Adventures in Homemade Cookie Wedding Favors

My sweet sister got married last month! I made the wedding favors, but initially spent some time waffling over the decision to do so. I knew I'd want to make a homemade treat that would reflect my sister's and Victor's tastes, but also wanted to make absolutely sure that the packaging would keep the favors fresh for a few days and, of course, be aesthetically pleasing. Since the favors turned out pretty well, I thought I'd share some tips for anyone who might also want to make wedding favors of her own.

The first thing is to pick a baked good that is delicious, but will also stay fresh for a few days and can take a little handling. It should also be something that can be prepared in advance: either the unbaked dough will keep well in the freezer, or the end product can be stored in the freezer with no ill effects. For these reasons, I decided to make sugar cookies and brownie cookies. I initially wanted to make chocolate chunk cookies, but the chocolate chunks take so long to set that it would slow things way down on the day of baking.

I made all the cookie dough about three weeks before the wedding, and froze the formed cookie dough balls. Cookie dough will last in the freezer for about three months, which affords you the ability to do all the mixing and forming well in advance. The only thing you'll have to do the day of the wedding (or a couple days before if you need to travel for it) is bake and pack!

My sister's wedding was on a Saturday, and I had to bake all the cookies on Wednesday in order to accommodate family and wedding party obligations at the actual venue (and to have plenty of time to lounge around at the hot springs!). I needed to make sure the packaging would keep the cookies fresh for a few days. All the packaging I saw for homemade favors on wedding blogs and Pinterest looked ineffectual; very frequently people used plastic bags tied together with string, which definitely do not create an air-tight environment. So down a food packaging rabbit hole I went, and I emerged victorious and armed with these food-grade bags and this trusty heat sealer. I highly recommend both.

Some websites that sell in bulk (quantities starting at 100) will also let you buy a few samples before making a large purchase. For instance, below is the very first iteration of the packaging, which I liked all right but was gently talked out of by a friend. Around this time my sister brought back from New York a few Milk Bar cookies. The cookies were terrible, but the packaging gave me some inspiration for the wedding favors. Luckily I do not have 99 of these white bags (and problems) lying around.

Another thing I did to test the freshness, longevity, and durability of the cookies was mailed them to friends all over the country. This worked out very nicely because the USPS priority shipping timeline mirrored my bake-on-Wednesday-eat-on-Saturday schedule. This is a great way to see how the favors hold up in less than ideal conditions, audition different recipes, get friends to be taste testers, and make someone's day!

The day of baking, just bake your cookies, wait for them to completely cool down to room temperature (very important! you don't want there to be condensation in the bag, and then mold), and then pack and seal. For anyone wondering about the stickers, I purchased them from this etsy shop, which was a pleasure to work with. 

Anabel

P.S. Homemade favors are definitely not just for weddings!