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5 Tips to Make Holiday Baking Easier
Baking cookies and putting together holiday treats one of the best parts of Christmas! But waiting until just a few days before the holiday to bake several batches of different kinds of cookies can be a recipe for holiday stress!
There is nothing quite as satisfying as putting together a plate of homemade Christmas cookies to enjoy with friends and family. These holiday baking tips will keep you from spending hours in your kitchen just days before Christmas and allow you to enjoy some fresh baked goodness right out of the oven!
- Make Ahead.
Many cookie dough recipes can be made in advance and frozen. Chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, gingerbread and sugar cookies just to name a few. Make the batter up to a month in advance, roll out the dough into balls (for gingerbread and sugar cookies, make one log or pre-cut with cookie cutters), then place the dough balls on a cookie sheet and place them in the freezer for about an hour. Just long enough for the outside to freeze. Take them out and place them in a freezer bag. Label the bag with the type of cookie, temperature and cooking time, adding a few minutes for frozen cookies, and place them back in the freezer. When it’s time to put your cookie platters together, just bake.
- Use Large Quantity Recipes.
Recipes that only make a dozen or so cookies will have you working hard if you’re making them to give as gifts. Choose recipes that make at least several dozen cookies or bars. Sugar cookies and gingerbread cookies can be cut with smaller cookie cutters so that they go further. Shortbread cookies can be made in on large pan and cut into small pieces. Look for recipes that will provide the quantity you need in just one batch.
- Make No Bake Recipes.
Try some no bake bar or candy recipes to avoid the extra step of baking as well as the extra cleanup of cookie sheets and cooling racks, not to mention decorating tools.
- Keep It Simple.
Limit the number of different recipes that you will make. If you’re baking to put gifts together, make all your gift boxes with the same items and make just 3-4 different recipes. If you try to bake 6 or 7 different recipes, you’ll spend all your time in the kitchen instead of enjoying time with loved ones.
- Decorate Store-Bought Cookies.
If you need an extra filler for your gift boxes, try store-bought cookies. Oreos and Nutter Butter’s can be dipped in dark, milk or white chocolate and topped with holiday sprinkles. Twinkies are great dipped in chocolate too. Chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies can be easily turned into sandwich cookies by spreading frosting or cream between them.