If you freeze your homemade cookie dough, it's easy to bake up a batch—or just a few—anytime the fancy strikes.
Icebox cookies, in which the dough is formed into a log and sliced before baking (such as CHOW's Icebox Sugar Cookies), are a natural for freezing. Most doughs can be sliced fairly easily after half an hour out of the freezer, says TorontoJo. Cutting the dough with a hot knife (dip the knife in hot water, then wipe dry) works well. bushwickgirl slices the dough while frozen, using a serrated bread knife or a hot slicing knife.
You can bake the cookies from frozen dough, adding a minute or two to their normal baking time, or allow the dough to thaw before baking. "If you do decide to thaw before baking, I recommend slicing while still partially frozen—it's much easier than slicing a fully thawed log," says TorontoJo. "Then you can place on your cookie sheets and let them thaw out before baking (it won't take long once they are sliced)."
For drop cookies (such as chocolate chip), portion the dough into balls just as you would to bake them, place the balls on a baking sheet, and freeze until firm. Then store the frozen dough in a zip-top bag. Roll and cut out cookie-cutter types, freeze flat on a baking sheet, and store in a zip-top bag. Bake either type from frozen dough, or lay out on pans and let thaw first.
If you only want to bake a few cookies for an impromptu dessert, bake them in your toaster oven. Or bake drop cookies in a panini press, suggests chowser, who says they're "nice and crispy on the outside with a chew on the inside. The hardest part is the timing and temperature at first, but when you get it right, it's amazing. "
Discuss: Freezing Cookie Dough