Food

The #1 Thing to Keep in Your Freezer

The Best Thing to Keep in Your Freezer

You’re only 12 minutes away from happiness…

Whenever my old roommate had a free Saturday afternoon, she would whip up a giant batch of cookie dough. She’d then scoop the batter into imperfect spoonfuls, and tuck them away in the freezer. I quickly realized her genius. For the next couple of months, she was only minutes away from a freshly baked heaven of a cookie. Food blogger Posie Harwood agrees: “It’s a good idea for so many reasons,” she told me. “You can bake just one or two cookies at a time, or you can eat them straight from the freezer, if you’re into that! But I especially like to bring a bag to party and stash it in the host’s freezer as a thank you.” And there you have it: the gift that keeps on giving.

Here’s Posie’s favorite recipe to scoop and freeze:

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
By Posie Harwood of 600 Acres, adapted from Joy The Baker

You’ll need:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, loosely packed
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tsp molasses
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg and 1 large egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup chopped bittersweet 70% chocolate
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted almonds, chopped (optional)
Flaky sea salt for topping (optional)

In a small saucepan (ideally with a light-colored interior), melt 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter over medium-high heat. Once the butter is melted and is foaming, swirl it around pretty constantly. Continue to cook and swirl. The foaming will subside and the butter will start to brown, getting flecks throughout it. Cook for about 2 minutes, until it smells fragrant and nutty.

Pour the browned butter into a bowl and set it aside to cool.

In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream the rest of the butter with the brown sugar until very light and fluffy (about 5 minutes). Add the vanilla and molasses and mix. Pour in the granulated sugar and the cooled brown butter and beat until very light and fluffy, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, at least 3 minutes.

Add the egg and egg yolk and mix well.

Add the flour, salt and baking soda and beat on low speed until everything comes together, but don’t overmix. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate and nuts.

Scoop spoonfuls of dough (use a large cookie scoop or ice cream scoop) onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops of the dough generously with flaky sea salt.

Freeze until firm, then transfer to a plastic bag and freeze.

When you’re ready to bake, place a piece on a cookie sheet for about 12 minutes at 350F, or until golden brown on the edges.

Thank you so much, Posie!

P.S. A great baking tip, and two-ingredient chocolate bark.

(Recipe and photo by Posie Harwood.)

  1. Annie says...

    This comment section is dangerous! I freeze cookie dough ALL THE TIME and not once have I ever considered eating the frozen dough before I baked it. Now that the idea has entered my brain, though….. My freezer cookie dough stash is doomed!!! :-o

  2. Savannah says...

    I just want to eat every single one of those like a human Pacman who does not care about the danger of uncooked cookie dough.

  3. ZJ says...

    I absolutely love this as a gift idea. Sometimes I visit friends that I see all the time, and taking a treat like this seems really appropriate and I know just how appreciated it would be too.

  4. R says...

    This is SO WEIRD. I had a bag of brown butter chocolate chip cookie dough in my freezer and baked cookies on Tuesday! I ended up passing a lot out to the people that I saw this week: husband, coworkers, father-in-law. Such an easy thing! and a perfect way to say thanks :)

  5. These looks delicious:) I am having friends over for some christmas cosyness and this can be absolutely something I should make.

    Thank you for sharing:)

    Take care!

  6. Such a great idea – but deadly! I don’t know if I could only bake one. I’d probably go back to the freezer every 30 minutes and keep baking one at a time, then before I know it having eaten two dozen cookies that felt like only one! Haha!

  7. ReignFalls says...

    This recipe is strangely close to Joy Wilson’s (Joy the Baker) Browned Butter Chocolate Chip cookie recipe she published in her cookbook.

    • Yes hers is great! Her recipe is sweeter — and I prefer to use two types of chocolate for texture + flavor variety. Another thing is that you can choose to either brown half or all the butter depending on how deep you want the brown butter flavor. I’ve now been experimenting with browning some of the butter in most of my favorite cookie recipes and it’s so worth trying!

    • bethviola says...

      I thought the same thing, too! It looks barely less sweet and two different kinds of chocolate chips don’t make a new recipe. I wonder if this recipe should mention that it is adapted… it makes me feel squeamish that it is so close without clear recognition! That being said, this is a great post/idea and beautifully done otherwise

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Adding in credit for Joy now, too. Thank you for the heads-up!!!!

