Friday, December 11, 2009

Mailing Baking

I officially finished my Christmas baking yesterday, and the official count this year was 33.3 dozen cookies, squares and mini tarts. Someone asked me the other day what I do with this all, and the answer is that I mail some of it away. I also take it to various seasonal functions and use it for dessert contributions at holiday dinners, but giving baking away is one thing I like to do and it is one thing that is also affordable for me to give as gifts.

You can mail cookies! I have been doing this for a few years now, and I have never had anyone say to me that they received their baking in crumb form. This is a run down of what I do, or have learned to do from experience, and what I suggest you do if you want to mail baking to people for Christmas or any other special occasion.

First of all, you will need bubble wrap - and a lot of it. Also, tissue paper is great. Also, packing tape.

I recommend mailing cookies/squares/mini tarts in cookie/candy tins as opposed to boxes because the tins are much sturdier and there is way less risk of things getting bashed around and dented in transit.

The key to parceling up baking is to make very sure that there is no room in the tin itself for cookies to bang against each other and turn to crumbs. It's all about filling gaps so there is nowhere for anything to move.

Step One: line the bottom of your cookie tin with bubble wrap.

Step Two: wrap like cookies in plastic wrap in packages of two or three, maybe four, depending on the size of your tin. Make the little packages tall enough to come just under the top of the tin. The purpose of packaging the cookies this way is to A) keep them tightly packed together to minimize movement within the tin, B) to maintain freshness and C) to keep flavours from mingling.

You'll get something like this (no, Karen, this is not your tin!):And this:
Step Three: start filling the little holes up. I find small candies like the Hershey's Kisses and similarly-sized stuff to be great for filling up the odd spaces between cookies that are inevitable. They also make the contents of the tin look pretty and add a bit of variety. But their main function is to fill space so nothing can move around. If you don't want to go the candy route, you can fill the spaces up with tissue paper or paper towel or something like that.

Step Four: pad the top. I use tissue paper for this, but you could also use more bubble wrap. This is why you need a little space between the top of the cookies and the top of the tin - you need padding! You'll get something like this:Step Five: bubble wrap the whole shabang! Call me paranoid, but I do not have 100% faith in 100% of the postal workers out there (no offense, postal workers who read this), so I feel the need for more padding. Step Six: Wrap in whatever you're going to wrap this sucker in. Or, put it in a box - with more padding. At this point, it's all about the padding! Address the parcel, etc.

Step Seven: Slap a FRAGILE sticker on that bad boy. Actually, I slap two on - one on the front and one on the back. Again, call me paranoid. But really, you need to do this to give your parcel of precious cookies the best chance it can get at being treated gently, as it so deserves. Make sure, if mailing to another country, you leave space somewhere for the customs thingy.
Step Eight: If you have an odd-shaped tin, i.e. something not square (for instance, I had two round tins and an octagonal one), and you are wrapping the tin in this brown paper or something similar, like I am, tape the crap out of this baby. It needs to be compact so that when the postal people go to measure, it's as small as possible. Also, you don't want any edges that can snag or tear.
There you go! No, I do not mail anything priority or express or whatever. No, I haven't mailed anything overseas because A) it takes too long and will compromise freshness and B) call me paranoid, but entrusting my cookies to the universe at this level is just very uncomfortable for me. No, I would not mail cakes, loaves, muffins, or anything soft or that can crumble or break easily, or that will go dry/stale quickly.


Bellini Valli said...

I would love to have a tin of cookies arrive on my doorstep. Thanks for all the advice on mailing our goodies...and I would not give away the extra candy fillers either:D

Palidor said...

That's awesome! I once thought about mailing cookies, but even at regular mail, Canada Post quoted me a ridiculous price. Good for you! I'm sure you make the recipient feel very special.

Captain Karen said...

Ha ha ha! This post was one of the first things I read this morning and it gave me such a giggle!

I can attest to the high quality packing job WC does. She's sent me a delicious parcel packed full of fabulous baking for the past few years and not one cookie was damaged! Plus, her baking is absolutely some of the yummiest ever!

Natashya KitchenPuppies said...

Great advice!
I have never shipped baked goods, but if any of my kids move out of the GTA one day I could imagine sending care packages.

Future Grown-Up said...

Wow...I'm totally impressed with all that work you put into baking and mailing those treats. Lucky recipients!

A Year on the Grill said...

these are great tips, and very timely...

Do you have my correct address???

Bob said...

Nice. My mom is the queen of mailing baked goods, we get a box of treats every year (sometimes more). There is nothing better than getting homemade cookies in the mail when you aren't expecting it.

tshsmom said...

Hot-air popped popcorn also makes a good packing material. I also freeze my baked goods. They arrive fresher and they don't break as easily when they're frozen.

Helene said...

I sent cookies to my son from BC to Ontario. He said that they were still fresh when he received them. What you are sending looks really good.

Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ said...

That's a lot of baking! The receivers are so lucky! Thanks for all the tips on packaging.

Wandering Coyote said...

Tshsmom: Yeah! I forgot to mention that I wrapped all these cookies from frozen! I always freeze mine first, too.

Also, I forgot to mention that after closing the lit of the tin, you should give the tin a gentle shake to see if you can hear any movement in the tin. That way you can hear how well-packed things are in there.

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Pierce said...

Well that's a cool idea. I don't mail too many goodies because of the breakage issue. Well not with brownies of course but cookies have always been a challenge.

Chris said... don't have our address (ha ha)

tshsmom said...

LOL! I always shake any package I'm mailing too, not just baked goods. My guys think I'm nuts, but I never have a breakage problem.

Tia said...

woo hoo!!! i haven't even started baking yet for christmas! eek!
thx for your tips on getting into the baking business. i really appreciate it.


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