Holiday Baking! Oh My!
The battle between ambition and reality, where we all want to be Martha Stewart but end up being more Sandra Lee (drinks included)
Making everything from scratch, with a million professional decorated and impressive options is quite an undertaking. This is you if you love baking and can think of nothing your want more than to spend an entire weekend in the kitchen crafting delicious Christmas treats.
If not, that way lays exhaustion and ruin. So, you can either do a cookie swap, attend a bake sale or make your own. If do you want to do your own holiday baking, I recommend keeping it simple and focusing on 5 things:
- A pie for Christmas Dinner;
- A classic cookie: sugar, shortbread, thumb print;
- Something deliciously chocolate;
- A fancy, rich cookie: gingerbread, butterscotch, lemon crinkle; and
- A tasty square or bar, cake, loaf or cupcake.
Now, this list is ambitious itself, but there are ways to make your life easier, here are some examples of using ingredients in more than one way:
- Triple lemon cheesecake. Make two, one to impress guests in the lead up to the holiday season, the other to freeze for Christmas dinner. The base of this cheesecake will also be the lemon shortbread cookies.
- No bake chocolate truffles. These take some cooling time, but are very easy and great to have the kids help, just melt your chocolate, add your cream and flavourings, chill and roll. Before you finalize the truffles, take some of that melted chocolate and pour it on a parchment lined baking sheet for some chocolate bark with pistachios, dried cranberries and coconut flakes; or add it to brownie mix to make chocolate fudge brownies.
- A rich molassesey gingerbread cookie, can be the base for a gingerbread loaf served with a gingerbread sauce as a holiday pudding; gingerbread sandwich cookies, served with a buttercream icing filling; the walls of a gingerbread house; and crumbles up to make the base of a no bake cheesecake, by simply mixing cream cheese with powdered sugar, yogurt and a flavouring agent such as pumpkin pie filling.
- A basic sugar cookie can be decorated by children, or even the basis of an adult wine and cookie decorating party; and doubling or tripling the batch can give you the bottom layer for a white hot chocolate cheesecake; or a tasty lemon square.
Keep in mind, many cookies and other baked goods can be easily frozen either once cooked or before baking, which can save you time, preserve your food, or let you plan a fun activity with the kids.
I hope this post encourages you to try your hand at baking, and makes your life easier by putting fewer ingredients on your shopping list and less steps in your baking instructions.