Last Updated on January 6, 2023
Have you ever wondered what to do with stale cookies? Before tossing them out, read some of our creative ideas on how you can re-use them!
What Exactly Are Stale Cookies And What Causes Them?
Is there anything worse than desperately craving a delicious cookie and realizing that it has gone stale? It is the worst! Before looking at what to do with stale cookies, let's look at what causes this to happen.
Well, the most common reason for cookies going stale is that they weren't stored correctly. Like most baked goodies (and especially moist cookies), the air is their worst enemy.
We won't go into too much detail. But, basically what happens is that the water molecules in the air bind with the starch inside of the baked item. This causes a chemical reaction to take place which creates this very unpleasant stale texture.
Cookies are often left in their packaging without it being closed. Another common occurrence is that the cookies were left on a plate for much too long. Or even that they were "cooled" on the wire rack after baking for hours on end.
But, stale cookies can also simply be old cookies. While they do have a long shelf life, it doesn't last forever.
How to tell if your cookies have gone stale?
Cookies have little moisture in them after they have been baked. Even if they are moist, their moisture levels have still decreased. This is what gives cookies their crunchy texture.
Now, stale cookies have two different types of textures. This is usually determined by the type of cookie you have and the ingredients used to make it. Many environmental factors will affect the stale texture.
When your cookie has become extremely soft and pliable, it is a sign it has gone stale. However, if it becomes rock hard and dry, it is also stale. However, both of these textures are very bland and dry.
Can you use stale cookies?
Before you toss out some old cookies, hear us out! There are hundreds of delicious ways you can use stale cookies. And no, not just plain old vanilla wafers, but virtually any other kind of cookie too.
The one condition to this rule is to ensure they aren't too old. When cookies start smelling or completely changing texture and color, they should immediately be discarded. However, when they are only stale, they are usable and safe to eat.
The best way to use stale cookies is ones that will hide the dry crumbly texture. So, this can be as a crumble, as an ice cream sandwich, or as part of other freshly baked goodies like brownies.
What To Do With Stale Cookies?
Below we have created a list of some of the most creative ways to use stale cookies. And, these techniques can be used for virtually all flavors and types. Just make sure they pair well with the rest of the recipe.
1. Pie crusts
Pie crusts are a great way to utilize stale cookies. You can use soft stale cookies or ones that have gone extremely hard. You can even use faulty-baked cookies in pie crusts if you'd like.
To make a cookie pie crust, simply combine 2 cups of cookie crumbs with roughly ¼ - ½ cup melted butter. Then, once you have a uniform mixture, press the crust into the pie dish or baking pan and pre-bake it.
What makes this technique even better is that you can adjust the consistency of the crumb using a food processor. This will help when using different kinds of cookies.
2. Cookie butter
If you haven’t had cookie butter before, you are missing out big time! Cookie butter is one of those things that you're probably going to end up eating from the jar instead of using it as intended.
This butter makes an extremely delicious crunchy topping for other baked goods. And, the good news is that it needs crispy cookie chunks. So, if you have soft stale cookies, simply crisp them up in the oven before incorporating them into the butter.
To make cookie butter at home, combine crushed cookies with some sugar, butter, and cream (To adjust the consistency). Cook this mixture until it gets a peanut-butter consistency. Then, add some additional crumbs for texture.
Brownies are always a winner! Why not elevate them adding a rocky road twist? Add chopped pieces of stale cookies into your brownie batter along with some marshmallows and nuts.
Slightly under-bake the brownies to get that uber-gooey texture that melts in your mouth!
4. Chocolate bark
Chocolate bark can be used for so many things! It can be a snack or used as a decorative garnish on cakes, pies, or even sweet pastries.
Bulk up your chocolate bark by chopping some stale cookies and scattering them on the surface of the slab. It adds flavor and texture!
Truffles are known for their lusciously smooth and creamy texture. However, by adding a delicious cookie crumble crust on the outside, you will elevate these to a whole new level!
You can even make a chocolate ball with crumbs before coating it with more chocolate.
6. Ice cream sandwiches
Ice cream sandwiches are a fun and genius way to use old cookies! Simply place a giant scoop of your favorite ice cream between two cookies.
The creaminess and moisture help hide the dry crumbly texture and acts as the ultimate serving vessel. Trust us, your kids will love it!
Inspiration For Different Kinds Of Cookies
- Chocolate chip cookie bread pudding
- Chocolate chip cookie milkshake
- Chocolate chip cookie butter
- Chocolate chip cookie pops
- Fruit salad toppings
- Apple pie crumble
- Green salad “crouton topping”
- Ice cream sandwiches
- Sugar cookie truffles
- Decorated Christmas tree decorations
- Protein oatmeal bites
- Bake into oatmeal granola
How Do You Make Leftover Biscuits Crispy Again?