  8. Tammy says...

    Freezing the dough before baking is my secret to the perfect chocolate chip cookie! The butter melts more slowly so the cookie stays nice and puffy. If the butter is softened and warm already as is the case with fresh dough, the cookies spread more and are thinner. I like a nice puffy cookie 😊

  9. This is such a good idea! :D And who doesn’t love cookies?

  10. April says...

    We do this!! My husband will whip up a big batch of the good old Tollhouse variety. We then scoop out 8 spoonfuls onto parchment paper (there are 4 in our family so 2 cookies for each of us) and wrap up carefully so cookies don’t touch. We typically get about 4-5 parchment papers with 8 cookies each and place all into one big Ziplock in the freezer labeled “Cookie Bag.” Then whenever the mood strikes we pull out a parchment roll up, place it on a cookie sheet and bake straight from the freezer. They always come out great and kids and adults couldn’t be happier!

    • EBeth says...

      Do you line them up on the parchment paper and then roll them up?

  11. Jacqueline says...

    Most things are best baked from frozen so this is always a great idea! I did this last month with the ginger cookies from the new Tartine cookbook (amazing, highly recommend)! I was out of town and my husband had a boys night and remembered the cookies. I got a bunch of texts from him and his friends drunkenly and happily enjoying cookies at 1am lol!

  12. Janie says...

    This is a terrific idea! Thanks! Happy Holidays! 🎅

  13. I just named my baby Josephine and I lobbied hard for her nickname to be Posie! I lost (she’s Josie), but I still think it’s a great name!!

  14. i also do this with scones, for the mornings i want to warm up the abode and have some kind of quick, warming breakfast. i made blueberry-ginger and fresh cranberry-orange scones last weekend. this week will be savories: wontons, meatballs and hand patties. it’s so nice for those nights i don’t feel like cooking but i need something nutritious and delicious.

    • C says...

      I love scones so am very into this idea! Do you shape them before putting them into the freezer? Can you bake the dough from frozen? Please share :)

    • Sara says...

      C—Yes! I do this all the time with scone dough. When you are ready to bake them, take them out of the freezer and they will thaw a bit while the oven heats. Then you just bake for a few minutes longer. My go to recipe that I have frozen with great success: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/cranberry-orange-scones-recipe There is even a little video to watch on how she makes them and how to freeze them. Hope that helps!

    • I freeze uncooked shaped scones – savoury and sweet – and bake straight from frozen for 3-5 minutes longer than usual…

      I would normally take them out and glaze the top with a little milk while the oven heats up. They taste just as good as freshly rolled out scones!

    • C – yes to shaping them. then i line them up, like soldiers, on the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. freeze. when frozen, move them into to ziplock bags.

      pre-heat oven. when reaches temp, bake straight from oven for an extra couple-few minutes, keep an eye on it though!

      enjoy. <3

  15. Katy says...

    Does the 12 min cooking time assume the dough defrosted or is that directly from freezer?

  16. Katie says...

    I just did this the other week for a friend who was having a baby! I figured this family doesn’t need more baby stuff, but they could definitely use a few dozen cookies to bake up whenever an emergency comes up! I don’t have kids but I assume there are lots of cookie-related emergencies.

    • Capucine says...

      And you would be right. My (childless) friend brought two frozen rolled logs of chocolate chip cookie dough wrapped in wax paper when my first child was born, and I can still experience them in my mind like to was yesterday. They were such a balm to my heart-broken-open self. I baked just two at a time, here and there, a tiny island of comfort. Lifelong gratitude for that one. Sometimes a cookie is the way love transcends the medium and becomes something extraordinary!

  17. Essss says...

    My aunt was the only female in a house full of boys and she’d just keep the giant bowl of cookie dough in the fridge, and make a dozen fresh cookies most days. It was magical.

    My husband makes fun of me for freezing everything but somehow I don’t think he’d mind this. And brilliant hostess gift!

    • Sharon says...

      I second your “freezing everything” manta! I freeze all sorts of things… a habit that has held on from years of work travel, and my husband thinks I’m a bit loony, but I love knowing there is always a home cooked meal just a defrosted few minutes away.

  18. erin says...

    my mom does this with her chocolate chip cookies, and i always just eat it raw! i couldn’t keep it in my freezer, i’d inhale them! and my sister does this during christmas, so she can bake small batches when we’re low on cookies… and they’re a million times fresher!

  19. Jasap says...

    I don’t know if anyone asked that already (and it’s the case, I’m sorry for making you repeat yourself!) but why does the saucepan for melting butter has to have light-colored interior?
    And, also, a question for all of you eating frozen cookie dough: I think you’re geniuses (no sarcasm here, I really do!!) and I’d love to try that someday, too, but is there still any danger of salmonella poisoning if the eggs added were raw and didn’t cook through?
    In any case, I know what I’ll be doing with my daughter this weekend – thanks so much for the idea!!

