Freezing/Storing Large Volume

Hi all, I bake for the military in my spare time. I have a friend who helps and we crank out the cookies. Right now we are getting 2500 Easter cookies ready for an AF (air force) base in TX. 

My question is: is it ok to freeze after baking and again after decorating? Does this affect how long the cookies will be fresh? I ship flat rate, and it's usually 3 days, but I'd like to ship overseas and that can take 8-21 days.

Doing large volume as we do, it kills us to do 4 days of 8-12 hour sessions to get 1000-1500 cookies finished. We're looking for a better way to do large volume. 300-400 a day, one day a week over several weeks would be heaven! 

Here are some of what I've sent. My Facebook page is Homemade for Heroes if you want to check me out. I never sell to our military. It is my way of saying thank you and sending them a small bite of home. 

IMG_2034IMG_2153IMG_1846IMG_0751IMG_1932IMG_0293

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Original Post

Thank you for your responses.

econlady, may I ask why double bag them? I use a gallon freezer bag. Should I double that?

Pip, thank you for your support. I appreciate it  IMG_2200

I freeze the finished ones, but had never frozen undecorated ones. With choosing to do 2500 this time, I had to look into different options. I baked 1500 and froze 500, vacuum sealed A LOT... big mistake!!! They stuck together and we lost a lot of them to breakage trying to pry them apart. If freezing them 2-3 times prior to shipping, that would be ideal. 

The hand drawn ones I'm afraid would run/smudge since it's just food color/edible markers. I'm clueless how to protect the writing from possible exposure. 

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HfH posted:

Thank you for your responses.

econlady, may I ask why double bag them? I use a gallon freezer bag. Should I double that?

Pip, thank you for your support. I appreciate it  IMG_2200

I freeze the finished ones, but had never frozen undecorated ones. With choosing to do 2500 this time, I had to look into different options. I baked 1500 and froze 500, vacuum sealed A LOT... big mistake!!! They stuck together and we lost a lot of them to breakage trying to pry them apart. If freezing them 2-3 times prior to shipping, that would be ideal. 

The hand drawn ones I'm afraid would run/smudge since it's just food color/edible markers. I'm clueless how to protect the writing from possible exposure. 

Double bagging is to protect from freezer taste.  When freezing I layer the cookies, with parchment paper or wax paper between the layers.  I take them out and defrost them on a rack.  When fully defrosted, and at room tempature I individually bag them (heat sealing the bag) and prep for delivery.  When packing to transport , typically  I layer the cookies sideways.  I do put bubble wrap between the cookies.  Going sideways and using bubble wrap I have less breakage.  I've taken 130 cookies across the country and had no breakage.  I believe it is because I can pack the cookies tighter.

Thank you. The most I have sent was 250 in a box. I havent heard of breakage but I doubt they care I layered flat with bubble wrap. I shake and wiggle each layer to fill as tightly as possible. I send many shapes and all are small 2" cookies. I'll be flying with the 2500 so I'll be trying them sideways as I can group the alike and divide into squadron boxes in the hotel room. Thank you so much for your advice. It really helps with the volume I do!!! 

HfH posted:

Thank you. The most I have sent was 250 in a box. I havent heard of breakage but I doubt they care I layered flat with bubble wrap. I shake and wiggle each layer to fill as tightly as possible. I send many shapes and all are small 2" cookies. I'll be flying with the 2500 so I'll be trying them sideways as I can group the alike and divide into squadron boxes in the hotel room. Thank you so much for your advice. It really helps with the volume I do!!! 

Your welcome.  Are you individually bagging them?  If you use a heat sealer you can keep the cookies fresher and breakage won't hurt other cookies.

Econlady posted:
HfH posted:

Thank you. The most I have sent was 250 in a box. I havent heard of breakage but I doubt they care I layered flat with bubble wrap. I shake and wiggle each layer to fill as tightly as possible. I send many shapes and all are small 2" cookies. I'll be flying with the 2500 so I'll be trying them sideways as I can group the alike and divide into squadron boxes in the hotel room. Thank you so much for your advice. It really helps with the volume I do!!! 

Your welcome.  Are you individually bagging them?  If you use a heat sealer you can keep the cookies fresher and breakage won't hurt other cookies.

If I were selling them, I would worry about breakage. 350 Airmen make quick work of them, broken or not. I send them priority mail and they are there in 3 days. My friends tease me. "All that work and they are gone in 10 minutes!" I couldn't ask for more, it makes my day! 

I just got a request for a couple deployment shipments. Could take a month to get there. Those I will individually wrap like you suggest! 

As a veteran, thank you so much for what you're doing!! You can freeze both undecorated and decorated cookies, though I think you would be better off to bake, decorate, and freeze a manageable amount, and then work onto the next batch instead of freezing undecorated cookies and defrosting and decorating and freezing and defrosting a second time. I would recommend sealing them individually, either in ziploc snack bags or heat sealed in cellophane so they stay fresh and then freeze them until you are ready to ship. If they are small, you can heat seal several in one long cellophane bag by heat sealing little pockets as you place cookies in them. You can also store them in gallon ziploc bags in the freezer, but separate the layers with wax paper so they don't stick together. If you aren't worried about breakage, you could ship them in the gallon bags with cushioning in between them. Whichever method, defrost completely sealed in the bags. I freeze my dough as well, rolled out and wrapped in stretch-tite plastic wrap, which can also be a huge time saver. Even if you aren't worried about them breaking, I would still seal them for shipping because the bubble wrap you are using my not be food safe, or clean for that matter if you are recycling it as most people do. Also, the boxes maybe left outside, and you don't want to tempt ants or squirrels by having unsealed sweets in there. Good luck, and thank you for all you do for our troops! 

mulberry_t posted:

I also brush powdered sugar anywhere I've used edible marker and that helps with smearing. 

Thank you for your service and advice! When I shipped the large boxes, each layer was sandwiched between Saran Wrap. Bubble wrap between saran. 

I bought a food saver for the deployment and overseas boxes. 

I have changed the baking process to only baking what I can get done. I do make dough in volume and roll out. Always have some ready to go for last minute requests. 

i like the powdered sugar tip too! I can't pipe the fine lines on the aircraft cookies. They are a lot of work and I worry about smudging. I'll try your tip. 

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