HOLIDAY BAKING ESSENTIALS

Just like my previous post on Holiday Wrapping, Holiday Baking can be such a magical element of the Christmas season, however, it too can get overwhelming and stressful.  I always feel like there is such an expectation of having the perfect cookie spread (pretty sure that is a big western PA thing… cookies are a BIG deal there).  While I do bake during the holidays I wouldn’t say it is my favorite tradition….

I do my best, and in this blog post I am going to spill all my secrets!

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Let’s start with supplies.  Having the right supplies on hand makes a huge difference.  Here are a few of my favorites to use.

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Having a mixer is a game changer.  Spoiler — this is my first year with my kitchen aid, but honestly it is going to make a huge difference and save so much time… If the mixer is on your wish list, or isn’t your thing, a hand mixer is a necessity.  Next is bakeware.  These silicone baking mats were a purchase I made last year and they were worth every penny.  So convenient.  I am not big on cut out cookies because they take FOR-EV-ER and I don’t have the patience that my grandmother has.  BUT… if you are going to do it I suggest the Wilson Grippy Cutouts, the work so well, and make nice large cookies.

 

So now that we have supplies squared away lets talk tips.  Here are a few things I have learned over the years.  See, my grandmother is the baker in our family, growing up we would be shipped off to the farm to help her in the kitchen for a weekend baking away.  I learned SOOOO many lessons, not only about making the perfect sugar cookie during those times.

  1.  Collect Family Recipes – Those are the ones your friends and family are going to enjoy most.  Not some fancy Pinterest creation, but a recipe that has been handed down for generations.
  2. Start EARLY and Freeze –  Utilize your freezer space.  Once you decide on a baking list for the holidays, START BAKING!  Most cookies can be frozen, so pick the ones that freeze the best and start with those.  To freeze most cookies I make, I just wrap them in parchment paper by the half dozen, put in a sandwich bag, and then the entire batch into a freezer bag.  That way it’s easy to pull out more as needed.
  3. Baking Grocery Run – I like to make a trip to the store solely to pick up ALL the baking supplies I will need to accomplish the recipes on my list.  That way if I have a day with some downtime, I can bake without having to run to the store last minute. Also having a dedicated cabinet to organize supplies is a big help in the kitchen!
  4. Make A List – Decide ahead of time what you will be using the baked goods for.  Some like to use them as gifts to neighbors, teachers, community members.  I love the idea of making an assorted plate of cookies and delivering to your local fire house or police station.  From there decide how many cookies and treats you will need.  Planning it out and then saving your list from year to year helps the prep time.
  5. Don’t Force Yourself To Finish – If you make it halfway through your list, and you are JUST OVER BAKING, then STOP!  It is meant to be festive and enjoyable.

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So now the fun part!  Here is my 2017 Baking List with links to recipes I use (or similar recipes if it is a family recipe I don’t have the permission to share)

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Chocolate Chip Cookies
Snickerdoodles
Sugar Cookies
Oatmeal Toffee
Confetti Cookies
Oreo Balls
Buckeyes
Rice Krispie Treats
M&M Cookies
Pretzel M&M Hugs
Christmas Puppy Chow
No Bake Cookies
Nut Rolls — THESE ARE A PITA but my husbands fav, so a must make every year!
Christmas Cookie Sticks – A new recipe I want to try this year!

To see the full Pinterest Board —- CLICK HERE!

I hope this helps get a jumpstart on your holiday baking!  If you want more organizing ideas during this holiday season be sure to Head to YOUTUBE and SUBSCRIBE as I will be posting a new video every day!

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