    • Amy says...

      So you can see when your butter has browned :)

    • Ellen says...

      I believe the light colored interior would just make it easier to see when the butter has browned.

    • Jasap says...

      Hum. Now that you mention that, it really seems kind of an obvious answer. Whoops. Thanks for your answers, Amy and Ellen :) I thought it had something to do with saucepans heating faster when their interior is dark…!

    • Sarah says...

      I brown butter fairly often and none of my saucepans have a light interior- it’s really not necessary. Just watch for the butter to become copper colored, like a penny, and it should smell nutty. You’ll see the solids in it when you swirl it around. When in doubt, err on the side of taking it off the heat too early rather than burning it.

    • Jasap says...

      Thanks for the tips Sarah! I’m not really new to cooking but I’ve never intentionally browned butter before so I can’t wait to try! :)

  20. Natalie says...

    I tip I learned that has made scooping cookie dough so easy and fast is to use a tiny ice cream scoop! The one I have says “40” on the side and it seriously makes the perfect sized cookie and uniformly sized cookies so they all bake evenly!

  21. I rarely find a hostess gift tip that I haven’t seen or heard but this is brilliant. Can you imagine how great it would be to wake up the day ofter hosting a party or a week of visitors and to know you could flop down, grab a book and in less than fifteen minutes have freshly baked cookies and a cup of coffee? Filing this in my mental repertoire. I always like to take a hostess gift usable after the guests are gone: a breakfast bread, a candle, a bundle of muffins or granola. I also like to show up empty-handed, at the last minute, knowing I have friends who take me in with nothing to offer. :)

  22. Anita says...

    I made this before and my whole family liked it when show y’all will be surprise❤🍪🍪🍪

  23. I do this with sugar cookies. I make logs of dough and wrap them up in parchment paper and plastic wrap, and then freeze. If somebody comes over, I can grab a log, slice and bake. They don’t take up much room in the freezer either.

  24. Sally says...

    For anybody in the UK- Marks and Spencer sell frozen uncooked choc chip cookies (for anyone not in the UK- they sell them freshly baked in store and they are amazing!) and croissants. So delish, so not lasting a week in our house!

  25. Katherine says...

    I just did this myself last night, only it was with molasses cookies! Made some for now and froze a log for later. Will absolutely make these cookies next! I’ll also definitely use this freezing method: I’ve always frozen a log of extra dough to slice off cookies as needed, but sawing through a rock solid frozen hunk of dough to get a cookie takes forever and is too much hard work when all I want is a cookie RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Of course this is the way to go! When I was a kid, my favorite part of going to the pool over the summer wasn’t swimming, it was getting to buy hunks of frozen cookie dough at the snack bar for a quarter.

  26. Marcella says...

    Love this! Deb from Smitten Kitchen always does this with her best chocolate chip cookies ever recipe. I’m inspired but also never end up saving any cookie dough for the freezer…

  27. Charity says...

    Yes!! Freshly baked cookies are a wonderful, wonderful thing! When I make cookies, I usually bake 8-10 (one sheet pan), and freeze the rest of the dough to bake periodically over the next couple of weeks. It’s amazing for when last minute company pops in, and also stops us from eating 3 or 4 dozen cookies all in one go.
    I just baked up some of my frozen dough this afternoon!

  28. AB says...

    f*cking genius.

  29. I was actually thinking about this yesterday! Cookies on demand! An instant pick me up!

  30. Vero says...

    No! Do not do this! I did this last week with the intention that I would could easily whip up some cookies for guests and I have been eating frozen cookie dough by the (giant) spoonful every day since.

    • Hillary says...

      YOLO

    • Kelly says...

      This would be me! lol

    • Katherine says...

      :D this made me laugh

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha love that, vero.

    • LB says...

      Yea those frozen balls never make it to the freezer, just right to my mouth.

  31. Jenny says...

    The comments on this post are so useful. Great post, great idea to use as a hostess gift!

  32. A cookie dough shop just opened up near me. It’s such a good idea. It instantly made me happy. I’d love to make little cookie dough bites to store in my freezer as a pick-me-up for rough days.

