6 Tips For Stress Free Holiday Baking - Joanie Bakes Blog at Allrecipes.com - 316828

Joanie Bakes

6 Tips for Stress Free Holiday Baking 
Dec. 5, 2013 12:59 pm 
Updated: Dec. 16, 2014 5:17 am



1.      SCHEDULE YOUR BAKING DAY, with a backup day, just in case something comes up.   Put the dates on your calendar and plan around them as you would any other important task.

2.      MAKE YOUR GIFT LIST.   Include friends, family, neighbors, teachers, clergy, mail carrier, etc.  Decide how many pieces each person/family will receive.  EXAMPLE:  2 dozen cookies, 1 loaf, or 8 cupcakes.  ADD 2 EXTRA BATCHES, one for your immediate family and one extra for anyone you might have forgotten (JUST IN CASE.)

3.      TAKE INVENTORY.   At least 2 weeks before you plan to start your baking, get out your recipes and check your inventory of ingredients.  When making your grocery list, don’t forget non food items like parchment paper, cupcake liners, cello wrap, gift bags, etc.

4.    *MY BEST TIP* PRE MEASURE DRY INGREDIENTS.  At least two days before your baking day, take an afternoon or evening to pre measure dry ingredients and put in air tight containers.  Measure flour, salt, baking soda or powder and spices SEPARATELY from the sugars.   EXAMPLE:  I make cookies in triple batches.  For 3 triple batches, I will have 6 containers total: 3 with pre measured flour mixture and 3 with sugar mixture.  THIS CAN BE DONE UP TO ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE.

5.    THE NIGHT BEFORE, take out all baking supplies: cookie sheets, cooling racks, bowls, mixer, measuring spoons, etc.  If your recipes include softened butter, don’t forget to take out of the refrigerator.

6.       ON BAKING DAY:  PREPARE FOR THE DAY AS YOU WOULD ANY OTHER!  What this means: take a shower, have a good breakfast, walk the dog, check emails, etc.  Once you start baking, try to eliminate distractions such as answering the phone and getting on the computer.  You can return calls and check emails later!  Put on some Christmas music and reminisce about holidays past.  Make some hot chocolate.  Get in the mood!  Have the little ones help stir ingredients, spoon dough on the cookie sheets, and remove cookies from cookie sheets to cooling racks.  Have fun!

Dec. 5, 2013 4:05 pm
This makes me tired just reading it. LOL. Sounds like a good workable plan. Thanks for sharing.
Dec. 6, 2013 3:57 am
Joan, this is exactly what I have been doing for years. I use to bake about 2,000 cookies every Christmas and this system works. I am sure you just helped many bakers enjoy the task more. Have a Merry Christmas.
Dec. 6, 2013 8:16 am
Great ideas, Joan. I've always done that the night before with the dry ingredients, but never thought to prepare them even further ahead. So much easier and less stressful to get up in the morning with sifter, baking sheets, parchment and all, out on the table or counter, ready to go. I've vowed to make this Christmas a less stressful one for me in the area of food preparation. Everything does not have to be home made, and I'm starting with the biggest of all, ordering a cooked turkey for my Christmas morning brunch buffet. They'll all scream, but showing up at 11:00 does not constitute "help" to me! My regular specials of kielbasa/brown sugar, hash brown casserole, tray of lasagna, cranraisin scones will still be homemade, but I figure Stop and Shop can do just as good a job with the turkey as me. It will be an interesting Christmas morn, one I'll take notes on! lol
Dec. 6, 2013 3:50 pm
Great ideas. I think I will try it this year. Although I don't bake on the scale as you.
Dec. 6, 2013 11:31 pm
Char, it's nice to "see" you here! If you've posted lately, I've missed it. I hope all is well. And Joan-good tips! I hope to never have to bake on that scale, but you've posted a nice guide for the person who does.
Dec. 7, 2013 5:10 am
I do something similar, even taking a vacation day from work so there won't be any distractions. I set up my dining table as an assembly line of cooling racks and plan the order of recipes to take advantage of oven space, cooling time and using the mixer etc.
Dec. 7, 2013 7:18 am
Exactly the organization methods I needed, thanks for this!
Dec. 7, 2013 7:56 am
You've helped me a lot! I never thought of pre-measuring the ingredients. I have COPD and run out of energy quickly, so it's a great idea for me. I'll start using it today! It's also a good way to know what you need to buy more of! Thanks so much and HaPpY Holidays!
Dec. 8, 2013 7:38 am
Joan, GREAT blog on "Have A Plan & Work The Plan." I already do #4, and I'll be printing your entire plan to use as my Holiday Baking guide. You've probably just saved my sanity! Thank you!
Joan R. 
Dec. 16, 2014 4:54 am
Wow, thanks for all the positive comments! I would love to hear how this worked out for you if you've tried it. Merry Christmas! Joan
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Joan R.

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