While not quite cookies, leftover biscuits are super easy to crisp up again. There are a few ways to reheat them; let's take a look.
- Oven. All you need to do is line a sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 350F. Place the biscuits on the sheet and bake for around 5-7 minutes. Remove from oven and then brush lightly with butter. Serve and enjoy!
- Microwave. All you need to do is cover the biscuits with damp paper towels and place them in a microwave-safe bowl or plate. Heat for around 1 minute; longer, if needed. Remove from paper towels and serve.
- Pan. Brush lightly with butter and wrap in foil. Once your pan is hot, add the biscuits and leave for a few minutes; flipping halfway through. Unwrap and serve.
What To Do With Leftover Girl Scout Cookies?
If you have any leftover Girl Scout cookies, there's a huge variety of other recipes you can make from them. Some of my favorite choices include:
- mini cupcakes
- coconut cream pie with a cookie crust
- ice cream cake
- ice cream sandwich
- Bundt cake
- cookie fudge
- no bake cheesecake
One of my favorite ways to use them up is to make coffee cake!
Coffee cake recipe:
For this recipe you'll need:
- Your leftover cookies
- ¼ cup of oil
- ½ cup of milk
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup of sugar
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of melted butter
Now all you need to do is:
- Grease a baking pan and preheat your oven to 375F.
- Break your cookies into small pieces and leave them on one side.
- Grab a bowl and add the milk, oil, and egg.
- In another bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Add the mixtures together and stir well.
- Add half the batter to the prepared pan and add around half of the crumbled cookies.
- Add the rest of the batter, and then the remaining cookies.
- Pour the melted butter over the top and bake for around 25 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
What To Do With Leftover Cookie Icing?
If you have any cookie icing left over, there's a range of ways you can use it up and make the most of every drop. Some of my top picks include:
- Preparing royal icing decorations or sprinkles for future use. These will keep for a few weeks if stored correctly, and you'll be saving yourself time in the future.
- Cake pops. Adding broken pieces of cake with the cookie icing and then putting on a popsicle stick is quick, easy, and delicious!
- Glaze. Turn your cookie icing into a glaze and pour over other baked goods such as cinnamon rolls or cakes.
- Coating. Use it as a coating to make icing-coated Oreos, pretzels, or even candy!
- Decorate more cookies. Why not make yourself another batch of cookies and use up the icing that way?
Should I Refrigerate Leftover Crumble Cookies?
There is no definitive answer to this. It all comes down to which type of cookie it is. Crumble serve both chilled and not chilled cookies. If your cookie is chilled, it should be kept in the fridge if you have any leftovers. If not, it can be kept at room temperature. However, I've always found that cookies last longer in the fridge than anywhere else. Alternatively, you can freeze it in an airtight container for 2-3 months.
How to Use Leftover Fortune Cookies?
If you have any fortune cookies left over, there's a range of ways to use them up. Some of my favorites include:
- dipping into chocolate
- making croutons for salads or stir-fries
- using as a Graham cracker substitute
- eating them as a snack
- making a sundae/parfait - simply ice cream, with fortune cookies on top
So, what to do with stale cookies? As you can see there are many ways you can utilize them, you just need to be a little creative! Let us know how you usually save your old cookies or what you think of our techniques!
What to do with stale chocolate chip cookies?
Chocolate chip cookies are best used in bread and butter pudding that will help soften the texture and add a delicious gooey flavor. You can also use it for cookie butter or to make cookie pops.
What to do with stale fortune cookies?
These thin cookies will make an excellent crispy topping for fruit salads or as part of an apple pie. You can even use them to make delicious pie and tart crusts if the cookie hasn't gone soft.
What to do with stale sugar cookies?
Sugar cookies can be beautifully decorated and used as Christmas ornaments or to make cookie houses with. But, if they aren't rock solid and still edible, you can easily make a trifle, chocolate bonbons or truffles, or ice cream sandwiches.
What to do with stale oatmeal cookies?
Oatmeal cookies are perfect additions to protein bars or to make a delicious crunchy granola. You can also incorporate them into cheesecake crusts, or as a simple chocolate bar slab.
Lindy Van Schalkwyk is a culinary specialist with a background in Advanced Cooking, Advanced Pâtisserie, Media Communications and Nutrition. She has gained invaluable experience in the culinary industry having worked in some of the top restaurants in Africa in 2016 and 2017. Her expertise in nutrition has enabled her to develop recipes for special dietary needs. In 2018, Lindy began working in the Food Media industry, focusing on recipe development, recipe writing, food writing and food styling.