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Mar 29, 2010 03:12 PM

Gingerbread cookie dough - maximum fridge storage time?

Hello, Toronto Chowhounds,

Can anyone tell me how long homemade gingerbread cookie dough (wrapped in plastic and then aluminium foil) can be stored in the fridge? I made some on a Wednesday night and then kept it in the fridge until early the following Tuesday morning, after which, not having enough time to roll and bake it, I transferred it to the freezer in the same wrapping.

In addition to containing 3 cups flour, an egg and butter, I might add that there is a fair amount of spice in the dough - 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each nutmeg and cloves.

Do you think it will still be ok or should I toss it?

Thank you very much!

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  1. the problem is the uncooked egg. if you had immediately frozen the dough it would have been fine, but since it sat in the fridge for nearly a week you should toss it. raw eggs, once cracked, are only safe for 3-4 days max.

    1. I wouldn't worry about the raw egg at all. The high amount of sugar in cookie dough acts as a natural preservative, and raw cookie dough can be kept in the fridge for a month or more. We've actually done bacterial testing that shows that chocolate chunk cookie dough sows no increased bacteria when stored in a sealed container for over three months!

      2 Replies
      1. re: felixnorton

        "sealed" container may be the key there. depending on how it's handled, and what the bacterial content is like before it's wrapped, i still don't know that i'd risk it, particularly if other people are going to be eating the cookies. even the mass-produced, packaged refrigerated doughs that are loaded with preservatives are supposed to be used within a week of breaking the seal.

        ETA: though the sugar in the dough can *slow* bacterial activity, it may not stop it depending on the amount of sugar in the recipe.

        1. re: goodhealthgourmet

          Thanks, goodhealthgourmet and felixnorton, for your insights. I just wanted to add that the dough also contains:

          1/2 cup white sugar
          2/3 cup unsulphured molasses

          ...just in case you have further thoughts...

          And Happy Easter to all!

      2. I often keep gingerbread dough for a week, a week and a half and have never had problems. But it depends on your level of comfort. Some people are very strict about raw eggs, others less so, and it is unlikely the twain shall meet. Food safety is one of those oddly polarizing topics.

        My feeling is, if it looks good, and smells good, it's probably fine. I hate food wastage. But if it seems off in any significant way, I will toss it. But I suspect I am fairly lax on the relative scale of things.

        Some of our greatest food items are the result of "accidental spoilage" like cheese, yogurt wine, alcohol, kimchi, miso, huitlachoche, just to name a few items. Good beef is better when aged a bit (ie. allowed to rot). There are so many wonderful things we would not have had we been always strict about food freshness. No doubt starvation periods have aided this cause.

        I suspect there are people who would be very uncomfortable eating at my house. But, my friends and family seem to think we eat well, and so far knock on wood, no known health issues. My few food illnesses have been related to eating out, not in.

        I would add one caveat, which is that I am not sure about the effects of freezing it later on. When you freeze it, you only suspend bacterial growth, and when you defrost it, its starts up right away again. But again, I am of the inclination that if it looked perfectly good when you froze it, it is probably fine. But you have to find your own comfort zone.