Pumpkin pie, gingerbread houses, fresh-baked bread. These tasty treats can only mean one thing – it’s time for holiday baking!
Before you get overwhelmed by all the details of what to bake, how to set up your space and when to turn up the heat in the kitchen, let Mission 2 Organize offer a few suggestions so you can enjoy the process as much as the final products!
And don’t worry, if it all seems like a little much, we’ve got a free, handy holiday baking planner that goes along with this post to help you manage it all. Just click on the button at the end of this post and download it!
Preparation is Key
While you may have some ideas of what you want to whip up this season, taking time to prepare first can give you even greater success.
1. Check your calendar. The holiday season can offer plenty of opportunities to bake goodies that everyone enjoys. Before you throw on your apron, throw open your planner or calendar and mark down which events require you to bring baked goods. Not only will this help you stay on top of your social calendar, but it can also give you an idea of exactly how much baking you’ll need to do.
2. Choose your recipes. Based on your upcoming events, determine which recipes you’ll “knead” to make for each event. Once you’ve decided on which ones you want to use, make note of what it is, where you found it, the date you’ll need it and the day you’ll prepare it. Write these details down in your planner or use our handy holiday baking checklist to help you keep track of it all.
3. Prep your kitchen. Since you’ll be spending a lot of time in the kitchen in the days to come, take some time to get your kitchen in order. Why? Because an organized kitchen can make the entire baking process run more smoothly. Having everything in its proper place (or zone) can ensure that you aren’t wasting time looking for a specific pan, a particular ingredient or a special utensil.
And don’t forget to show your pantry some TLC as well! Since you’ll be storing a majority of your ingredients there, declutter and remove any foods you no longer need, want or that may have expired. Toss rotten food but donate any food that’s in good condition. This will allow you to store and find what you need easily and quickly when your baking time rolls around.
Not sure how to set up your kitchen for ultimate success? Check out our latest M2O-TV video, “How 2 Organize Your Baking Supplies” for some great tips and ideas from our team.
4. Take inventory. The final preparation step is to take inventory of what ingredients you’ll need for all your recipes. Be mindful not only of what you items you already have, but make sure you have enough for everything you’ll be baking, as well as noting any new or special ingredients you may need to purchase.
Also make sure to count that you have enough pans to bake with at one time. You may decide to bake more than one recipe on a particular day so you want to be certain that you have enough baking sheets, casserole dishes and cake pans to get the job done.
What Gets Scheduled Gets Done
Now that you have all the basic preparations out of the way, it’s time to schedule a few key details to make sure that everything is ready to go before you ever turn the oven on.
1. Plan out your shopping schedule. When will you head to the grocery store? Will you have to make multiple trips for fresh ingredients? Be aware of the time you have to get to the store, do the shopping and unload it all at home. As supermarkets can be extremely busy and crowded during the holidays, having a plan for when you will shop can reduce your stress and ensure that you aren’t taking away from your actual baking time. If you’re short on time, consider using a shopping service to receive delivered groceries. Many services like Shipt (or even your local grocer) can provide a wide range of delivery options.
2. Plan out an early prep schedule. Are there some items or ingredients that you can prep before your actual baking day? Perhaps you can dice some items ahead of time or let some ingredients rise so you have less steps to undertake on the day you have scheduled to bake. If so, decide when you’ll set aside time for early prepping and don’t forget to mark that in your calendar as well!
3. Plan out your recipes. You know which recipes you want to make, but can you save time by preparing more than one recipe on the same day? Maybe some of your recipes, like holiday cookies, can be made ahead of time and frozen until needed. Or perhaps some of your recipes call for similar ingredients and baking them on the same day will cut down on your workload. Whatever the case may be, see if you can organize your recipes in such a way that you don’t spend all your time in the kitchen.
4. Plan out your baking day schedule. How much time will you need to bake the recipes you’ve chosen? Here are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when determining how much time to set aside:
- Prep time (separate from your pre-work)
- Any time you’ll need to let items thaw, chill or set
- Actual baking time
- Time for cooling once bake time is complete
- Time for frosting or decorating
- Time for storing baked goods
- Clean-up time
By knowing exactly how much time you’ll need to complete everything, you can set aside the appropriate time on your calendar. In doing so, you’ll reduce any stress and make sure you don’t short change yourself or your goodies!
A Few Other Things to Keep in Mind
You’ve prepared and planned and you’re ready to bake, right? Before you crack open an egg or plug in your mixer, there are still a few things you’ll want to keep in mind so your baking efforts will truly “rise” to the occasion!
1. Ask for help. While it may seem easier to just do it yourself, making your baking efforts a group or family project can add even more fun to the season. Yes, it may take a little longer to get it all done, but the memories you’ll make in the process will be worth it.
2. Don’t seek perfection. Yes, you want everything to taste and look good, but don’t get so caught up in making the perfect cookie or cake that you lose sight of what really matters this holiday season.
3. Give yourself permission not to bake. The holidays can be stressful. Trying to cram a baking project into a schedule that’s already overloaded may just not be feasible. If that’s the case, give yourself permission to go to the store or the bakery and buy some baked goods to share. Put it in or on one of your nice serving platters and enjoy the event. No one has to know your secret unless you choose to tell them!
4. Enjoy yourself. Don’t let the stress of doing it all weigh you down. The holidays are meant to be enjoyed not endured! After a long day in the kitchen, treat yourself to one of your baked goods or another type of reward for all your hard work. You’ll be glad you did and so will everyone around you!
No matter what you’re whisking up this holiday season, make the most of your efforts by implementing some of these tips and ideas. When you do, you’ll find your baking experience to be the “creme de la creme” of your holidays!
What baking will you be doing this holiday season and how can these tips help you make tasty treats that everyone will love?