How to Freeze Desserts
Want to know a secret? I freeze pretty much every single dessert I make for the blog. Want to know how you can freeze things too? Well, you’re in the right place today.
The holidays are coming – Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve. If you’re anything like me, these are the baking holidays. I make desserts for parties, pot lucks, class treats, gifts, family…and for the blog. In other words I have an abundance of sugar coming out of my kitchen. And? I don’t want to spend Christmas Eve baking 10 things; I like to bake ahead as much as possible. So what do I do?
I freeze dessert. All of it. And today I’m going to share my secrets with you. I get lots of questions about how long things last and how to freeze them, I figured it was about time to just write a post about it. Right? Right.
In order to successfully freeze pretty much any baked good, you need some supplies. My favorites are:
- Paper towels (the kind that are select-a-size)
- Gallon size Ziploc storage bags (they’re cheaper than freezer bags and I just don’t see the point)
- Airtight containers (like tupperware or the Ziploc/Gladware ones)
With those three things, you can freeze pretty much anything.
How to Freeze Cookies and Bars:
Basic cookies and bars are the easiest things to freeze. Layer the cookies or bars in a single layer inside your gallon size bag. You’ll probably fit about 12-15 cookies or bars to a layer (depending on size). Place a paper towel on top (inside the bag) and add another layer. I find that three layers are as many as will fit, and each layer will hold less cookies, so you may need more than one bag. Seal and freeze.
To defrost: Let them set on the counter to come to room temperature. Don’t remove the paper towel, that will absorb the moisture as they thaw.
Note: you can also freeze cookie dough. Scoop balls of dough and place them on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Freeze until firm, then place the balls in a bag or airtight container in the freezer. Pull out a few as needed and bake as directed.
How to Freeze Frosted Cookies, Bars, and Cupcakes:
Yes, you can freeze things with frosting! This method works with anything that’s gooey and/or you can’t stack when room temperature for fear of crushing the decorations.
Place the items in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in your freezer. (Remember to use a pan that will fit in your freezer!) Let them freeze for about 30 minutes to one hour, then take them out of the freezer. Large airtight containers work best for cupcakes and you can stack frozen frosted cookies and bars between paper towels in gallon size bags like regular cookies/bars. Refreeze until needed.
To defrost: If your items are in a single layer in an airtight container or in one layer in a bag, just leave them on the counter to thaw. If you’ve stacked the items, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet to thaw so that the frosting doesn’t smudge when it gets to room temperature.
How to Freeze Candy and Fudge
Yes, I freeze fudge. I have a huge bag from last spring still in my freezer!
Layer the candy or fudge in a single layer inside your gallon size bag. Place a paper towel on top (inside the bag) and add another layer. Keep going until your bag is full. Note: if you’re dealing with small truffles, you might want to use a quart size bag instead.
To defrost: Let them set on the counter to come to room temperature. Don’t remove the paper towel, that will absorb the moisture as they thaw. The only issue I have with freezing chocolate dipped candy is that it is sometimes less shiny after thawing. So, if the truffles are for a gift, you may not want to freeze them. But if you just have extra after a marathon baking session, have at it. Then you can have a truffle whenever a craving hits.
How to Freeze Muffins, Quick Breads, Pancakes and Waffles
Frozen breakfast foods are the best – make a big batch on the weekend and have breakfasts – fast – for the week. I often pop a frozen slice of pumpkin bread into Jordan’s lunchbox and by lunch it’s defrosted!
Muffins: Freeze them like you would cupcakes, in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen you can throw them all in a large gallon size bag, seal, and store in the freezer. Just take a muffin out as you need one and either let it come to room temperature or microwave it for about 30 seconds.
Quick Breads: Slice the loaf of quick bread and place each slice in a sandwich size ziploc bag. Seal and freeze. Take one bag out at at a time, as needed. Either let it come to room temperature, or microwave for about 30 seconds to thaw. The only issue you’ll have is if the bread is glazed, but melted glaze from microwaving is still really good.
Pancakes and Waffles: I like to layer my pancakes and waffles between pieces of paper towel. Then stack them up and place them in a bag and freeze. That way they’re easy to separate, because the paper towel keeps them from sticking to each other. Pancakes can be microwaved and I like to reheat waffles in the toaster. (This also works for french toast!)
How to freeze Pie, Cake, and Cheesecake
YES. I even freeze my cheesecakes!!
There are two ways to do freeze a cake, cheesecake, or pie.
- Freeze them whole. Let them cool completely. Wrap them well in plastic wrap and freeze. To defrost, unwrap and let them thaw in the refrigerator. (For a frosted cake you probably want to freeze it first on a cookie sheet, then wrap it in plastic.)
- Freeze the slices. Slice your pie or cake or cheesecake. If your slices are firm (like a cheesecake or a cookie pie) place each in a ziploc sandwich bag, seal, and freeze. If your slices are messier, like a cream pie, place the slices on a cookie sheet and freeze for 30-60 minutes, then place each in a bag and re-freeze.
There are some caveats with freezing pies, cakes, and cheesecake. If your cheesecake has a topping, like chopped cookies, they may soften in the freezer, so beware. I have more success freezing firmer pies, like chess or cookie pie, than I do pudding pie, but I’ve frozen them all. It’s just a matter of how pretty they look once defrosted.
If you’re serving for a party, I suggest not freezing a pudding pie. But cheesecake? Sure, but make the topping before serving.
The problem with having that stuff in the freezer? Forgetting it’s there. But not having it on the counter all the time is priceless.
What are you making ahead of time for the holidays this year? Are you freezing it? Let me know in the comments!