  33. Kate says...

    I love doing this! Whenever I make chocolate chip cookies I bake off about half the dough to enjoy right away and freeze the rest in the aforementioned dough balls. My husband loves to eat them straight from the freezer, and we both have a super crush on mug cookie sundaes: microwave a dough ball (or two!) in a mug for about thirty seconds and top with a little scoop of gelato. If we’re feeling festive we add sprinkles and/or salted caramel sauce (currently obsessed with one made by The Ardent Homesteader. It’s divine!). They’re great for cozy nights in or impromptu dessert when friends drop by.

    • Um…my kids would LOVE these cookie mugs. I’m doing this pronto. They’ll be so excited.

  34. Lilly says...

    I do this too! At my last job we had a great little toaster oven so I kept a stash of cookie dough balls in the work fridge freezer. (No one uses the freezer! I’d stash it with chilis, stews, and cookies.)

    Anytime I popped one out and baked it I was the envy of coffee break. Open plan office + kitchen in the middle meant the cozy cookie smell went everywhere. No one minded. I’d always make sure there were extra if anyone wanted to bake their own.

    • Stacie says...

      I love this idea! Super sweet.

  35. Courtney says...

    This is the ultimate hostess gift for someone who just had a baby– I bring over a tray ready to pop straight in the oven plus a Pillsbury-style roll for them to keep for later. It’s often a lifesaver when another guest shows up empty-handed and they need something to feed them.

  36. Meghan says...

    Did this with banana chocolate chip muffins today. I just scoop whatever I don’t use into a freezer bag and then let it unthaw (like, 30 min) and cook fresh muffins whenever my heart desires!

  37. Mandy says...

    My aunt does this! She rolls the dough into a “log” and then she just has to slice off however many cookies she wants to bake. When she visits me, she always leaves me with two or three cookie dough logs in the freezer.

  38. Anneka says...

    In theory I like this idea, in reality the cookie dough wouldn’t make it past the week…

    • Chelsi says...

      Haha! I’m with you on this one!

    • Shelly says...

      lol – I thought of this too, I would have to hide it behind the frozen green beans:) My teenage boys would inhale it.

    • Stacie says...

      Hahaha I’m nursing right now and feel the same way.

  39. Natalie S. says...

    I do the same thing, except with homemade cinnamon rolls! They heat up in the microwave for less than a minute and they are to die for. It’s one of the first things my mom asks for when she comes to visit. Here’s my favorite recipe: https://www.melskitchencafe.com/perfect-cinnamon-rolls/

    • Ali says...

      I have been searching for the perfect freezer-friendly cinnamon bun recipe – this look so promising! Thanks for sharing :)

  40. Every time I make cookies I use all the dough and then freeze the cookies. We eat a few from the oven then I freeze the rest. They are SO good frozen, or warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds. If I need them for an event, I take them out a couple hours before, put them on a try and head out the door. They taste like I just made them. I have been doing this for so long that I frequently find friends and family digging in my freezer for treats!

  41. I love this. I would also love if you could give us some lactose-free recipe options. One thing I find hard about being lactose-intolerant is finding good versions of recipes like this. Maybe you could devote a month to it? And I don’t mean vegan. Just ditch the dairy?

    Thank you! I love this site, you guys are always coming up with great content and the comment community is the best here.

    • Kate says...

      Vanessa, I know you said not vegan BUT every single recipe from the blog/cookbook Oh She Glows is a winner. Her chocolate cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies are stellar! One of our good friends is vegan, and I bake a lot of Oh She Glows recipes when hosting. I tell her they are vegan of course, but other guests have no idea. Try them out!

    • Capucine says...

      If you’ve got an emergency-room-level allergy, then I would sub in margarine and skip the browning. But if intolerance is your problem, do you know about ghee (melted, clarified butter)? It tastes and behaves like butter in baking because it kind of IS butter (not so much on toast). Purity Farms does one that is tested for no casein traces, no lactose.

  42. Olivia says...

    My husband has celiac disease and basically all the snacks are either garbage or extremely expensive – so we always, always, always have multiple prepared batches of g free cookie dough and often cookies in the cookie jar :) makes life and snacking so much easier!

  43. Jennifer says...

    I’ve been doing this for years, and on many occasions it has been a potluck lifesaver. One or two fresh out of the (toaster) oven is much better than a batch that sits on the counter all week (if it lasts that long). I always use salted butter in my recipe (reducing the added salt by a bit), and adding cinnamon at about a teaspoon. And, I have to admit, the large ghirardelli chocolate chips are best for melt factor.

  44. Ann says...

    This is a good idea, for people with more willpower than me! I would probably eat them straight, like little frozen cookie popsicles, in under a week.

    • Nicole says...

      Hahaha agreed…I worked at Subway in high school and we would eat so much of the frozen cookie dough, I have no idea how the managers never noticed.

