The holidays can be an incredibly enjoyable time of the year, but they can also be a stressful time for many of us. Entertaining family and friends, baking holiday goodies and even wrapping up gifts take time and organization, and when you have to budget time (and finances), it is helpful to have a few handy how-tos to guide you through the season. These are five of my must-read Holiday Baking How-Tos to get you through the season stress-free and with plenty of goodies to share with friends and family:
- Nothing makes a better present than a box of homemade goodies, so knowing How to Pack and Ship Holiday Baked Goods is key this season. Homemade gifts are always well received and are budget-friendly, too! Wrap things well, use express or priority mail and choose goodies that keep well for several days, rather than ultra-fragile treats. Sturdy cookies like gingerbread and butter cookies are better choices than cakes and cupcakes.
- How Do You Use Paper Baking Molds and How to Bake in a Specialty Pan can also come in handy over the holidays. Paper molds, available at most baking supply stores and specialty food stores, are perfect for baking your edible treats in before shipping. And a loaf of gingerbread or other seasonal treat in a seasonal shape is an extra-nice addition to a dessert tray (and lets you use that fun pan you got as a present last year!).
- I bake Challah all year, but always make it both for Hannukah and Christmas because it is so tasty. How to Braid Challah will guide you through three, four and five-strand challah braids whether you’re experienced or a relative newbie to baking this delicious, eggy bread. Leftovers make great bread pudding even if your braids don’t come out perfectly.
- Christmas cookies are something that almost everyone bakes this time of year. How to Soften Butter is probably the most important thing to know before you start baking, to ensure that your dough comes out correctly. This tip is followed closely by How to Preheat an Oven and How to Bring Your Eggs to Room Temperature, because all of these will help those cookies turn out perfectly for Santa (and they’re great tips to pass on to friends who don’t bake as much, too!).
- And because Christmas cookies aren’t the same without some decorations, How To Get Sprinkles To Stick To Cookies is going to make a lot of kids very happy. I know that as a kid I loved decorating cookies and was always disappointed when my sprinkles slid off the top before they made it into the oven. On a related note, you can save some money this holiday season by reading How To Make Your Own Colored Sugars so you can have your own budget friendly multicolored sprinkles without buying anything just for the season.