by Michelle Jones, Founder of CookieClubRecipes.com
If you'd like to send some home baked cookies to your friends or relatives (for any occasion), these tips will help ensure your cookies arrive as fresh and undamaged as when you packed them.
For several years I baked cookies for our entire gift list at Christmas (and even birthday presents). I did it not only out of financial necessity, but also because I love to bake cookies. And, I love to give or receive them as gifts.
My cookies always arrive fresh and safe, so surely that qualifies me as a cookie shipping expert!
Homemade Cookies are also one of my favorite gifts included in 63 Gifts for Under $10, my monthly budgeting and frugal living column. So, I thought I would pass these tips on to anyone thinking about sending cookies as a gift idea.
1. Of course, the first thing you have to do is pick out your cookie recipe and start baking!
2. Once you have decided which cookie to bake, try to time the baking and shipping as close together as possible, preferably the same day or within 24 hours.
3. Let the cookies cool completely to room temperature. If you are not ready to ship them that day, place the cookies into an airtight container until you are.
4. Next, wrap the cookies with cellophane (clear plastic wrap or any color you choose). Foil would work too, but cellophane is nicer because you can still see the cookies. You can wrap the cookies individually, but wrapping them two at a time, back to back, will keep them more secure during shipment. Besides, who eats just one cookie?
5. While wrapping the cookies in cellophane, make sure to place a layer of it between the cookies as well. This will keep them from sticking together. Just cut a piece of cellophane wrap that is larger than both cookies laying side by side. Then lay one cookie, bottom side down at the top of the wrap. Next, fold the top of the wrap towards you, covering and turning the cookie upside down; the way you would fold a letter into thirds for a legal sized envelope. Now you can place another cookie, bottom side down, on top of the first covered cookie. Continue to wrap making sure they are sealed tight.
6. After wrapping your cookies securely, make sure you have an airtight container for shipping. You can purchase inexpensive shipping boxes at discount stores or even the post office. You can recycle your own small boxes too, as long as they are in good shape. Although I do prefer using new boxes when shipping cookies, it just makes the gift seem a little more special, you can even use empty cereal or oatmeal boxes. Inside the mailing box, you can use decorated tins or plastic containers if you'd like, or you can just place the wrapped cookies right in the box if it's sturdy enough. (If the box can be easily crushed the cookies can be too.)
7. Before placing the cookies or your decorated tin in the box, fill it with packing material such as leftover shipping peanuts, bubble wrap, crushed up newspapers, or my favorite: plastic grocery bags. For goodness sake, don't buy any new packing material. Reuse and recycle what you already have.
8. Enclose a personal note or card inside the box, if this is a Christmas or birthday gift, enclosing the card will also save you an extra postage stamp. Seal the box airtight with packing tape. I use the clear tape, but any will do fine.
9. Last but not least, mark the words "FRAGILE" all over the box. With a red marker if you have one.
If you have followed these steps in packaging your cookies it doesn't matter what the post office does to your box, your cookies will still arrive fresh, safe and undamaged. Well, that is, unless they lose it. So far that has never happened to me and hopefully it will never happen to you either!