Cookies: Bake a Batch, Freeze the Rest
I came home a month or so ago after a night out with my girlfriends to an intoxicating smell coming from my kitchen. My favorite vintage tin was filled to the brim with chocolate chip cookies more gorgeous than I ever remember making, with a taste to match. Mr Mom’s Kitchen soon appeared, proud as a peacock, to let me know he and the girls had been up to some baking. The cookies tasted so good (aside from the excellent recipe from Smitten Kitchen) because upon discovering we were out of both unsalted butter and chocolate chips, my crew used the salty Irish butter I hide in the back of the fridge and a chopped up bar of fine bittersweet chocolate I save for special occasions. Aren’t they clever.There was nary a nut or sprout or whole grain in sight, a sign for sure that I had no hand in the matter. Even more telling, though, was that they cooked the entire batch in one fell swoop, rather than doing as I do, which is to bake a small batch and freeze the rest. I’m not complaining, I enjoyed the treat as much as anyone. But one of the upsides of cookies, especially decadent ones, is that the dough happily lends itself to freezing. Having a big batch of cookies around means eating more than you might want. By baking enough to tickle your sweet tooth, and freezing the rest for a rainy day, you get the best of both worlds.
There’s really no trick to the matter. I usually go the speedy route and simply pat the dough into a disc so it defrosts quickly, wrap it in parchment or plastic, and freeze. You can take things a step further by portioning out dough into balls, lay them on a baking sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, put dough balls into a sealable bag and put back into the freezer. If it’s a smooth dough, say ginger or sugar cookie, form it into a log that can be easily sliced once defrosted. To bake, pull the dough out about 30 minutes before you plan to use it, which is just enough time to get your oven good and hot.
Just today, I defrosted a batch of dough that the kids made last week and baked half a dozen cookies in the toaster oven. The toaster is ideal for small batch baking because it heats up quickly and uses less energy than a full-size oven. I’ll serve these beauties along with glasses of milk for an afternoon snack. It’s just enough cookies to feel like a treat, but not so many that I’ll be staring a tin full of temptation tomorrow when I’m supposed to be focusing on work, not chocolate. Plus, it makes the house smell nearly as intoxicating as cookies made with Irish butter and fancy chocolate.