After the 2016 election, I wanted to do something for friends to brighten their day. I posted a callout on social media asking for eight people who would like homemade desserts shipped straight to their door.
There were no rules aside from 1. The desserts would come on a surprise date anytime within the calendar year and 2. The recipients had no say in their desserts (aside from allergies taken into consideration).
Throughout 2017, cookies of all varieties traveled to eight friends in Bloomington, IN; Austin, TX; San Francisco, CA; Saint John, IN; Richmond, VA and Carbondale, IL. I finally sent the last box just this past December – more than a year after the original callout. Thankfully surprise baked goods taste just as delicious in the summer as they do in the winter.
I had never shipped baked goods before this challenge. But the best part of existing in the twenty-first century is that if you’re interested in doing something, you can always find advice from someone on the internet who has done it before.
- Wrap each treat individually to ensure freshness
- Bake something sturdy enough to endure transit
- Pick something which will last several days
Here’s extra criteria I considered while picking recipes. Sadly, keeping these things in mind eliminated many options except shortbread and cookies:
- No icing
- Nothing dipped in chocolate – in case it melts in transit
- No cupcakes – because an un-iced cupcake is just a muffin*
- Nothing fruity or prone to spoil – “Happy baked goods! Enjoy the mold!” No, thank you.
- Include at least two kinds so if one doesn’t hold up, there’s always another option
*Muffins are delightful, and I don’t make them as much as I should. But the best muffins are soft muffins. And if I was going to ship something soft, I figured I might as well ship a Nature Valley granola bar since I feared anything soft would just turn to crumbs.
The very scientific methodology
I baked the cookies on a Saturday or Sunday evening and individually wrapped them after cooling on these delightful space savers. Then I packed a gallon-sized ziploc bag (or two) with 12-18 cookies total. I then tucked the bags in boxes as big as shoe boxes so they would jostle as little as possible while in transit. Finally, I shipped the cookies first thing Monday morning, and they usually arrived no later than Friday depending on the destination.
It should come as no surprise that the best part of sending cookies to my friends were the messages they sent after the cookies arrived. I assume hearing the cookies were nearly gone made me just as happy as my friends were when they found cookies on their doorstep (I did have to test the batches too after all!). 2017 was a long year, but knowing I made someone’s day made me even more excited than usual to get in the kitchen!
If you’re interested in sending cookies to your friends, here are the treats I shipped on several occasions with no complaints from the recipients:
American Girl doll’s chocolate chip cookies – My family and I usually tell anyone we don’t know very well this recipe is Grandma’s secret recipe 😉
If you have any questions about shipping your own desserts, email me at emmagrdina(at)gmail(dot)com!