DH has gone AWOL and won't let me get any of those packages that are quick easy and convenient for making lunches of cookies, brownies, etc... He says I can make them all cheaper.
So anyway I bake cookies for the kids lunches and brownies and here we are the next week and although I bagged them up while they were still cooling but cool enough to pick up they're little bricks. What can I do??? Is there a way to keep them fresh? There's only two cookies or a brownie to a baggie and then all the brownie bags are in one large zip lock and the cookies in their's etc... and I'm worried my mini muffins are going to mold before they eat them all. I don't want to be baking every week but I don't know what else to do. Anyone have any suggestions?
PS - Note also one of the brands I got Enterman's for their brownies are $4.99 or so a package of 5 pouches, yes they are expensive but I get them on sale for buy one get one free or something like that. Our daughter has a severe peanut and tree nut allergy and that's the only brownie one there is that's safe. But he still complains on the Oreo pouches and others like that.
Well, you can always freeze the stuff and then it won't mold or go stale. A great trick for cookies and the like tho is to pack them up with a slice of bread. By morning, the bread will be stale and the cookies soft!
If you throw the little baggies in a ziploc freezer bag and then in the freezer, you take a baggy out in the morning and it will be soft and chewy by lunchtime...plus they help keep the rest of the lunch cold!
Honestly, it sounds like you are baking them too long. I will not eat a cookie that crunches (ok.... Pepperidge Farm Milanos ... on PMS days!....with lots of milk.... but that's the ONLY exception! ) My cookies are known for always being soft.
I don't bake them according to baking times in the recipes. I bake them just this side of done. In my usual and scientific manner, I touch the side of the cookie with my finger. If it's JUST started to turn 'hard', then it's done. If it makes a dent, it's not ready yet. If the bottoms or sides start to turn brown, then I've baked them too long.
I pull them out of the oven and let them sit a few minutes on the cookie sheet. They will continue to bake for a few seconds from the heat of the sheet. Just a minute or two ..... long enough to get the next cookie sheet in the oven. I slide the parchment paper from cookie sheet to cooling rack. While the center of them may look "not done" when pulled from the oven, as they cool, they will set up and be perfect.
I store mine in zip lock bags and they stay soft for ..... well, I can only say 3-4 days tops because that the max I keep them before they go into the trash or in the "overbakes - clearance" status, and these get sent into work with hubby.
I agree with the idea of freezing the cookies. Cookies are one thing that is alright frozen. Make sure they're cool before you freeze them though.
If it's just the mixing that's taking you time, you might also consider making up a big batch and then freezing the cookie dough as individual cookies. I do this all the time in the summer for the farmers markets. I wouldn't be able to do much variety in cookies if I didn't do it this way. I scoop out each cookie individually and then flatten them a little (because they won't spread as much after being frozen), then put them in a freezer bag (flat, don't stack or they'll stick together). You can bake up as many at a time as you want/need. Just make sure you turn down your oven a few degrees so the centers will bake.
I ALWAYS throw a slice of bread (usually the heal nobody eats around here anyway) in the ziploc bag/tupperwear container with my cookies-they just don't taste quite right if I don't anymore. It seems to bring out the flavor of the butter...mmm... I haven't made cookies in a while, I guess we know what I'll be doing this weekend! Also, after the first night with the bread, sometimes I get wild and crazy by replacing the old slice with a fresh one-the cookies sometimes fall apart they're so soft... but you know what they say: Broken cookies don't have calories! They must fall out when the cookie breaks!
I agree with LaSombra about freezing your cookie dough. I make up large quantities of cookie dough in a freeze in dough balls all of the time. Then, I only bake what I need when I need them. You can even bake a few in a toaster oven. As for softness, you can also try a couple of tricks for softer cookies. The first would be to change the sugar ratio up a bit. If you want softer cookies, use more brown sugar, for example 1 cup of brown sugar to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar as opposed to equal amounts in chocolate chip cookies. You can also acheive a softer cookie by melting your butter before incorporating it into the sugar. HTH
here is another vote for freezing.