Every holiday season, my grocery basket is noticeably full of baking ingredients. This is when I like to make goodies to share with friends. Many of them are nearby but, since we have moved around in recent years, I have several long-distance friends worthy of my baking efforts. For them I need to take special care so that my efforts arrive intact.
Since you may have goodies to ship too I thought I’d consult with the experts in baking and shipping and gather some bits of wisdom. Here’s what I found.
Not Everything Ships Well
Pretend for a moment you have put your cookies or cupcakes in a metal packing tin. Now imagine shaking it around and dropping it on the floor. When you open that tin will your cookies be recognizable or will you have a mass of tasty, but unattractive, crumbs? This is what shipping cross-country can do.
When you ship baked goods you put your creations in the hands of harried clerks and drivers who stamp, sort, and toss your box on it’s way to a friend. Putting the word “FRAGILE” or “BAKED GOODS” may or may not make a difference.
What does ship well?
- Most moist baked goods such as brownies and chewy drop cookies
- Quick breads and yeast breads
- Anything without a frosting or brittle outer shell
- Hard items like seasoned nuts and popcorn
- Durable candies such as fudge and taffy
Of course there are things you should keep off the shipping list. Anything with a delicate outer shell will begin to fall apart at the first hard bump. Frosting will show the record of every time the package was pressed. And of course anything requiring refrigeration is a no-no – unless you want to go to the expense of freezer gel packs and next-day shipping rates.
Packing Up the Goodies
Even if your baked good passes the shipping test, you need to make some effort to pack it securely. Decorative food tins are sturdy and can be reused by the recipient. Breads baked in foil pans are easily added to a package. Sticky cookies or candies can be layered in a container with waxed paper o baking parchment between layers. Pair drop cookies and wrap them back-to-back with plastic wrap. Wherever you can, include packing material to fill in empty spaces. When the shipping box is full and taped shut, give it a shake. If too much is loose and tumbling around, you need to open it up and add more packing.
And speaking of the shipping box, some shippers recommend that the outer box should not be recycled from a previous shipment. The previous journey probably weakened the box as it bounced around. A fresh box is more likely to arrive intact.
Some Suggestions From My Recipes
Finally, I’d like to list a few of the recipes I have posted on my site that should pack nicely and arrive in good shape.
- Marbled Spice Cake
- Chai Snickerdoodle Cookies
- Butterscotch Pound Cake
- Farmhouse Walnut Rosemary Bread
- Cinnamon Oat Muffins