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Tips for Holiday Power Baking

Created January 10, 2017
Learn how to turn a cookie-baking marathon into a fun holiday tradition.

Get ready. Get set. Bake! It’s time to make all those delicious holiday cookies you want to take to the office, share at a cookie swap, and give to special friends. We’ll help you turn a chaotic bake-athon into an organized, stress-free assembly line with these simple steps.

Pick Your Favorite Recipes

Estimate how many recipes you’ll need to fulfill all your cookie obligations (including your own family!) Start the hunt by looking online, browsing cookbooks and magazines, and flipping through recipe cards. Choose six to eight recipes that offer a variety of flavors and shapes. Some recipes should be easy, some more complicated. Some recipes might be family favorites, others should be new trendy delights.

Tip: Cut costs by picking out a few recipes that use some of the same ingredients. That way you can buy in bulk.

Create a Shopping List

Go through your chosen recipes and decide which, if any, will need to be doubled (after all, everyone loves your extra-gooey holiday bars!) List all the ingredients and equipment you’ll need, and sort through your coupons to find savings for the items on your list. In addition to dairy and pantry items, you may need to include storage containers, resealable plastic bags, parchment paper, cookie cutters, decorative sugars, and even baking sheets.

Tip: Make the shopping trip more efficient by organizing your list according to store departments: Dairy, baked goods, etc.

Shop to Plan

If you need to shop at more than one store, plan your route so that it saves time, cuts down on mileage, and avoids traffic jams. Call ahead if you’re not sure a store carries that unusual ingredient. Avoid peak shopping hours so you can sidestep long lines, empty shelves, and crowds.

Tip: Organize your coupons ahead of time so you’re not fumbling for them at the checkout.

Make Ahead Dough

Make it easier on yourself by mixing cookie doughs in advance of the day you want to bake. Mix each recipe one at a time to avoid distraction. Wrap each batch of dough in plastic wrap and place in resealable gallon storage bags. Refrigerate for up to one week or freeze for longer storage before baking. 

Tip: Label each package of dough so you know what it is and include the date. Download our free freezer-label designs to make it easy.

Bake Your Buns Off!

Plan your baking schedule so that cookies which bake at lower temperatures come first, higher temperatures follow. Once you know the order, deal with each batch of dough one at a time. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, cut out or shape as needed, then bake. Let the cookies cool completely before glazing, decorating, or freezing. And let the cookie sheet cool before using it again. If you’re in a hurry, run the bottom of the pan in cool water; this keeps the top dry.

Tip: Think you might run out of counter space? Prepare the dining room table, sideboard, or coffee table for cooling duty.(Make sure Rover or Fluffy can’t get them!)

Decorate and Store

Organize a large area for decorating, making sure you have plenty of room for your frostings and icings (homemade or purchased), sprinkles, sugars, and other add-ons.   Dip, drizzle, or decorate one batch at a time. Make sure cookies are dried or set completely before storing them or presenting as gifts. If storing decorated cookies, line them up in single layers separated with waxed paper. Try not to freeze or refrigerate decorated cookies. Condensation may cause cookie frostings to bleed.

Getting ready to turn those homemade goodies into holiday gifts? Browse our best ideas for making cookies look special.