It’s been a year of alternately finding the drive to turn out sourdough, cookies and cake, and wanting to do nothing but lie on the couch and eat comforting carbs. Enter the freezer. Unless you’re preparing small batches of baked goods, you may end up with more than you or your pandemic pod can — or want to — finish in a sitting. Stashing extra treats in the freezer means anyone at home can experience a little joy at any time.
Most baked goods, including bread, freeze remarkably well and taste fresh when revived. (Not everything should be frozen: Desserts with high water content — meringues, custards, puddings, whipped cream, gelatin-based sweets — develop ice crystals that make them break.)
Freeze baked or unbaked individually portioned sweets (think brownies and cookie dough) on a sheet pan until firm, then transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Wrap large or whole pieces (cake!) tightly in plastic wrap and slip those into a container or bag for an extra layer of protection from freezer burn. When cravings strike, grab a treat and reheat in a toaster oven or oven, or simply thaw at room temperature.
Yossy Arefi swirls hazelnut spread into a deep chocolate batter for extra-rich brownies. Straight out of the freezer, these take on a fantastic candy-bar chew. A quick zap in the microwave and they end up nearly molten.
Recipe: Fudgy Nutella Brownies
If you’re familiar with the pleasure of store-bought poundcake from the freezer aisle, then you know this buttery classic from Denise Moseley and Waverly Gage, adapted by Jennifer Steinhauer, tastes great before thawing. A room-temperature slice satisfies, too, as does one toasted in a hot skillet, griddle or on a grill.
Recipe: Field Day Poundcake
The pastry chef Sherry Yard shared this recipe with Martha Rose Shulman and offered the smart make-ahead option of refrigerating or freezing the dough in a log for slice-and-bake cookies. The dough can also be dropped by the spoonful and baked right away, then frozen for an instant little treat anytime.
Natalia Pereira learned how to make these candies from her mother in Brazil, and then shared the recipe with Tejal Rao. With a tenderness between fudge and caramel, these one-bite, no-bake treats can be enjoyed cold or at room temperature.
To enjoy the beloved combination of lemon and poppy seeds, make this simple olive oil loaf from Melissa Clark. Thaw fully to savor the simple glaze soaked into the baked cake.
Recipe: Lemon Poppy Seed Poundcake
For lemon lovers, skip the poppy seeds and opt for this cake adapted by Sam Sifton from the pastry chef Bill Yosses. It includes lemon zest, juice, segments and a deep lemon-syrup soak that helps preserve the cake, too. Mr. Yosses recommends toasting the slices before serving.
Recipe: Lemon Poundcake
Keeping the butter in biscuit’s short dough ice-cold is the key to towering flaky layers. Kim Severson says this recipe from the chef and cookbook author Regina Charboneau, which requires freezing the dough rounds before baking, results in the lightest, flakiest biscuits.
Recipe: Regina’s Butter Biscuits
Yewande Komolafe also recommends freezing this scone dough before baking, then serving them warm with butter and marmalade. (If you don’t have brandied dried fruit on hand, you can swap in any dried fruit quick-soaked in brandy.)
Recipe: Brandied Fruit Scones
The chewy, cinnamon-sugar comfort of these cookies by Samantha Seneviratne stays intact even after a month or more in the freezer. Refreshing them in the oven or toaster oven will fill your kitchen with the warm scent of spices.
Another sugar-and-spice sweet comes from Melissa Clark, who says, “I also often make this in two smaller pans and freeze one. It’s nice to have around for breakfast.”
Unlike banana bread, which requires slicing before serving, this breakfast comes pre-portioned right out of the freezer. My recipe is sweet enough to feel like a treat in the morning, but wholesome enough to toss to a kid for an instant snack any time of day.
Recipe: Whole Grain Banana Yogurt Muffins
Oatmeal cookie cravings come and go, so keep this treasured recipe from Melissa Clark on hand. Reheating them in the oven will crisp the edges again, and thawing will deliver cookies that are evenly chewy.
Recipe: Classic Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies
Also known as Buckeyes, these easy no-bake candies from Samantha Seneviratne are perfect for popping in your mouth when you need just a little something sweet. Be sure to also try this lovely cardamom-spiced version from Hetal Vasavada by way of Priya Krishna.
Recipe: Peanut Butter Balls
The deep caramel richness of these blondies by Yossy Arefi comes through at any temperature. While they’re delicious plain, they also take well to a range of add-ins, from chopped nuts to chocolate.
Recipe: Butterscotch Blondies
The baker Moko Hirayama of Mokonuts, a small restaurant in Paris, shared her formula for these dark chocolate and cranberry cookies with Dorie Greenspan. They hit the spot when you want something a little fruity, but still need chocolate.
Recipe: Mokonuts’ Rye-Cranberry Chocolate-Chunk Cookies
If you perpetually can’t choose between buttery cookies and brownies, then you need this two-layered bar from Melissa Clark. She says they freeze perfectly.
Recipe: Bittersweet Brownie Shortbread
This classic Filipino dessert from the pastry chef Margarita Manzke, adapted by Tejal Rao, is also known as “food for the gods.” Chewy with a complex caramel taste from big chunks of dates, these buttery bars taste like pure comfort with a cup of tea.
If you have a serious case of procrastibaking (or stress-baking) and want an impressive project that will keep, you should tackle this three-layer cake. Most frosted cakes don’t freeze well because their dairy-based frostings weep, but this one holds up just fine.
Recipe: Blackout Cake