Four-Year Cookie Experiment

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About: I've been posting Instructables since the site's inception, and now build other things at Autodesk. Follow me for food and more!

Intro: Four-Year Cookie Experiment

Ancient history:
I made this cherry chocolate chip oatmeal cookie dough on 11/12/2006, one of three batches of cookies made in preparation for Thanksgiving 2006.  The other two cookie dough logs were actually used that year, while this one sank into obscurity at the bottom of my chest freezer.  A few weeks ago it resurfaced as I was reorganizing the chest freezer in preparation for a new influx of frozen meat.  These are the results of my forensic experiments.

Initial observations:
The cookie dough log was wrapped in plastic wrap, then covered in aluminum foil.  Thankfully, I'd thoroughly labeled and dated the log, so it was clear the thing was over four years old.  There was neither visible freezer burn (it would have appeared as dry, white patches on the surface of the dough) nor ice crystals.  It was clearly in pretty good shape, so I dragged it into HQ for proper examination.

Further studies:
Slicing into the frozen cookie dough log was challenging, but it came apart in chunks instead of clean slices because the dough was too dry. This condition was the same throughout the log, so I blame the recipe (or lack thereof - I usually make cookies by feel) and its overabundance of oats for an excessively dry dough.  I vaguely remember that the other cookie batches made at the same time were too heavy on the oats as well, and thus somewhat dry.

I baked the cookie chunks in a low 300F oven to give them more time to spread, but due to the firmness/dryness of the dough they retained most of their original shape.  They colored nicely in the oven, and had a good if slightly crumbly texture.  Testers at HQ were suspicious at first, but after an initial cautious sample ate them enthusiastically.  They'd be totally perfect dunked in milk.

Conclusion:
A fat-based cookie dough, properly packaged, can survive virtually unchanged for years in the freezer.  Make some now, and be prepared for the upcoming zombie apocalypse.

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    23 Discussions

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    dreamberry

    6 years ago on Introduction

    arrgh. somebody left the ice cube tray with only 4 dang cubes in it!

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    canidaSterLuMan

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Totally agreed! That's why people were a bit scared to try it at first. ;)

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    Tomcat94

    7 years ago on Introduction

    You can do the same thing with Spice Rolls. We have some spice rolls from three years ago in the freezer, and every now and again, we take it out, and it still tastes just as great as when it was first baked. :D

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    Tomcat94canida

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    That's a good point. I haven't made an instructable in a while, so I should make a spice rolls instructable whenever I'm not at the dorms. :)

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    Mongpoovian

    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome - cookies and self experimentation, who could ask for more?

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    bonfire817

    7 years ago on Introduction

    AWESOME! I was wondering how to have fresh baked cookies after the Zombie Apocolypse!

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    caarntedd

    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is awesome. I'm well known for using myself as a guinea pig when food of doubtful age appears from the depths of the fridge/freezer. I usually win. The food wins occasionally. My wife usually roots for the food. I consider it a challenge. (I'm saving a jar of strawberry jam that went past it's 'use by' date in1998). For noobs: steer clear of out of date yoghurt unless experienced.

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    canidacaarntedd

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Freezer stuff is rarely a health problem, unless you've had a freezer malfunction. Then things get super-sketchy.

    I'm a big fan of trusting my nose instead of those use-by dates too! It's all a trick to get you to throw out good food and buy more. The NYTimes just had an article about it.

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    canida

    7 years ago on Introduction

    *sends you digital cookies*

    Alternatively, make one of the cookies from the Related sidebar, or some of my favorite snickerdoodles.

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    IvyHunter

    7 years ago on Introduction

    What about stuffing for stuffed mushrooms that as been in the freezer, in Tupperware, since Thanksgiving 2009? No dairy products, just bread crumbs, tomato sauce, olive oil and seasonings.

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    canidaIvyHunter

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    You should be checking for freezer burn - that's liquid leaching out through sublimation and leaving nasty dried-out yucky bits. The texture change is often irrecoverable. In your case, tomato sauce has a high water content, so there's potential for freezer burn. Ice crystals on the stuffing would be a likely tip-off too.

    Check it out, and if it looks good try it! It's a question of taste, not health or safety, especially without any meat, eggs, or dairy. The freezer prevents any nasties from growing (provided it has stayed frozen). My cookie dough has eggs, but proper baking should re-pasteurize the cookies. Next time I'll double-check the internal temperature to make sure.

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    caitlinsdad

    7 years ago on Introduction

    Does this provide basis for the theory that if we can find frozen cookie DNA in the frozen tundra somewhere and possibly clone it, thus in turn prove that Paleo man became extinct because he became a couch potato and his diet really consisted of just milk and cookies?

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    hlfwy.thrcaitlinsdad

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Haha... If I found frozen cookie DNA, my hypothesis would be that a massive batch of cookies were laced rather nasty microbes (whose DNA you found), but because they were so incredibly delish, they were shared amongst all the Paleo men....thus leading to their eventual demise. But your theory could work too :)