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How to Chill or Freeze Cookie Dough

One of the joys of cookies is that you rarely have to bake them all at once. You can cover the bowl tightly and keep many cookie doughs in the refrigerator for several hours, or even a day or two. In fact, many doughs require chilling before they can be molded or rolled. Softer doughs (such as chocolate chip cookies) should be removed from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you plan to use them, so they have time to soften up.

Butter-rich doughs that contain little or no leavening and no eggs (such as many rolled or refrigerator cookies) will hold even longer in the refrigerator if tightly wrapped. We’ve held such doughs for as long as a month, though we recommend baking them within a week or two for best results.

Doughs that are rich in butter (or other fat) and that do not contain a lot of leavening also can be wrapped tightly and frozen for up to two weeks. Thaw in the refrigerator, then let stand at room temperature until pliable.

Egg-based cookie doughs, such as meringues or sponges, should be treated like cake batter and baked immediately. Doughs that contain a fairly large amount of leavening, especially baking soda, can be refrigerated briefly, but are best used within a couple of hours.

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