Storing Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough in the Fridge

A lot of recipes you see now suggest you leave your  chocolate chip cookie dough in the fridge overnight, or longer, up to 48 hours, before baking. This allows gluten to form for a chewier cookie (because eggs move slowly, apparently, and it takes a while for their moisture to truly move all the way into the flour) and does things with the sugars, which makes the cookie hold together better and not turn into one of those oddly pretty lacy cookies that spread in the oven and look like the butter just fell right out, leaving a sugar structure behind.

48 hours of fridge time

So the real question is, how to store all that cookie dough?
Just chuck the bowl in the fridge is the simplest answer. When I did that, I wound up needing to let the dough come back to room temperature, it was too solid to pry out of the bowl. Also, bowls take up space. And if you have a mixer, you may not have a spare bowl lying around to be used in the meantime. 48 hours is a long time to go without mixer access. (My mother says the best accessory she ever got for her stand mixer was a second bowl. She has clearly never met my ice cream maker, but she has a point. We got a lot of use out of that second bowl.)

I've tried plastic containers (lids are a great thing), or other bowls. While that does solve the "my mixing bowl is out of commission" problem, it still had the problem of all my spoons bending when I tried to scoop any dough out. Ice cream scoop? Tried that. Chocolate chips give a surprising amount of resistance: it worked, but was not easy. If left to warm up, of course, it's much easier.

Works better when left to warm up a bit first.

So, next, I tried wrapping the dough itself and storing it in the fridge like that. Makes scooping more of a cutting process, less bowls are involved, and if you get really annoyed, you can just cut the dough into cubes. I have been told they melt down to normal-looking round cookies, but we could always see an imprint, so it seemed easier to cut cubes and then roll those back into spheres.
That worked pretty well. Still a decent bit of work, but pretty good.

Slightly funny cube imprints in the final cookie, or extra work rolling.
Can be cut straight out of the fridge, which is a bonus.

In Ready For Dessert, David Lebovitz suggests that you should divide your cookie dough into four parts and roll those into logs. Then wrap up those logs, and store those into the fridge. It's a bit fussy to roll them at first, but it does take less time overall than most of the other methods I have tried. (After all, eventually you still have to get the dough out of the bowl).
The nice thing about this is you wind up with more or less single-cookie sheet logs of dough, ready to be used over the next week or so. If you want to keep them longer, stick them in the freezer.
They can be cut and used as is, which works better than the squares, but still does leave a  little bit of an imprint, so sometimes I still roll them a little, and then flatten them a bit again. The dough generally does seem more cooperative than the cubed version is to rolling, so it's not as tedious as it sounds.
What I noticed was that when storing round things on flat surfaces, they don't stay round for very long (this will surprise just about nobody, I imagine. But does lead to wonky-looking cookies.). So, I did this:

 Keeps them nicely rounded.

Takes up a less-used corner of the fridge and they hold their shape better!

I doubt I am the only person to ever come up with the idea of using your egg carton to store cookie dough, but there it is. It keeps them a little rounder than sticking them straight in the fridge, and it's easier to layer if you have more than 4 rolls (because double batches are always a good idea! And when you try to make people wait two days for chocolate chip cookies, it's good to have a few extra rolls to "sacrifice" early - plus, you get to watch the change in the dough over time.). I tried storing it inside paper towel rolls, but then you get very long, skinny cookie dough rolls. Makes cutting them later a little odd, you might get little towers that need to get flattened again before baking (or just lots of very tiny cookies). but would probably work - though you might need 5 rolls instead of 4.

So, who else wants cookies now?


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