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Friday, November 21, 2014

Can I ship cookies to Australia?

“Can I ship gingerbread cookies to Australia?”

With the holidays coming up, one of our patrons was planning how she’d send her Christmas cookies to her friend overseas. She wanted to know if they’d last the trip and if they’d be able to clear customs once they arrived.

We checked the Australia Customs and Border Protection website and found that there shouldn’t be any need to pay taxes or duties on the cookies, since they wouldn’t be worth more than AUD1,000. The prohibited imports list includes porpoises, certain novelty erasers, and radioactive material, but cookies are in the clear.

They should also still be fresh by the time they arrive. According to Nancy Baggett’s The All-American Cookie Book and Tish Boyle’s The Good Cookie, gingerbread cookies can be stored in an airtight container for three to four weeks. Christmas Cookies Are for Giving by Kristin Johnson and Mimi Cummins cautions bakers that crispy cookies like gingerbread break more easily in transit. Johnson and Cummins recommend baking the cookies in small geometric shapes (cutout circles, for instance, will be more likely to make it in one piece than cutout reindeer) and packing them carefully.

Fortunately, Christmas Cookies Are for Giving and the Land O’ Lakes website both have tips on how to pack the cookies so that they survive their journey. Our patron will need a rigid container (such as a tin), bubble wrap, plastic wrap or tinfoil, and another large box for shipping that allows for at least two inches of cushion all around the cookie container. First, use plastic wrap or tinfoil to wrap together similarly-sized cookies in packages of four to six. Line the container, putting bubble wrap in the bottom and a piece of plastic wrap or tinfoil on top of it that will be big enough to cover the cookies once they’re all packed. Layer the cookies in the container, separating the layers with more bubble wrap or crumpled up tissue paper. Once the cookies are all in, cover them with a final layer of bubble wrap and wrap the extra lining over them before sealing the container. Put the container inside the large box and surround it with packing material (either more bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or crumpled up newspaper). Tape up the box securely and be sure to mark it perishable, and the gingerbread cookies should be able to make their journey.

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