It’s that time of year again when your most passed down and cherished holiday cookie, pie and other sugar plum treats make its way to your neighbor, child’s teacher, office or family gathering to satisfy as only a Christmas goodie can. It actually takes quite a bit of forethought to pull off that holiday baking effectively so here is a top 5 list of “must dos” to get organized, stay stress free and have fun in the kitchen:
1. Make a List and Check It Twice
Grab those well worn cookbooks and ear-tabbed sheets of paper that hold your most favorite and tried and true recipes. Write down which recipes you’ll be using and who will be the recipients. Check it again to make sure you’ve reasonably estimated the cost, as well as you have the time to fit it all in. Check your calendar to ensure you have left yourself ample time to make and deliver any that are gifts.
2. Make It All Pretty
Once you know what you’ll be baking and for whom spend some time thinking about how you’ll wrap and adorn these delights. You’ll want the anticipation of what’s inside to be just as exciting as that first bite. Mason jars, paper boxes, decorative tins, bakers twine, clear bags, labels and tags are a good place to start. Use your imagination…and start stocking up!
3. Eyeball Your Pantry
You may not have the time (or inclination) to clean out your entire pantry but spend some time seeing what you do (or don’t) have. Pitch expired and old ingredients (especially baking powder and sodas, flours, and spices) and make a note of what needs to be replaced and repurchased. Take a quick gander at your recipes and add on any new ingredients you may not have.
4. Do You Have All the Right Tools
Nothing is worse than having the cookie dough all ready to go and your assembly-line production gets held up because you are a baking sheet or two short. Make sure you have all the tools and pans ready to go. Add any missing items to your ingredient purchasing list.
5. Find Your Trusty Assistants
Pull out your heavy duty mixer, food processor and any other small appliance and related accessories, assess for dust and clean up as needed. And while your at it see which human helpers are going to be rolling up their sleeves too.
Bonus Tip (but probably pretty important):
Test run a batch especially if they are food gifts. This is a must for a new recipe and I am sure your family will be VERY happy to be the taste testers.
Now that you are armed with the essential ingredients for stress-free holiday baking, get the flour flying! And I’ll be a taste tester if you need one.