  45. This looks incredible! I tried doing this a few weeks back and ran into one big problem, though. The cookie dough baked from the freezer tasted oddly bland compared to fresh dough!? Any ideas?

    • use fresh vanilla bean paste, or double the vanilla

  46. shannon says...

    A tip for chocolate chip cookies is to stir in the chocolate chips directly into the wet ingredients before adding the dry ingredients. It reduces your chances of overmixing the dough, making for much better texture!

  47. Christine says...

    Yep! Always! Whenever I make a batch or two, I freeze at least a dozen for cravings and emergencies. The best ever!

  48. Wendela says...

    Love this as a hostess gift idea. I’ve been doing it at home for a while—it’s always useful to be able to bake fresh cookies on a moment’s notice, for the exact number of kids who are dropping over to play—but I also use it as a secret strategy for making the house smell extra nice when we have company coming. Nothing smells more inviting than cookies in the oven!

  49. I also freeze my leftover dough but it never lasts more than a week! And of course I have a horrible habit of eating it straight out of the freezer instead of baking it. Another fun tip: microwave a scoop of cookie dough for 10-30 seconds so it gets super gooey, warm and semi-baked and eat with a fork… my favorite way to eat cookie dough :)

  50. Jeannie says...

    Love this idea! Can you share how long this would last in the freezer, if properly stored in an airtight/freeze burn-proof container? I cna’t imagine it would last longer than two months lol but just wondering!

    • Rachel says...

      I read 6-12 months for homemade cookie dough. (Mine definitely doesn’t stick around this long!)

  51. Kate says...

    Love love love this as a hostess gift, thank you!

  52. Jackie Norris says...

    I often freeze extra cookie dough, especially if it’s a large recipe. The problem is that it has NEVER ONCE made it out of the freezer into the oven again. I just can’t help myself when it comes to cookie dough. Having a bad day – get a cookie dough ball. Having a great day? GET TWO!

    • Stella Blackmon says...

      Hahahaha. Yes, same here, Jackie. One night a while back, when my roommate caught me on the verge of tears, she gently asked, “Honey, do you need a dough ball?!”

    • Zoe says...

      One of my close friends in college ate her roommate’s entire tub of cookie dough while she was out of town one weekend. She bought a new one at the store to replace it, but then she accidentally ate that one too!!! Basically 2 lbs of cookie dough. All in one weekend. I will never forget this story. I love it so much.

  53. Rosie says...

    Yes! I do this, too, and it’s so great to have warm cookies anytime. We pull them out after our daughter goes to bed, or when friends stop by, or when we’re going to someone’s house. I love it!

  54. Rachel says...

    I passionately and wholeheartedly agree! I recently learned to do this from Deb at Smitten Kitchen, and so many of her recipes are perfect for this! I usually make a double or triple batch of cookie dough and then scoop them out while I sit on my couch watching my current binge show. Make sure to write the baking temperature and time on the freezer bag before you stow it away. I also read something today about how this can lighten the pressure of baking Christmas cookies. You can start making and freezing batter during November, and just bake them off when you’re ready to give as gifts. It can also be a huge help if someone needs a meal or if you find out about a birthday at the last moment–nothing makes you seem more like you’ve got it together than pulling out warm cookies at a moment’s notice.

    And I learned this great cookie tip from my boss: add granola to your cookie dough! This works especially well with classic chocolate chip cookie recipes. It adds a really great crunch to the cookie without having nuts (allergies) and doesn’t compete with the more important chocolate flavor.

    Two of Deb’s recipes that are great for this: https://smittenkitchen.com/2015/12/the-browniest-cookies/
    https://smittenkitchen.com/2009/03/crispy-chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies/ (This is my go-to classic chocolate chip cookie recipe because it calls for melted butter. I am never going to remember to have room temperature butter)

    • P says...

      YES, Deb’s crispy chewy chocolate chip cookies are my all-time favorite. I think I’ve made at least 250 of them this year alone, not kidding.

  55. katherine says...

    i’m very upset that you told me about this. there’s no way i won’t go home and do this, it’s genius, but i also absolutely should NOT have easy access to fresh cookies at all times. oh no.

  56. Emma says...

    My husband an I bought a tub of cookie dough about a week ago and it has been a life saver! We have a list of people we want to give a little Christmas cheer to, and that tub has made it so easy! We’ve been waiting to catch the grounds crew on break at our apartment complex and that tub made warm cookies possible in minutes!

  57. june2 says...

    GREAT hostess gift idea, thanks so much!