Receiving a care package of baked goods is always welcomed, and preparing one is gratifying, but the process has its challenges. What baked goods ship best? And what is the best way to package them and get them to their destination safely? Here’s a Bakepedia primer on shipping baked goods in tasty style.
- Choose your baked goods well: This means selecting recipes that have a long shelf life, preferably don’t need refrigeration and are sturdy enough to stand the rigors of shipping. Our picks: pound cakes, sturdy cookies like gingerbread, butterballs, chocolate chip, blondies and brownies.
- Take advantage of decorative, disposable bakeware: Depending on what recipes you choose, there are loaf pans, mini Bundt shapes, squares and rectangles for bars and much more. These come in the familiar aluminum, but are also available in attractive paper versions as well.
- Plan your approach: Know the day you want the package to arrive. Talk to different shipping companies about the cost of overnight delivery or, at the most, two-day delivery. Never mail on a Friday, even if you pay for overnight, because with any slip-ups, your baked goods will be sitting in a warehouse on Sunday getting staler by the minute.
- Bake on the same day you want to ship: The optimum situation is to bake in the morning, cool your baked goods well, package them and ship them on the same day. In lieu of this, bake late in the day before. Freshness is key.
- Remember the dollar store is your friend: Stock up on tins. In our main image, every container was purchased for a dollar, except for the Droste cocoa tin, which was found at a tag sale and the re-purposed Whitman’s tin. Think creatively.
- Pack each item in its own tin, It is best to package each item in its own tin or airtight container so that you do not have cross-contamination of flavors, aromas and textures. Did you know that soft cookies will make crisp cookies limp? Everything gets its own container.
- Separate layers by parchment paper. When all of your layers are arranged, cushion the top with a large crumbled ball of plastic wrap. This way when you seal the tin with the airtight top, the baked goods within will be as stable as possible, with little movement. This is all meant to prevent breakage.
- Package your packages: Get one large, sturdy box that is roomy enough to hold your single or multiple containers of baked goods with room to spare. Lay a bottom cushion of packing peanuts or the equivalent on the bottom of the box. Place your solo container in the center, then fill up remaining space generously with more peanuts. If you are packing multiple tins, have each of them separate from one another, cushioned with packaging material in between. When you are done, over-pack so that the packing peanuts are mounded above the box. Close the box compressing the peanuts and seal well with tape.
- Shake the box: When you shake the box, those inner containers shouldn’t move around at all. If you can hear or feel movement within, re-open it and add more packing material. This keeps the baked goods safe.
Image: Peter Muka