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Hallo, cookiers. I don't usually have this problem, but this time a set of about 30 cookies dried out on me, probably in part because of dry winter air and the time it took to finish them, despite keeping them in containers, etc. I am glad I tasted one so I can try to tackle this problem. Ugh.

Anyhow -- I've never tried the bread trick with cookies -- putting a piece of bread in the container with them so they absorb a little moisture. Does it actually work? Does it cause any problems with royal icing? Does the icing hydrate too and bleed? Would you put the cookies upside down so just the underside is more exposed to the bready air? Anybody have any other tricks?

I'm a little desperate here, but not too bad -- would be really grateful for any experienced advice. Thank you!!!


Last edited by Julia M. Usher
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Sorry, I've not tried that trick with iced cookies either. (I have put a slice of apple into a bin of undecorated cookies to soften them and that works well; it makes them very soft, but I can't say how it would affect icing decorations.) Can you do a trial with one cookie to see what happens over the course of a day or two?

That's a good point -- could try apple or bread here with a few first. The cookies have to be bagged and ready to go in a few days, so despite the panic - and being caught up short at not being able to bag them all now, having just finished decorating them - I could do a test. Maybe with the least favs of the bunch.

Thank you! Maybe I'll even try a couple with apple, a couple with bread..

Last edited by IllustratedCookies

Royal icing dries out Cookies.  I would rebake, but if you have to work with them I would use buttercream and keep it simple.  I would guess you used to much flour or over baked the cookies.  When you roll out your Cookies use an equal combination of flour and powdered sugar.  Your dough will last longer without drying out.  Second as soon as you a tan on one cookie pull the Cookies out of the oven.  They continue to cook on the cookie sheet and will be perfect.  Good luck!

Okay, I have some good news to report.

I put three cookies in separate small tupperware type of containers last night: one with half a slice of plain oatmeal bread, one with a slice of apple (less than 1/4), and one with two big marshmallows (another of the advised rehydrating additions).

The marshmallow, which I would have preferred to work for reasons of flavor/ease/stability, did nothing. But both the apple and the bread seem to have worked. I will probably have to sacrifice a cookie to taste/double check, but very careful poking at the bottom of the cookies reveals some give, as well as a very careful little bending at the corner. Feel like their old selves. As I said I don't usually have this problem. I use a recipe that is designed for them to stay somewhat soft.

Now I have to see if this will work on a large bunch of cookies at once, in a container less easy to make airtight. I will probably use bread, not apple, because I don't want a strong apple flavor/old apple smell, and try it overnight again.

I spent dozens of hours on these cookies (literally! I work slowly and was trying to figure out technique in each stage, so worked out to 2 hours per, probably) and really needed to save them. So I'm glad. Thanks for letting me cry help here! Will report again if there's more to know. Would be happy for any other info/input, goes without saying. Can't be the only cookier who's had this problem.

Last edited by IllustratedCookies

A trick I have used to keep my cookies soft when it is taking an extra long time to decorate them is to seal them in bags until I am ready to decorate them and once I have finished. I have sealed them in cello bags with my impulse sealer and I have used ziploc bags. When I am ready to finish those cookies I unseal the bag and get to work. If I don't want to waste a cello bag I will seal it at the very top and cut it open right under the seal- the bag is then reusable and the cookies are soft and fresh.

A few things I wanted to add:

The general issue was definitely just the ongoing topic of speed & freshness when decorating fancy cookies. I think I should have (as above, with @Kelly's response) used my sealer more often and broken production into into stages more. But I had bitten off a big bite (metaphorically) and was trying to just blizzard my way through things...

I would *not* use apple for this in the future, it imparts too much flavor, and a slightly off one at that, just because it's a perishable piece of food. I felt like the flavor spread -- from just one cookie -- to other cookies a bit once I had them all back in a big box.

Similarly, I would probably not prefer to do this with bread again. Or if I absolutely had to, only with plain white bread. There was less flavor/smell from the bread than the apple, but I still couldn't shake the slightly bready smell - to my nose at least.

I decided that in the future if I needed to do something like this I would use a brown sugar bear or the homemade equivalent: a piece of pottery that is soaked with water and slowly releases moisture that is absorbed into the cookies.

It was a decent stop-gap measure -- I think -- but I ended up being in agonies, kinda, about the quality of the cookies, when that's not something I am normally that worried about. They didn't *seem* to have that beautiful buttery/sugar smell right off the bat anymore and I was still terribly worried about them being too hard. But perhaps I was paranoid . I don't know. Anyhow, I definitely think the answer in the future will be to be more aggressive about breaking things down into stages. Also to try a brown sugar bear! (like this)

Hope that's of some help. Again, I appreciated the responses & chance to talk it out --


Last edited by IllustratedCookies

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