Although nowhere near being exhaustive, here are 7 popular cookies and their shelf life.
Cookies can be described as smaller, harder versions of cakes. In fact, the word ‘cookie’ stems from the Dutch ‘koekje’, which depicts small cakes.
Cookies evolved from experiments done on cakes, whereby smaller items were baked to test optimal oven temperatures. Cookie recipes are recorded in numerous Renaissance cook books.
Cookies, wafers and biscuits were popular among soldiers and sailors. They had a longer shelf life, compared to cakes.
Basic cookie dough recipe consists of flour, butter, sugar, eggs and raising agents. Nonetheless, there is no one-size-fits-all, since there are thousands of cookie dough recipes.
1. Chocolate chip cookies
These classic cookies were originally created by a certain Ruth Wakefield, who operated a popular inn in Massachusetts. The recipes was featured in her cookbooks.
With time, she permitted Nestle, the popular Food and Drink Company, to use that recipe for mass production of chocolate chip cookies. Initially, these cookies were meant to be served alongside ice cream.
A basic chocolate chip cookie recipe uses the following ingredients: all-purpose flour, brown sugar, unsalted butter, salt, baking powder, chocolate chips, eggs and vanilla extract.
As usual, there are countless of variations, with others adding different flavors, the use of gluten-free flour, addition of nuts and seeds. These cookies pair well with a glass of milk or ice cream.
How long do homemade chocolate chip cookies last? (At room temperature or freezer)
Freshly made, chocolate chip cookies keep well for up to 3 weeks in the pantry. This is if you have stored them in airtight containers. On the other hand, frozen ones last up to 5 months.
2. Peanut butter cookies
Synonymous for their creamy, smooth, buttery flavor, peanut butter cookies have a cult following among cookie lovers.
In fact, in the U.S.A., they have a whole day set aside to celebrate them -12th June of every year.
Apart from that, they are associated with George Washington Carver, the famous American scientist and inventor who developed numerous peanut by-products.
In addition, peanut butter cookies are simple to prepare, with only a handful of ingredients needed. In fact, some recipes have as little as 4 ingredients – peanut butter, sugar, self-rising flour and butter. Others have additional items like eggs, spices as well as extracts.
How long do homemade peanut butter cookies last?
Due to their super soft texture, leave at room temperature and consume within 3 days at most. For longer storage, freeze up to 5 months.
3. Butter cookies
It would be appropriate to term butter cookies as the base of most cookie recipes. This is because they are only made from butter, flour and sugar. As such, you can use this dough to derive other cookie recipes.
Butter cookies are originally from Denmark, where they were being made as early as the 12th century. Here, they are known as Danish biscuits or Brysslkex.
True butter cookies are crunchy, sweet and crispy. With additional ingredients like eggs, leavening and milk, the cookies can end up with a smooth, soft texture.
How long do freshly made butter cookies last?
At room temperature, butter cookies keep well for 1 week. In case of leftovers, freeze up to 5 months.
4. Shortbread cookies
You may be fond of munching on shortbread cookies, but have you ever asked yourself where they originated from?
Well, these dense, rustic biscuits/cookies have a Scottish background. They go as far as the medieval period, in which biscuit bread was a popular treat.
This type of biscuit used to be baked twice, with the use of yeast, coated with sugar and spices, before being left to harden. With time, butter substituted yeast and shortbread came into being.
They have the name ‘short’ which depicts crumbly texture of baked products. This is achieved by the high amount of butter. A basic shortbread recipe includes: powdered sugar, butter, all-purpose flour and vanilla extract.
The dough can be rolled into a log, before slicing into rounds. Alternatively, you can knead it flat and cut out into rectangular shapes like biscuits.
How long do homemade shortbread cookies last?
Super hard cookies like these keep well at room temperature. However, avoid exposing them to moisture or heat. At room temperature, they remain in top shape for up to 3 weeks. In the freezer, up to 8 months.
5. Gingerbread cookies
Gingerbread man, house and cookies conjure memories of Christmas. Baking these ginger flavored goodies is a timeless tradition, passed on from generation to generation.
Gingerbread consumption is attributed to ancient Egyptians and Greeks who made it from ginger and molasses. By then, ginger and other spices were widespread due to spice trade.
Gingerbread and gingerbread cookies are quite different in terms of texture and taste. The cookies are crunchy and have more spices, whereas the bread is dense and rich.
Nonetheless, the spread of gingerbread cookies is credited to England’s Elizabeth 1, who had cookies shaped into manly figures. Guests would be sent off with these ‘gifts’.
A basic gingerbread cookie recipe includes: Hot water, molasses, butter, sugar, all-purpose flour, baking soda, ground ginger, spices such as cinnamon and allspice.
How long do gingerbread man cookies last?
For optimal storage, stack these in layers, separating each with waxed paper towels. At room temperature, they last for 3 weeks. On the other hand, well frozen gingerbread cookies have a shelf life of up to 8 months.
How this name came about is enshrouded in mystery. Some claim it is from the German ‘schneckennudeln’ which depicts similar cookies found there.
In fact, these delightful cookies are thought to have been brought by German immigrants into the U.S. These cookies are extremely popular among dessert aficionados. They are synonymous for their sugar-cinnamon coating.
With only some butter, sugar, eggs, all-purpose flour, cream of tartar and salt, you can become the envy of your neighbor after baking these decadent cookies.
How long do fresh snickerdoodles last? (In the pantry or freezer)
Store and enjoy these for up to 2 weeks at room temperature. To prolong their shelf life, freeze up to 6 months.
7. Coconut Macaroons
This list wouldn’t be complete without macaroons! These delicate, yet creamy angelic mounds are a must have for any cookie addict. In addition, you don’t have to burn the house, trying to bake them. They are so simple, have few ingredients and take the shortest time to bake.
Macaroons are made from desiccated coconut and egg whites. Additional ingredients are sugar and vanilla extract. Recipe variations exists, with some including flour and condensed milk. However, true coconut macaroons are crispy and light.
How long do coconut macaroons last?
Enjoy these creamy delicacies for up to 1 week. Alternatively, freeze in airtight bags up to 3 months.
How best to store homemade cookies
In order to prolong the shelf life of these 7 popular cookies, here are a few pointers to keep in mind:
- Avoid stacking cookies together, especially when they are cooling. Trapped moisture alters the texture.
- Refrigerating baked cookies is not recommended.
- Avoid storing different-textured and flavored cookies together.
- For soft cookies, placing a slice of bread inside the container helps to retain softness.
After going over the above 7 popular cookies and their shelf life, it is highly likely you have dashed to make some!