Does anyone else love the smell of freshly baking cookies? I am presuming that it's a super popular, delicious smell with people beyond just my family. I can safely assume I'm correct because they make scented candles named "Freshly Baked Cookies".....um, yes, I LOVE IT!
I'll be the first to tell you that baking does not come second nature to me. I've had to watch many a baking show to get the rhythm down of what to do and in what order.
All those years in engineering school did do me some good in the kitchen, though. I did learn a long time ago that when mixing a base with an acid (think baking soda and vinegar) you get a chemical reaction (bubbles). Those bubbles are carbon dioxide, which when baked can leaven your baked good making it feel fluffier (think air bubbles in a cake when you slice into it).
Those nifty little tricks come in handy when baking, but today's post isn't about chemistry in the kitchen. (I'll save that for another time, you're welcome)
Today I'm talking more about how to effectively plan & organize your holiday baking goodies. Because even though your house will smell good while you're baking these treats, a little bit of planning ahead of time will make it so much more of a happy process!
How to Plan & Organize Your Holiday Baking
Because I like all things planned & somewhat organized, I'm geeking out about how easy this really is.
Let's face it, when the holidays are exactly 7 days away, and your heart tells you that you REALLY want to bake some delicious treats, flying by the seat of your pants can really cause some serious stress. And who likes that? (If you like stress and you just raised your hand, know that you will not be judged here)
And yes, those are Peanut Butter Blossoms (or Buckeyes) that I made yesterday, cooling on a cooling rack my mother & I bought together.
Planning Out Your Holiday Baking
So this is a great time to break out your favorite baking recipes, whether they be for cookies, brownies, pies or cakes. What do you love to make? What do you love to share? What do others in your family love and truly enjoy that you could make this year?
For us it's a short list of cookies. I say short (4 different types) because we have other great bakers in the family and it's nice to share the workload. You can refer to this post to see how I like to prepare and organize for any family gatherings that involve food (um, which ones don't involve food??) I like to touch base with my mother-in-law who is a really good cook to see what she has planned. This way our baking plans don't overlap.
This year's baking plan includes:
- Pumpkin Pie
- Double Chocolate Candy Cane Mint Cookies
- Peanut Butter Blossoms (Buckeyes)
- Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies
Solidify the Plan - Write it out on this holiday Baking Planner
Yep, you guessed it. The next step is to write it out friend :) If you know me, you know I'm a big fan of writing things out. It's the best way to remember anything.
Yes, we have smartphones, we have tablets, we have email.
But there's something about putting pen/pencil to paper and writing it out that connects the words to your brain better than any electronic device could do.
Because of this phenomenon, I've created a Holiday Baking Planner, free for you to download below.
This Holiday Baking Planner helps me:
- Narrow down exactly what I want to bake (or sometimes what I just want to pick up from the local bakery instead)
- Put together a quick grocery list to ensure I have fresh ingredients on hand - Did you know that baking powder and baking soda should be replaced every 3-4 months??
- Shop my pantry for sweet treats I can use as ingredients (leftover Halloween candy anyone?)
This helped me tremendously this year as I looked through my recipe binder to decide what to bake. If I narrow down my selections to what'll fill in the boxes on the paper, I'm forced to.....
- Print out another page if I'm going to make more
- Choose only 4 items to bake and start making the house smell amazing!
I've found that sticking to a plan, that's written out ahead of time, makes me waaaaaaaayy less stressed. And if I'm less stressed, I'm less likely to be yelling at my kids or getting upset when things burn or plans go south. (But that doesn't happen, right? HA!)
Ok, so if you're sick of feeling stressed & frazzled this time of year, grab this FREE Holiday Baking Planner to help calm your nerves. Keeping yourself inside the boundaries of baking only what's on this sheet (4 treats this year) helps reduce stress, I promise!
Christmas is only one week away, so it's my hope that this FREE planner will help you narrow down what you want to make and create a plan of action around it.
Best continued holiday wishes to you!