I’ve had a number of people ask me recently, how I keep my desserts fresh, especially gluten-free desserts. My first thought was that I really haven’t had a problem with crumbling, dry, left-over baked goods. But then it dawned on me as to why. I freeze everything. This is a practice that I started when we had our first bakery. Freezing baked goods is the best way to keep them fresh. I know it sounds like the opposite is true, but it’s not.
Once I’ve baked a batch of cookies, bars or mini loaf cakes, and they’ve cooled, I only keep out what will be eaten that day, and the rest is frozen. I find that the freezer ziplock bags work the best for keeping them safe from freezer burn. You can also wrap each cookie or cake in plastic wrap first, and then put it in the freezer bag. Then when I need a brownie, cookie, etc…, I simply pull out what I need, and let it thaw at room temperature, which usually only takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Maybe 30 tops. Once the dessert is thawed, you can dust it with powdered sugar, if you need it to look pretty, pop it on a platter and it’s ready to serve.
There are also a couple of tricks that I’ve learned about freezing sweets over the years. The first is that if you’re making loaf cakes with a glaze, make sure to glaze them first (letting the glaze harden and firm completely), before you freeze them. If you try and glaze them after freezing/thawing, it doesn’t work as well. I have also found that cupcakes don’t freeze well. Maybe it’s just me, as I am extremely picky (and a baking perfectionist too), but I just find them better fresh. Large cakes usually freeze really well, all cookies, bars, brownies, sliced GF bread, and even waffles (which you just stick into the toaster frozen). Seriously, not only will you not have problems with dry, crumbly next day baked goods, but the freezer totally preserves them, making them taste fresh-baked. Just remember, whatever you do, don’t try and thaw them in the microwave or oven. They need to thaw naturally for the best texture.
Do you want to hear something totally crazy? When my husband and I had our bakery in LA, we made thousands of loaf cakes (amongst lots of other things). But there was one loaf cake in particular, a pumpkin cake with raisins, coconut and crushed pineapple, that was amazing. But the crazy thing is that the cake was much better after it had been frozen. Go figure. The texture just got better after a short stint in the freezer.
So here’s to ending dry, crumbly baked goods forever!
p.s. I forgot to add that the frozen baked goods are probably at their best for 3 to 4 weeks. After a month in the freezer, you will start to notice ice crystals forming, which means they are getting freezer burnt, which is definitely not a good thing.