What’s the secret to always having fresh-baked goodies on hand? It’s your freezer.
Just about anything you can bake, you can freeze. That means you don’t have to throw away leftover cookie dough after you’ve baked more than enough for the school bake sale. If you enjoy waking up to fresh banana nut bread or want to stock up on after-dinner desserts, you can set aside one morning for prep and then enjoy convenient, home-baked goodness whenever you like.
All you need is to learn how to prep, pack and thaw your sweets, and you’ll have a freezer full of fresh treats that are ready whenever your sweet tooth hits.
Prepping and packing
Some sweets should be frozen before you bake them, while others should be frozen after baking.
Cookie dough and pie crusts should be fully mixed and ready to bake before freezing. Portion out cookie dough into 1-inch balls and place them on a baking sheet to freeze before transferring them into a plastic freezer bag for storage. This will prevent the cookie dough balls from sticking together.
Pie crusts should be rolled out and placed in pie plates just as if you were about to bake them. Make several pie crusts this way and then freeze them until they’re firm. Then you can stack them all up, place them in a freezer bag and freeze them until you’re ready to bake them.
For yeast bread doughs, double the amount of yeast the recipe calls for to make up for what you’ll lose when you freeze the dough. The dough should be frozen just before baking. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and then place it into a freezer bag and freeze it. Alternatively, you can place the dough in a bread pan before wrapping.
Cakes, brownies and sweet breads should be fully baked and allowed to cool before freezing. Either wrap the whole loaf or cake up in plastic wrap and then place it in a freezer bag, or slice it and wrap the individual slices in plastic wrap before placing them all in a large freezer bag and storing them. Don’t frost cakes in advance; do that just before you serve them.
Cookie dough and pie crusts need don’t need to be thawed before you bake them. Just grab the number of cookie dough balls you want to bake from the bag and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Add a minute or two to the normal baking time.
Fill pie crusts with pie filling and bake as the recipe calls for.
Yeast breads, cakes, brownies and sweet breads need to be thawed in the fridge for a day. Keep them wrapped to maintain moistness. If you take just a slice or two of sweet bread or brownies from a larger freezer bag, place the slices in a bag to thaw them to keep them from drying out.
Once a cake thaws, it can be frosted and served.
Cookie dough and pie crusts can anywhere last from six to 12 months in the freezer.
Yeast breads should be baked within a month of freezing or else they’ll lose their ability to rise.
Most fully baked cakes and sweet breads will start to lose their freshness and flavor after about four months.