image credit: Good Life Eats

It seems like as soon as the calendar flips to December my inbox gets flooded with questions about Tips for Holiday Baking. MBA readers are looking for ways to make the holiday baking experience as productive and rewarding as possible. I’m sure we have all had those baking mishaps that seem to be hilarious to everyone but you! As a result, I have decided to make a list of tips and must-haves for your holiday baking extravaganza.

Get Organized

The first thing I always suggest my readers to do is GET ORGANIZED! Organization is key for maintaining your for your sanity, so start by making a list of the items that you want to bake and the ingredients that you’ll need. Nothing ruins the “baking zone” more than having to run to store to pick up that forgotten ingredient, especially when its something as trivial as eggs! Always start several days prior to “D-day” and make sure you have a plan of attack so you can get right to the good stuff on your baking day. This may also include deciding what can be made ahead of time to freeze and be used used in coming weeks such as cookie dough and pie crusts.

Clean Up and Organize

After you’ve created your “must make” list, you’ll have a good idea of the kind of space you’ll need for storage and preparation. Cleaning out your pantries and refrigerator can reduce some of the stress that comes with finding room for all your finished products. I think most of us have experienced a surprise pantry attack – ya know, when you open the door and things come tumbling out on your toes. Organizing your space ahead of time will definitely decrease your stress level and increase your sanity.

Pantry Check

Once you’ve cleaned and organized, conduct an inventory of your pantry, freezer and refrigerator. You’ll obviously want to make sure having staple ingredients on hand such as butter, eggs, a variety of sugars, flour, baking soda, and powder without question. I also like to think about including some of the not so obvious items, such as an assortment of nuts, a variety of chocolates, and your fall and winter spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cardamom, and ginger. A quick check list will ensure that you aren’t wasting money by purchasing duplicate items.

Get Your Friends and Family Involved

Baking doesn’t have to be a chore that MUST get done. Begin a yearly tradition with family and friends where your special baking buds gather together for an all-day baking event. It gets especially interesting when you allow everyone a hand in decorating sugar cookies. I’m crazy, so no one touches my sugar cookies!

However, if you look forward to the serenity of baking alone, you can also facilitate a cookie exchange, where everyone bakes a couple dozen of their favorite cookies, and each person gets an assortment of cookies for themselves. This can save you time if your family is big on variety and who knows, you just might happen upon a brand new cookie recipe.

Wrap It Up

No gift is more appreciated than a homemade gift of sweet treats for your friends, co-workers and neighbors. What’s better than a variety of homemade cookies and candies wrapped up in festive packaging? Scrolling through Pinterest has proven to be a great way to get inspired by fun holiday crafts and creative gift ideas for the holiday season. I have many simple and beautiful items pinned on my Holiday Inspiration Board that are sure to turn you into Martha Stewart in no time!

Overall, this is certainly one of my favorite baking times of the year. Nothing beats the smell of a gingerbread cookie or the smell of an apple pie baking to perfection. I have created some amazing memories and overabundance of favorite recipes over the years. This is my opportunity to share with you some quick tips on how to take the stress out of the season and put the fun in!

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