Ok, so if you haven’t noticed already, I kind of love sweets! Before my son was born I liked the odd cookie here or there, and then while I was pregnant with our son things changed; I started “baking-up-a-storm!” Not only do I love baked goods, but the process of baking is kind of like therapy for me. The act of measuring out ingredients and having to be very precise about it forces me to focus on the one task (limited multitasking can happen while I’m baking) and I kind of love this.
Aside from the obvious joy that comes from eating homemade goodies, I also love to share them! Food, any kind of food really, but especially sweets make me happy and I love sharing that joy whenever I can. The bliss that comes out of a warm, freshly baked blueberry scone or a melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie is not something I can keep to myself and food is truly meant to be shared. The only thing that can be difficult about this is the struggle between my desire to make freshly baked goods all the time and finding the time to make them.
As the working mother of a 16-month-old, things can get kind of crazy busy; add pregnancy into the mix and that little bit of “free time” I had before (that precious little bit of time that was left once our little one went to sleep) is now filled with evening power naps, or just plain sleeping. Needless to say, we can all find it difficult to accomplish all the things we want to do in one day. So with a little inspiration from my MIL (who is an amazing baker) and a little inspiration from my grandmother (who fills her massive freezer with mass produced homemade goods so she can share them) I decided that make-ahead baking is something I need in my life and had to share.
To start I’m sharing my take on bake-ahead cookies. These include a classic bake-ahead shortbread. Realizing that it’s not the actual baking process (the oven time, which is often only 10 minutes) that takes so long, but the preparation of the dough, I decided that freezing the dough, in an effective shape based on the batter, was the perfect way to prep cookies for when you want freshly baked but don’t have the time for all of the steps. So here is one option that worked well for me. I made two batches of this dough and had enough to bring with me to a bridal shower, a baby shower and a small batch for my most recent book club meeting, leaving me with one log to spare for the next event.
Make Ahead Shortbread Cookies
For these I’ve chosen my favourite simple shortbread recipe featured here.
Start with your favourite shortbread recipe and literally stop the process right before you would roll out the batter. Instead, follow these easy steps:
- Form dough with your batter using your hands.
- Cut or divide dough into two equal parts.
- Roll dough into two evenly shaped logs.
- Tightly wrap dough in plastic wrap and then place in a Tupperware container.
- Freeze dough (I would only keep this for a maximum of two to three months)
- When you are ready to bake, thaw the dough in the fridge for a few hours.
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
- Slice dough into round cookies, place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet and bake until golden brown (approximately 10 min).