Friday, December 7, 2012

Preparing for holiday baking

There are lots of preparations going on in everyone's homes this time of year. The last couple of weeks, I have been preparing for all the holiday baking. 

I made 3 batches of my All-purpose Christmas Cookie Dough. It is in the freezer for later. We did cook up a few dozen pinwheel cookies that we took to the kids' piano recital.

I made extra bean puree so I could give more "healthy" treats to neighbors and friends.

I made a double batch of the dough for these Molasses cookies. It is also in the freezer.

Yesterday, I made a large batch of this Chocolate chip cookie dough. I only added chocolate chips to some of it so I can play with the other dough. It can be an all-purpose dough also. I plan to put a Hersheys kiss in some of the cookies as well as add some of the other fun flavored chips they have available this time of year. I have put a Rolo candy in the top of each cookie, similar to what you do with the Hersheys kiss. I have also used the green and red M&Ms and pressed them in the top of each cookie before baking. There are lots of possibilities once you have a great flavored dough!

The final kind of cookie dough I hope to get to today is my Chewy Cinnamon Cookies.

Since cookie dough freezes so easily, I usually begin my preparations in November. When it comes time to take a platter to a recital or dinner party, I can pull 2-3 kinds of dough from the freezer and bake a dozen of each kind. The platter looks like I worked hard in the kitchen all day, when in reality it only took me the few minutes to form the cookies and bake them. Some years, I have even given the frozen dough as a gift to neighbors and friends. They love the chance to do some baking with their kids or grandkids without the full time commitment.

Once cookie preparations are done, I will move on to the homemade candies. All the decorating, card writing, and package wrapping also has to fit in. I'm using my crockpot most nights to give me a bit of extra time. I'll be posting some of those new recipes soon.

I learned long ago that I have to find joy in the preparations - the years that pregnancy kept me in bed over the holidays helped me realize how much I counted on the preparing as part of the actual holiday for me. Hopefully some of these recipes or tips can help you enjoy the preparations as well.

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