More Tips for Making Holiday Baking Easier

Baking cookies  - one of the best parts of Christmas!  But waiting until a few days before the holiday to bake several kinds of cookies can be a recipe for holiday stress!  Cookie baking takes time.

Why not just bake one very favorite cookie at Christmas, and bake several of your other favorites NOW and pop them in the freezer.

I can tell you from personal experience there is nothing so satisfying as putting together a plate of home made Christmas cookies long after the hours on your feet in a hot kitchen have been forgotten!

If there are children in your household, then it is especially important to make cookies right at Christmas.  Older children will enjoy mixing, cutting and baking.  But younger children would probably like getting right to the decorating!  Having a batch of shaped cookies in the freezer would allow you to decorate at a moments notice.

Since sugar cookies are my absolute favorite cookie, I usually freeze a batch or two now. Then I  bake a batch the week of Christmas. It's tradition! (But as you can readily see, I am not an inspired cookie decorator!)

When storing sugar cookies, be sure to stack them one on top of the other
- all trees in one stack, all bells in one stack, all stars in one stack.  Then crinkle some waxed paper and gently place it in any open spaces to minimize movement.  This process of storage should reduce considerably any chance of breaking tips off stars or loss of angle wings.  Be sure you are using an air tight container or wrap your container in plastic wrap or foil for storing in the freezer.

These cookies are some of my favorites and every cookie on this tray freezes beautifully!  Are you surprised!  I was too! 

Even the lemon bars and the carmel nut bars! Just be sure to place wax paper between the layers before freezing.

Over my objections, my husband has at one time or another frozen all of these kinds or cookies!  Thank you Kirby for not listening to me!

The only exception - the Linzer Cookies.  Freeze the cookies but fill them just before serving.

The Double Frosted Bourbon Brownies freeze beautifully.  Why not bake a batch for the holidays. Add pink or green coloring and a bit of peppermint flavoring to the white frosting.  Cut any bar cookie into squares BEFORE freezing.

Not too many candies will freeze but the centers for these easy, yummy Chocolate Truffles can be stored in the freezer for several months.  Take them out of the freezer and dip them a few hours before you plan to serve them.

Shortbread freezes very well, but if you want that fresh baked shortbread fragrance filling your kitchen on a holiday afternoon, freeze the shortbread before baking!  No mess to clean up, just instant cookie gratification!

Follow the recipe here near the bottom of the post.

When the dough is mixed, place it on the back side of a jelly roll pan measuring 11" x 17".

Pat the dough evenly over the entire surface of the pan.  Using a sharp knife, score the dough surface to mark the cookie bars..  Do not cut all the way through the dough.

Once the cookies are scored, prick each cookie with a fork about half way through.  This step assists in even baking.

Pop the tray into the freezer for an hour or so until frozen.

Remove the tray from the freezer, cut the bars apart using a sharp knife or a bench knife.  Place the frozen cookies in a plastic bag (I use two so they aren't crowded) and return to the freezer.

When you are ready to bake, simply place the cookies about 1" apart on a cookie tray.  No adjustment in the baking time given is necessary.

Since shortbread takes a while to bake - 40 minutes or so - this is a great cookie to bake while you are addressing cards or decorating those cut out cookies with the kids!

Many readers found these pre-baking day tips very useful last year.  For those who missed the post I thought I would link back.

Part of my cookie stash ready for the freezer! 

Nope - I'm not telling what in the Christmas tins.  Christmas secrets to be revealed another day!

 

Hi Pam! :-) Thank you so much

Hi Pam! :-)

Thank you so much for sharing your tips, once again!

I remember the great tips you gave last year, but it's only this year that I decided to bake more cookies. So it's just the right time at the right moment.

I was thinking about baking everything at the last minute... mmm, I think not! :-p

xoxo!

Pam, I'm on my way over right

Pam, I'm on my way over right now! :)

These goodies look like they came from the bakery. I too, love sugar cookies although I'm pretty sure that I would enjoy every last thing you have mentioned (and pictured) here. So good. There is no way I could have most of that here though, my sweet tooth would get the best of me and by the time the guests arrived all that would be left would be crumbs.

So what I'm wondering is - do you ever rest? ;)

I love people who bake! They

I love people who bake! They are my heroes! Why? Beacuse I CAN'T bake!!!! I don't know what I do wrong, but nothing ever comes out. Here in Mexico they say that if you can't bake it's beacuse you have "hot hands". Only people with "cool hands" can bake properly. I must have boiling hot hands!!! So I enjoy seeing all the beautiful things you baking people do. Congratulations!!

Pam, I'm telling you, your

Pam, I'm telling you, your work always looks like it came right out of a gourmet baking book. And I thought there couldn't possibly be anything else up your sleeve. This is fantastic.

And I wish I could wrap my tins in plastic like that, but I always wind up having to cut myself free of the wrap and throw it away before I can finish.

You are a marvel, my friend!

Thanks Pam! This didn't work

Thanks Pam! This didn't work for me when the kids were younger, because they would sneak a cookie or two now and then daily. By the time Christmas rolled around I'd usually end up making them all over again! LOL, I never minded though, I used to do it myself as a kid and a Mom! The funest part of Christmas cookies was always our day of decorating the Sugar cookies.I'd make many colors of icing ,then we would paint them with our little spatulas and decorate them,rally bringing some of them to life. It reallly was a time for their creaticity to shine abd every year watch as their skills increased. They'd turn out so beautiful,it was hard to eat them!
Now that my Girls our Grown, I can start making them to pull out for Christmas and only have to worry about my Hubby and me sniching one now and then! I shouldn't have to rebake. I'll make the Thanksgiving ones and Pies so there won't be a need to touch the ones in the freezer!
They will get theirs on a tray to take home and/or back to their college apartment with them with them.
Its pretty neat now that they are older they all bring me a tray that they made too, so the cookies are a non stp flow.
I think as they start families,only one has so far the others are in serious relationships but no littles ones, that we just might do a family cookie exchange!
Thanks for the post, it reminded me I can start my baking today! As I've learned to say again, why put off till tomorrow what I can do today..that is if I can only put my crochet hook down!
Happy Thanksgiving and an Early Merry Christmas to You and Yours!
Sandi aka 4GirlzMomAnSome

Oh BOY!!!! I'm moving to your

Oh BOY!!!! I'm moving to your house!!! :)))))))

I haven't done any baking for a couple of years now. Used to be I made a dozen or two of different flavoured Stollen and then give all but one away. But it IS a lot of work and by this time of year they'd be baked and wrapped and letting the rum cure through the cake while we waited for Christmas. There would be some with rum and raisens, others with almond nuts and still oters with Marzipane. It was fun and people loved getting them because they were home made. Home made is still best, isn't it?

Happy baking :)

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