This post is sponsored by Ziploc.
Is anyone else gearing up for a busy few days of baking next week? I sure am! Holy moly. It’s a good thing I like to bake!
During the week of Christmas, I have a whole slew of holiday parties and gatherings on my social calendar””many of which I plan to bake (cookies) for. I love contributing a baked good to a dessert spread or simply gifting a batch of goodies to the host. The holidays are all about eating, drinking, and being merry, so what better way to celebrate than with some tasty homemade treats. Am I right?
Of course, I love sampling the holiday goodies that I make, but the best part about baking at this time of year is enjoying the process from start to finish. I love playing holiday music, lighting the Christmas tree, and taking my time to prepare my cookies and treats. That way, they turn out just how I like them and each one is made with the holiday spirit in mind. I don’t like to rush through this experience, so I prepare myself ahead of time for the busiest baking week of the year. Here’s how!
Take an ingredient inventory
Nothing bugs me more than running out of an essential ingredient, so before I start my baking marathon, I take an inventory of the ingredients in my kitchen””everything from dry goods (flour, sugar, baking soda) to wet ingredients (eggs, butter, milk) and, of course, the fun stuff (baking chips, Andes candies, red and green sprinkles). I also make sure to check expiration dates, especially on ingredients that I might only use once a year, like allspice or cloves, which might lose their flavor punch if they are kept on the spice rack too long. Additionally, I take inventory of non-edible baking supplies, like parchment paper, tinfoil, muffin tin liners, etc.
Stock the kitchen
Once I’ve figured out what I need to replace, I go shopping and restock my kitchen. I typically buy things in bulk/large quantities to save money and, of course, the worst thing to happen during the busiest baking week of the year is running out of something. I hate being in the middle of mixing up a recipe only to realize that I’m out of brown sugar and need to run to the grocery store to buy more. What a buzz kill! Haha!
Store baking supplies in one place
I store all of my baking ingredients in a special baking cabinet, so I can keep track of everything, which helps me avoid buying double of something and wasting money. For instance, I thought I bought vanilla extract the other day, but then I couldn’t find it, so I bought another bottle and then later found the original one tucked away in the back of a cabinet. Thankfully, vanilla extract has a long shelf life, so it won’t go to waste, but now I keep everything together in my baking cabinet, so I can easily find what I need.
Prep your ingredients
Now that I have everything I need for the upcoming week-o-baking, I portioned out all of my ingredients for the various recipes I plan to bake, so now all I have to do is throw them in a big bowl, mix ”˜em up, and bake. Easy peasy!
To get myself prepared this year, I used Ziploc®’s new line of stackable containers, featuring a One Press Seal, which allows the containers to be securely closed with one press on the lid, to organize all of the dry ingredients for my favorite holiday cookie recipes.
These containers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so you can easily store a wide variety of ingredients. I measured everything for Andes CrÃ¨me de Menthe Cookies and Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies, so all I need to do is add a few ingredients to make the dough before I bake them.
You could also make the dough ahead of time, portion it into 1-inch disks, and then freeze them in Ziploc® Holiday Freezer Bags, so then all you need to do is bake them.
And once the baking rush is over, I can store my Ziploc® Containers more compactly. They are designed to be nested within each other when empty, which saves valuable storage space, especially in our tiny kitchen!
Question of the Day
How do you stay organized during the busy holiday season?