Holiday Hustle: Baking Tips
For Perfect Christmas Confections
Part of what makes the holidays so much fun and personal is the baking we do for friends, family and gatherings. Making Christmas confections warms up the house and fills the air with scents of cinnamon, pumpkin and ginger. It's a lot of work, but it's worth it -- if everything turns out right! Here are 6 baking tips for perfect Christmas confections.
Keep It Simple
With all of the shopping, wrapping and holiday events to attend, your schedule has to be very organized. Make a list of all the items you want to make. When you're done with that, pare it down even further. It's easy to imagine that you can whip up five different kinds of cookies, but baking invariably takes more time than you plan for. Keep your list short and bake in bulk to make your cookies efficiently at the highest quality.
Formulate A Plan
Make a list of all the ingredients you need to add to your grocery list. If you have to go to the grocery store before you can get your list together, here's what you need for just about any baking project:
- Large eggs
- Whole milk
- Unsalted butter
- All-purpose flour
- Vanilla extract
Once you have your ingredients list, check it up against what you already have in the pantry. Items like spices can be expensive and take a while to get through, so they're not things you want to have in excess and taking up space. Same with baking soda and baking powder; you won't use them fast enough to warrant having extra for future projects. In short, make sure you don't have what you need before you put it on your grocery list.
Take a look at your pantry and refrigerator and do a quick clean up. Get rid of anything you know you won't get around to eating so you can have space for all the items you plan to use and make.
If something is fresh from the oven, it doesn't mean it was made that day. A lot of batters and doughs can be mixed days before they're baked. If tree decorating comes between you and your one day for a bakeathon, you can break up the tasks. Mix together your cookie dough on Thursday night, throw it in the refrigerator or freezer, and bake it on Sunday. It breaks things up a bit so it seems like less work to put it all together as well as clean up.
Unlike cooking vegetables, baking is an exact science. All of the ingredients have to be measured and scaled precisely. If you're not an experienced baker, don't try to improvise -- your idea might not work and you don't have the time or ingredients to waste on serving your baked goods to the garbage. Make sure you have proper measuring spoons and cups, as well as baking dishes that are the sizes your recipes call for. For making the finished product look nice, use scoops for cookie dough and muffin or cupcake batter.
The Lakeside Collection has everything to make your holidays sparkle! From baking dishes to help you make your spiced cakes and sugar cookies to holiday shower curtains and cheap books for kids to give your holiday guests a warm welcome, shop Lakeside for anyone and everyone on your holiday list.