The tip to holiday baking is to do it all at once. I remember my grandma used to say, “It’s just as easy to make 4 dozen cookies as it is to make one.” Sure, she was referring to just a regular baking day, not the holidays, but the same principle applies.
I love baking. (Almost) every Wednesday I bake cookies or some other treat. So, a few weeks ago, instead of making just my regular batch of cookies, I made three. One batch of three different kinds of cookies. And you know what? It really didn’t take me much longer than making my regular batch. Here are the three types I made:
Click on any picture above to go to the recipe. (Yup, see that new tab at the top of the page? I’ll be posting a lot more recipes up there.)
Now here’s how to do the baking in bulk, and in advance. Did you know that you can make your cookie dough and freeze it for a few months? Sure can. I probably wouldn’t make it in July for Christmas (mostly because I know they would never last that long in the freezer at my house), but you could definitely do it at the end of October or early November. Just make the dough, shape it into balls, and set them on a pan covered with waxed paper. It doesn’t matter if they’re spaced out like they would be for baking, just put them as close together as you can, and pop the pan into the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Once they’re chilled just enough to keep their shape (but not long enough to get that freezer-burned taste) take them out, toss them into a Ziploc freezer bag, write the date on it and throw that into the freezer.
When you’re ready to bake them, take them out of the freezer and place on your baking sheet (this time, appropriately spaced for baking), let them thaw for a few minutes, and bake as directed in the recipe. You’ll then have rows and rows of deliciousness ready and waiting.
At this point, you could throw them on a plate and hand out to whomever you want. But that just wouldn’t be festive enough for me (although I have been guilty of that in the past). Why not make a stack of alternating cookies,
and wrap them up like a giant piece of candy?
If you want to make an extra yummy treat to share, throw in some homemade caramels
and you’ve really got something special that anyone would enjoy (just ask my neighbors who got this package of goodies the day after I baked cookies).
Coming up soon I’ll have more ideas about sharing treats around the holidays that are much more in the spirit of Christmas than leaving a plate on someone’s doorstep. (Although, there’s nothing terribly bad about that, as long as you leave a card so they know who’s kitchen they came from, and they’re not left in a snowstorm to be blown away and found in the garden in springtime.)
What are some of your favorite things to bake around the holidays?