Thursday, December 6, 2012

Organizing Your Christmas Baking

I love holiday baking. I love to make cookies, chocolate-dipped pretzels, truffles, breads and other treats for friends and family.  There is nothing like the aroma of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger in the house. It smells like home.

One of the great things about holiday baking is how much of it can be done ahead of time. And since most cookies freeze well, it also means that you can make extra — and have some of those yummy, homemade cookies for later.

Planning Your Holiday Baking

To start, make a list and check it twice. Get a general idea of what you plan to bake and how many. Have you gotten your recipes and ideas together? Do you have all the containers you will need for your cookies and baked goods? 

Check twice over all your recipes to make sure that you have all of the ingredients for each
recipe. Also check the quantities you need — before you start! I hate when I start—or even worse —get halfway through a recipe and realize that I don't have enough butter or eggs. (It usally means I need to put on decent clothes to go to the store).  So make your shopping list for any ingredients or other supplies that you’ll need to get.

Use parchment paper. Even if you've never used it. This is the time to become parchment paper friendly. Put it on your shopping list if you have none. You will be glad later. If you are making a lot of cookies at once, you will want to line your cookie sheets with parchment paper. The cookies will slide right off your baking sheet and you can pop another batch in the oven. (Allow your cookie sheet to cool down before starting a new batch.)

Look at prep times and bake times. Some cookie doughs needs to chill. If you are making a recipe like this; then you can make this first so that you can work on other cookies while the dough chills. You might also want to make cookies that bake at the lowest temperature first so that you can increase the temperature in your oven as you go rather than having to wait on it to cool down. (this can same crucial time.)

Always allow you cookies to cool before decorating. And also, always allow them them to cool before storing or packaging them. A great investment will be in a cooling rack if you don't have one.


And a biggie. Don't forget to clean you mess as you go. It’s much easier to clean up sticky and gooey messes when they are fresh than to wait until they’re hard and crusty.

Festive Cookie Gift Packaging

During the holidays you can find some very some cute little boxes or bags to hold all of your beautiful baked goodies. And some are as little as a dollar or two. Then use some festive-colored plastic wrap and a little curling ribbon to seal in the freshness of the baked goodies. Line the inside of the boxes with tissue paper. You can even make this a memory if you include the recipe.

Simply type recipes into a word document, and size them to about the normal size of an index card. On the front include the ingredients……and on the back the directions. To make it even more festive. You can tape the recipe onto two pieces of holiday wrapping paper that is back-to-back, and then seal it with laminate. To make it even more festive; add a holiday clip art image or two. Punch a hole in the corner and attach it with the ribbon to the box. Can you say cute?!




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