Commercial sources discovered long ago that selling dough in the freezer section increased their sales. That's great, but there are only about five kinds of cookies made that way. It is great to break off a square or cut a slice and pop them into the toaster oven at a moment's notice. You can do this yourself for much less money and only a little more time.
Version 1: The Log
These doughs can be used straight out of the freezer and sliced with a very sharp knife, or defrosted for a few hours so they can be rolled and cut with a cookie cutter. Baking from frozen generally won't affect the baking time since the slices are under 1/4":
- Checkerboard Cookies
- Hamantaschen (the dough part)
- Sugar Cookies
- Earl Grey Cookies
- Russian Tea Cakes or Dirty Snowballs (requires a little defrosting)
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Cranberry-Almond Biscotti
Version 2: The Scoop
Go to a restaurant supply store and get a purple scoop. They're under $10, and sometimes referred to as a size 40 or 3/4 ounce. I think the size below that is a steel-handled one, but a leveled-off purple will make a 2-to-3-inch drop cookie. For very small cookies, use a melon baller.
Lay out a piece of waxed paper on a cookie sheet. Scoop leveled-off portions onto the paper and freeze the entire sheet overnight. Once they're solid, you can toss them in a gallon freezer bag and keep them frozen until needed. Give them a 15 minute head start to defrost before preheating the oven and you're set:
- Oatmeal Everything Cookies
- Chocolate Coconut Hedgies
- Peanut Butter Cookies
- Pumpkin Cookies
For both methods, make sure to label the baggies with the name of the cookie, the date, what temperature to bake them, and for how long. Most doughs will still be as good as new for about three months.
Not every cookie dough can withstand freezing. Sponge cookies that are raised by whipped egg and cookies containing only baking soda and not baking powder will have issues. Anything fluid you have to pipe, like a macaron or ladyfinger, cannot be frozen. Actually, I'm not 100% sure on the macaroons, but they're just nuts, sugar, and unwhipped egg white. All of those ingredients can be frozen separately. And you have to work fast with the Toll House, because the dough is very soft. Cookie-press doughs are fine to freeze. I just don't have any here because I gave up on my skills with the press years ago.