People are always asking me this question and I typically say, "A week!" I need to rethink that answer. Don't be ridiculous. These cookies don't ever hang around long enough to actually go stale, but I have never put it to the REAL test. When I returned to my office after Christmas, I found a couple of cookies that didn't make it to their destinations before we left for the holidays, and they were sitting on my conference table. Right as I started to throw them in the trash, that same old question resonated in my head. These cookies were baked the week of December 10 and were left in my office from December 15 until now. They were sealed in the bags using the heat sealer we all love so no air was getting to them. I noticed that the red color eventually bled a little into the white brim of the hat and one eye was squished. Just before raking them into the trash, I decided to open one and taste a little crumb just to see (in the interest of science, of course) just HOW stale they were.
The first thing I noticed was that the frosting was a little harder than usual, but not as hard as if we used meringue powder (royal frosting). That little crumb tasted like butter, so I bit off a bigger piece. Y'all. I ate that whole cookie! It was not as yummy as a fresh cookie but it was a long way from being garbage! It was definitely still edible. The colors were a little more dull but dang! In The Cookie School test kitchen we have to give credit for it being at least consumable. Fresher cookies are prettier but these Santas don't have to be trashed. I guess it makes sense why cookies are sold in boutiques. They can stay on the shelf for several weeks and still be yummy when you eat them.
My recommendation: If someone gives you a delicious Cookie School cookie, take a picture, then eat it. That is the best way to have your cookie and eat it too!