep and you’ve got a recipe for an extra cranky mom which no one wants, especially around the holidays.
But I don’t know about you, but there is no way I can throw away delicious homemade goodies (keep the toffee away from me if you want to keep it) so instead, I freeze or store for later.
Now if I wanted to keep this episode super short I’d stop here and say basically all of your Christmas treats can be frozen.
BUT if you want more detail come with me on a little journey while we talk about all of the best ways to store your favorite christmas treats so you can enjoy them after the holiday, and maybe avoid the sugar-cookie induced coma while we are at it.
Let’s talk about some details about storing and freezing holiday treats to know the best way to take care of them.
Storing and freezing holiday treats
How to freeze and store cookies
Cookies are probably the most popular Christmas treat! You can freeze fully baked cookies, or cookie dough, the choice is yours!
I tend to decide whether or not to freeze whole cookies or cookie dough based on how I want to enjoy the cookie. For example, sugar cookies are generally served chilled (or at room temperature). They need to be cool to frost so the frosting doesn’t melt while frosting them.
Because of this, I’ll freeze sugar cookies whole.
Other cookies, like chocolate chip I want to eat when it’s still piping hot and chocolate chips are melting everywhere. Reheating the cookies is somewhat challenging and may cause them to dry out, so when making these kinds of cookies I’ll freeze the dough instead of the finished cookie.
When freezing cookie dough I’ve found that the most useful way to freeze it is by first portioning out the dough, then freezing it in a flat layer before moving it to a gallon bag.
When you’re ready to enjoy a cookie, simply bake from frozen at 25 degrees less than the recipe calls for for a few minutes longer
I don’t know why frosting never seems to be the right amount. There’s always too little or too much. Some frostings are quick and easy to whip up, but others (like royal icing, for example) are a ton of work. Well, luckily royal icing can be frozen for a year or more and can even be refrigerated for up to a month, so don’t throw it away.
In fact, I like to make extra on purpose to frost valentine’s day cookies in february!
Basically any frosting does well in the freezer. Dairy is generally a no-no for the freezer, but I’ve even frozen cream cheese frosting with success, so don’t throw those leftovers away, freeze them for another day!
Making cakes of batters ahead of time
Whole cakes freeze extremely well, in fact, I essentially always freeze my cakes before eating them because it’s the easiest way to assemble and decorate cakes.
But what if you don’t want to freeze it, or if you want to do it in advance but you don’t have time to freeze and thaw it.
You can try just making the batter ahead. You can do this around 24 hours in advance. 1 tip I like to use is to add the baking soda or powder at the last minute since it will start a chemical reaction meant to help the product rise. Adding it at the last minute ensures it will still be active when it’s time to bake!
Storing breads and sweet breads for later
There’s lots of different popular breads at Christmas time.
If you’ve got a sweet bread like pumpkin or zucchini bread, just wrap it up and freeze it.
If you have yeast bread or rolls, you can freeze them as well and they will be fine.
If you are making them yourself and you want them to be even better than fine, try par-baking them. I’ve got a whole episode on parbaking, but the gist is that you bake at a low temp until they are just cooked through trying to avoid any browning. This way you can pop them back in the oven to finish them off in color and they’ll be delicious and taste fresh instead of being dry!
How to store caramel and toffee to last
Caramel and toffee can absolutely be refrigerated or frozen, however, both of these items have a very long shelf-life and will stay good if well-wrapped for up to 6 months even at room temperature so hide them away in your pantry and save them for those afternoons that you need a little pick-me-up.
Eggnog- Commercial eggnog can surprisingly can be frozen. Just leave space at the top in the container for it to expand and enjoy! Homemade eggnog can’t be frozen so if you love it, enjoy it before it goes bad because you won’t be able to save it.
Well, there you have it, the last thing I’ll talk about quickly is how to thaw and enjoy your frozen christmas treats
The easiest way to thaw is overnight in the refrigerator. Baked goods will thaw much faster than other things and are also generally more shelf-stable so you can thaw most of them at room temperature without food safety concerns.
What do you think? Did I share the mothod for storing or freezing holiday treats that are your favorites? If not shoot me an email and we’ll see if there’s a way to make it last all-year-round.
Want to know more about strategizing your meal plan and making food in advance? Check out the meal prep in minutes course!
Next week: Using a planner to improve your habits