There's something incredibly satisfying about getting food delivered to your home after a stressful day at work or when celebrating a lazy Sunday. The restaurant market share of online food delivery has only grown with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an estimated increase in market share from 9 to 21 percent by 2025.
And while you might not be delivering full, hot meals to your friends and family daily, the pandemic has made it hard to share our love for food and baking with others. So today, we're taking a look at some top tips to mail cookies and other baked goods. We all need a bit of comfort and love these days. Sending a loved one a batch of your favorite cookies is sure to send the message this holiday season.
The Best Baked Goods to Send via Mail
Almost every cookie can be shipped successfully with enough planning. But there's no denying that some cookie types are sturdier than others. Here are a few types of cookies that are great options for packaging and shipping.
- Dense, Chewy Cookies
Dense baked goods are sturdier than their flaky counterparts and just as delicious. Sugar cookies, chocolate chip cookies, and oatmeal cookies come to mind as delicious good choices for sturdy cookies. These will dry out if not eaten quickly. So it's best to let your loved one know that they should consume these within a week if possible. And be sure to use air-tight containers or cookie tins to keep the moisture in and the air out.
- Cupcakes and Dense Cake
Cupcakes (preferably without frosting) and dense cakes like pound cakes or other loaf cakes are also ideal for shipment. Either inside their original baking tray or packed closely together. Cupcake boxes with inserts can also offer additional security to your goods.
- Yeast Breads and Cheesecakes Are a No-Go
In most cases, it isn't worth trying to send more easily spoiled or delicate baked goods in the mail. Yeast breads spoil more quickly than denser loaves like pumpkin bread. Cheesecakes, and any baked good with large quantities of milk or cheese, can spoil within 8 hours outside of a fridge. So unless you're willing to invest in more robust packing options, it's best to stick to other baked goods and non-perishable items for mailing.
Packing Baked Goods for the Mail
When packing your baked goods for transit, keep in mind that travel is, well, rough. Pack cookies tightly side by side in a sealed container, then place that container in a larger box for shipping. If there's a significant size difference between your containers, try to cushion your package inside its shipping box. Use cushioning or padding or any other packing materials you might have.
If you're a perpetual baker like us, you might want to grab a roll of "perishable" and/or "fragile" shipping stickers for any baked goods you intend to mail. While these may mean the same thing to a delivery person, the "perishable" sticker is especially helpful for your recipient. It lets them know their sweet treats have arrived, and it's a good idea to open the box right away.
I love to hoard packages during the gift-giving season. But a perishable sticker is an immediate call out to open something right away. Hopefully that will save anyone from sadly perished cookies.
Packing Cookies vs. Cakes and Loaves
No matter the baked goods you pack, it's essential to eliminate any space that can cause movement. Movement will just cause breakage in transit. However, cookies, cakes, and loaves should also be packaged differently right after cooling down.
Cookies and brownies are best packed in stacks with little to no room in between them. Breads and cakes can instead be left in disposable aluminum pans. I usually then put the aluminum baking pan into Ziploc bags. Baking a loaf inside a disposable pan can keep you from worrying about shipping an expensive pan. It will also give your baked good more structure and integrity in transit.
Freezing Baked Goods for Shipment
Even if your baked goods aren't naturally stiff or dense, there's another way to protect them from the inside out. Consider freezing your baked goods before shipping. This will keep them fresh and secure before handing them off to the post office.
Depending on the shape of your treat, you can wrap your goods in plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag before freezing. It might seem a bit abnormal, but there's no need to pack the goods with an ice pack: let them defrost as they travel to your loved one.
When it comes to homemade cookies, freezing them ahead of time can give you more creative control over your cookie presentation. Place cookies as you would on a plate or tray. Then freeze them to the plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap.
In transit, your cookies will slowly defrost but remain in place. This will allow your cookies to be just about table-ready once they arrive, without having too much moisture being released to cause leakage.
Baked Goods Shipping Options
If you're based in the United States, you'll most likely have to choose between USPS, UPS, and FedEx when shipping your baked goods. Each shipping service has pros and cons, with USPS typically beating out its competition for its affordability for smaller packages. In addition, its priority mail services have historically been a safe bet. However, now with the upcoming changes by the postal service for shipping times, this year is going to be an actual test for your cookie care package. This makes me a wee bit nervous, and I may seek out one of the other vendors this season until I am comfortable with USPS shipping changes.
However, the slightly more expensive UPS has guaranteed express shipping and is relatively affordable for bigger shipments. FedEx is also great for its offer of Saturday deliveries, as well as reliable tracking.
If you're aiming to send smaller treats to many of your friends and family members, USPS will be your best bet without breaking the bank. But if you're looking to recreate a large family gathering's amount of baked goods, it might be worth investing in a pricier but more reliable service.
When using any of these carriers, you must use a sturdy cardboard box, packing tape, and I'd recommend shipping it to arrive in the shortest amount of business days your budget will allow.
Mailing Cookies and Other Baked Goods
Mailing cookies and other baked goods can be a scary challenge. But like most things when it comes to baking, practice and the right tools can truly make a difference to ensure your edible gifts arrive edible. So first, consider the type of baked goods you want to transport, and start with sturdier options if you haven't shipped things like this before.
Are you ready to perfect your cookie baking techniques to gift your friends a delicious treat? Take a look at my article on the Ten Best Cookie Baking Tools that can make your cookie baking easier, more efficient, and enjoyable, too.
If you are looking for more holiday cookie ideas to make for shipping we have you covered. Take a look at our 12 Days of Christmas Cookie Series.
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