The biggest mistakes you're making when shipping baked goods

The 2020 holiday season is definitely going to be different than previous years. With the COVID-19 outbreak, lots of people are reducing the size of their holiday gatherings and limiting the number of parties they plan on attending. Unfortunately, this means that many of us will not be able to see all of our loved ones in-person this holiday season.

So whether you're trying to connect with family members from a distance, or thinking about mailing a homemade holiday treat to a friend in a different city or state, sending baked goods is a great way to let people know you are thinking about them even if you can't physically be together. 

However, there's nothing more disappointing than putting all that hard work into baking, only to realize your tasty handiwork was damaged in the shipping process. Domino Sugar offers some helpful hints on the best ways to make sure your handmade treats arrive at their destination in the same shape they left your oven. To ensure your baked treats are received in optimal condition, avoid these common mistakes when sending them through the mail.

Choose your baked goods wisely

Mistake one is choosing crumbly creations, explains Domino Sugar. When deciding which tasty treats you want to send to friends, don't choose pastries that are brittle and crumble easily, like scones or Napoleons, or soft, gooey pastries, like eclairs. Frosting-heavy sweets are also a no-no. Instead, firm, moist treats — such as muffins, pound cakes, or cookies — are most likely to survive the shipping process in one piece.

The second mistake people often make is picking the wrong packaging. Choosing the right shipping container is perhaps the most important part of the mailing process. However, before you even place the baked goods in the box, they should be covered with wax paper and wrapped in plastic wrap. Breads and cakes travel best when they are left in aluminum pans, while smaller treats, like cookies and brownies, should be placed in individual bags and stacked securely inside a tin to prevent breakage. Once the goods are packed, fill any empty space left inside the food container with crumpled wax paper to prevent the goods from shifting.

Pack your sweets tightly in a durable box

For the best results, place the baked goods inside their own tightly sealed container, and then place that container inside its own box for shipping. According to UPS, a sturdy, corrugated box sealed with pressure-sensitive packing tape is a smart bet. It's also important to choose a box that hasn't been mailed before, which can weaken its structural integrity. It should be large enough to allow for additional padding to cushion the container of baked goods on all sides, too.

Another mistake people make are forgetting to tightly pack baked good, allowing as little room as possible for them to shift during transit. All empty space left in the box should be cushioned with bubble wrap, packing pellets, and crumpled paper, says Domino Sugar. Once the baked goods are safely surrounded with packaging on all sides, securely seal the box with packing tape.

Once the box is safely packed, the final step is to label it "perishable," address it to your loved one, and let the post office take it from there. Using these smart shipping techniques will make it easy to spread holiday cheer, even from a distance.