MICHELE NORRIS, Host:
And now, for a travel segment, a sweet travel segment.
NORRIS: In which the sweets do the traveling.
NORRIS: That's Dorie Greenspan, author of "Baking: From My Home to Yours." Not only is she a great teacher - she's been helping me learn about baking for the past year - she's also a creative gift giver. I found this out when she showed up at my house last month with a canvas bag full of cookies and cakes with not a crumb out of place.
Dorie arrived with tips for packing your baked goods. You might be carrying them across town or across the country as you travel to see loved ones or maybe you're shipping your desserts across the country or halfway around the world.
NORRIS: Keep in mind, when you're thinking about baking for traveling, you want sweets that are sturdy, sweets that are moist and sweets that aren't sticky. So all those wonderful icings and jammy toppings and frostings - those are not for travel. And here...
NORRIS: While she pulled box after box out of her bag, Dorie explained that recipes with dried fruit are good because fruit holds moisture, and anything soaked in alcohol, because alcohol serves as a great preservative.
NORRIS: Air is really the enemy of freshness.
NORRIS: So don't skimp on that cling wrap. But remember, they're gifts. We can't send gifts in cling wrap. Dorie wrapped her brownies first in plastic, and then in a festive layer of pink polka-dotted tissue paper. Her biscotti, a great traveling cookie because it's hard and crisp, were wrapped three to a pack and in fuchsia.
NORRIS: Like cookies with like cookies. If you put a moist cookie with a crisp cookie, they'll both be moist at the end and chewy. If you put gingerbread cookie that has a lot of spice and aroma with a plain shortbread, the shortbread will take on the spicy flavor.
NORRIS: If shipping your home-baked gifts, Dorie says make sure to use plenty of packing material.
NORRIS: In fact, my favorite packing material is right here.
NORRIS: I'm guessing from the grease stains on the outside of this brown bag...
NORRIS: It's a little bit of a giveaway.
NORRIS: ...that they're popcorn. Indeed, there is, a big, gigantic bag of popcorn.
NORRIS: A big, gigantic bag of popcorn, which serves the same purpose as Styrofoam peanuts but is like a separate, little gift. So you can eat your packing. This is my favorite bundt cake. It's the tongue twister bundt cake. It's the nutty, chocolatey, swirly, sour cream bundt cake.
NORRIS: Hmm. Pack it up. And I'm shaking the box to make sure it doesn't move too much.
NORRIS: And it doesn't. It's just fine.
NORRIS: Like you said. It's sturdy. It's not moving at all.
NORRIS: Yup. It can be turned upside-down, sideways. And I'm sure the post office will turn it upside-down and sideways. It will be...
NORRIS: Right, right. And then maybe throw it down a chute or two.
NORRIS: It'll be safe just like this.
NORRIS: Always good to talk to you, Dorie.
NORRIS: Great to be with you.
NORRIS: That's Dorie Greenspan, the author of "Baking: From My Home to Yours." And if you want to see more of these tips, go to our Web site, npr.org.
Well, we just couldn't resist. Packing a bundt cake in popcorn is one thing. Popping it into the mail is another. So to put this method to the test, we took the double-wrapped cake and shipped it from Washington, D.C. to Minnesota where someone who knows a thing or two about packing inspected our shipment of sweets. Our inspector is named Betty. She's a retired postal worker and she lives in Edina, just outside the twin cities.
(SOUNDBITE OF PACKING)
BETTY: Yeah, well - it's well packed, that's for sure. Oh, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. I see lots of popcorn. I'm lifting it up. Oh, wonderful.
NORRIS: It looks good?
BETTY: It looks very good.
NORRIS: We passed the test. What do you think of our method?
BETTY: You've passed the test. And guess what? I'm going to do now. I'm going to have a piece of cake.
NORRIS: And a strong cup of coffee.
BETTY: And a great cup of coffee.
NORRIS: All right. Thanks, mom.
BETTY: OK, talk to you later, dear.
NORRIS: And just so you know, it's nutty, chocolatey, swirly, sour cream bundt cake.
BETTY: Well, enough of this. I want to get to the cake.
NORRIS: Okay. All right. Bye. See you.
BETTY: Love you.
NORRIS: Love you, too.
SIEGEL: You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.