One of my favorite childhood memories is baking Christmas Cookies. I remember the huge green Tupperware bowl we used to mix big batches of peanut butter cookies. I remember the counters and tables covered with racks of cooling cookies and a house sweet with the smell of baking treats. I’m continuing that tradition now with our children, and they already love giving Christmas cookies as gifts to family and friends. We bring them to parties, donate plates to nonprofit organizations and share them with coworkers. I can’t imagine a Christmas without baking cookies. Along with cookies I love to bake pies and sweetbreads to bring to parties and give as hostess gifts.
Baking can quickly become a burden or get out of control if you do not have a plan or are not organized. Today we’re going to get our baking plans organized for Christmas!
1. What are you Baking for?
Before you run to the store and grab bags of chocolate chips 10 lb sacks of flour, think about WHY you are baking. WHO are you baking for? First, write down a list of all of the people, parties, and gifts you plan to use your baked treats for. My list might look something like this:
- Work party – 3 dozen cookies – 1 pie
- The Martins – 1 dozen
- The Smiths (neighbors) – 1 dozen – 1 pie
- The Browns (pastor) – 1 dozen
- Good Samaritan Shelter – 4 dozen – 3 pie
- Sunday School Teachers – 3 dozen
- Christmas Eve dinner – 3 dozen – 2 pies
- New Year’s eve party – 2 dozen – 2 pies
My grand total would be 18 dozen cookies! and 9 pies Eek! That’s a lot!
2. What will you be baking?
Now I list what treats I’ll be making:
- Peanut butter blossoms
- Russian Teacakes
- Oatmeal Cookies
- Chocolate chip bars
- Jam Thumbprint cookies
- Sugar cut cookies
- Pumpkin Pies
- Apple Pies
Once you have your list of goodies you can easily double or triple each recipe (depending on how many cookies each recipe yields).
* Quick tip – if you are known for baking the best oatmeal cookies in the world then save yourself time and make everyone happy by sticking to ONE RECIPE. Keep it simple! Make people happy! Give them your best!
3. Write your Grocery List
I usually grab all of the recipe cards or print recipes I have saved on the computer and grab a sheet of paper and write down every single ingredient item on each recipe with the quantity that I will need. This will seem tedious and your list might be very long, but remember you’re planning ahead now so you will be prepared when baking day comes along.
**Quick tip: I made a Christmas Planning notebook 2 years ago that has been a lifesaver. I’ve copied all of my favorite cookie, bread, cake, and pie recipes and put them in this book. I’ve even penciled on many recipes, the ingredients I would need if I doubled or tripled a recipe.
4. Take Inventory
Now that you’ve narrowed down every single ingredient that you’ll need to get baking, head into the kitchen and take inventory. Take your shopping list into the kitchen and cross off the items that you already have on hand. Once you’ve finished marking off all of the items that you have on hand you can head to the store!
5. Shop Early
Once you have a list of the ingredients you will need for your baking extravaganza start shopping. Shop early to find good deals and store them for later use. Start watching deal sites like Money Saving Mom and match up coupons with good sales to get your baking supplies at a great price.
6. Freeze what you can
Many cookie recipes can be made ahead and frozen. Each individual recipe varies but we love to make cookie dough and roll or drop the cookie dough on sheets and freeze, then pop the frozen cookie dough balls in baggies to use later. Some cookies even do well being baked and then frozen, although this is not my preferences
I’d love to hear the tips and tricks you use to get organized for Christmas Baking