Tips for Holiday Baking

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!

22 Responses to “Tips for Holiday Baking”

  1. raquel — November 30, 2011 at 5:21 am

    this is a great tip for me I usually cramming my self during holidays =) I already copy paste it print and will post it on my ref. lol


  2. Kathryn — November 30, 2011 at 6:02 am

    I’m definitely bookmarking this post for next week when I start thinking about my holiday baking. Very useful advice!


  3. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — November 30, 2011 at 6:19 am

    Love these tips! Even though Christmas baking is really fun, it can be stressful. I”ll keep these tips in mind!


  4. Tara @ The Butter Dish — November 30, 2011 at 8:14 am

    What great ideas. Too often we (myself included) we step into the kitchen and start pulling things from our pantries, not really having laid out the best plan of action for getting the task done.

    This is definitely “Pinterest” worthy.


  5. the tasty tRuth — November 30, 2011 at 9:10 am

    I love the frosted bitten-into gingerbread man! What classy impatience! :) Thanks for sharing your tips.


  6. Cookbook Queen — November 30, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Love all these tips!! And I agree–I HATE running to the store mid-baking to pick up eggs. UGH. Especially around holiday time when traffic and parking lots are insanely packed!!


  7. Candice @ Sailing on Paper — November 30, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    Thanks so much for this! I don’t have that much baking to do, but since I’m a new baker, these tips will be very helpful :)


  8. Ann P. — November 30, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Great tips! I agree–i hate running to the store for random missing ingredients! These are all such good reminders for the holiday season, especially when baking/cooking can get overwhelming.


  9. Kiran @ — November 30, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Great tips! I’ve got to get a hang on the list — rushing now to get the eggs. Duh!!!


  10. Michele — November 30, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Great tips! Good things to keep in mind.


  11. Mary Ellen — November 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    Not to “promote” anything, but Martha Stewart makes beautiful cookie boxes. My recipients ooh and ah every year over them. They always work great and after using Michael’s 40% off coupon, are pretty economical.


  12. lisa@cluttercafe — November 30, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks Jamie! I asked Santa to bring me some organizational skills last year, but I guess I was on the naughty list. I guess I’ll have to take it upon myself :)
    I’m saying this as I need to run to the store to pick up a forgotten ingredient


  13. nicole {sweet peony} — November 30, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    these are really great tips jamie! thank you for taking the time to share! i can’t wait to start my holiday baking!


  14. Jen — November 30, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    What I’ve been doing (since last year) is measuring out the dry ingredients and sugar(s) ahead of time. For my chocolate chip cookies, for example, I’ve got one ziplock bag w/ white & brown sugars, and another with the flour, salt, and baking soda.

    I’ll probably spend one or two days mixing up all the doughs so they can chill, then spend a few days doing all the baking.


    • Mary Ellen — December 3, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      I do this too! Saves Soooooo much time and headache.

  15. Jen at The Three Little Piglets — December 1, 2011 at 8:54 am

    While stocking the pantry, it’s a great idea to stock up on gift containers and bags as well and place them together in a basket in the pantry. I always throw in a pair of scissors, some jute twine, and some assorted holiday ribbon, and a few gift tags. That way once you’ve baked your treats, you don’t have to scramble to get them ready to head out the door.


  16. Tickled Red — December 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Great tips because I so need to work on getting the holidays under some sort of control. Right now they have me in a corner twitching ;D


  17. Heather @ Kids in the Sink — December 1, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    These are great tips! I am usually all over the place when it comes to cooking and baking and I have recently started getting more organized and I am finding that it makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable!


  18. Tracy — December 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Great tips Jamie! I can always use a little more organization in the kitchen!


  19. Belle — December 2, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    so glad i stumbled across your blog its kept me occupied for hours!


  20. Tara — December 2, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Great tips, will definitely have to keep some of these in mind….thanks!


  21. Mary Ellen — December 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I’d like to also give a huge thumbs up to the photographer. The white balance is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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