My favorite time saver is to make and freeze Christmas cookie dough ahead of time. Most doughs will bake perfectly from the frozen state (especially slice and bake cookies), and doughs for roll out and spritz cookies thaw beautifully overnight in the refrigerator. It's also nice to bake and freeze roll out cookies, then thaw them and frost and decorate in a cookie decorating party or just with your kids.
Ice cream desserts are obvious choices for freezing ahead of time; but cakes, most cookies, some pies, and other desserts freeze well too. Cakes are best frozen unfrosted. It's so easy to remove a couple of frozen cake layers from your freezer, let them thaw, and frost them with a simple frosting. Custard and cream pies do not freeze well, but fruit pies and pie crusts freeze beautifully. And did you know you can make whipped cream, pipe it into beautiful little mounds, and freeze them for garnishing desserts?
When you freeze desserts, there are a few rules to follow.
- Make sure that when you freeze baked cookies, pies, or cakes the product is thoroughly cooled before it is put into the freezer. Otherwise water will condense on the surface and you'll have soggy cookies (or pies or cakes) when they thaw.
- If you choose to freeze pie or cookie dough, wrap it well in two layers of freezer wrap or waxed paper. The waxed paper bundles should be over-wrapped with heavy duty foil. Packages that are loosely wrapped or wrapped in material that is too thin run the risk of developing freezer burn, or dry unpalatable patches of food.
- Label, label, label! Don't rely on your memory; those frozen chunks of food all look the same when they are frozen solid. A well made label, with the name of the food, the date it was prepared and frozen, and thawing/reheating instructions is absolutely necessary.
- Make sure your freezer is at 0 degrees F or below. Don't add too much food at once, or you may raise the temperature of the freezer to unsafe levels. And, once again, be sure the food is completely cool before you put it into deep freeze.
Freeze Ahead Holiday Desserts
Whether you choose one of my recipes or make and freeze a family favorite, be sure to follow Food Safety rules. Desserts are generally intrinsically more safe than main dishes, but still, take care. And enjoy your holiday season knowing you have some wonderful goodies tucked away in your freezer!