Good day foodies,
It is late September, and gasp, fall is in the air! Leaves are changing, days are getting shorter, and the air is crisp. What a better season for baking than fall and winter. Not only does it warm your kitchen with good smells, homemade baked goods are a great gift for the holiday season.
Are you ready for the flour, butter, and sugar? Is your pantry prepped and ready? Cookie sheets in good condition? Check out my top 5 tips to help you get ready for holiday baking:
Tip #1: Inventory your dry ingredients and toss out anything expired.
Nothing is worse than starting to bake your famous shortbread cookies and realize you're low on sugar, ran out of butter, or your dairy is expired.
Take an afternoon, look at your dry ingredients and make a list of what you have.
All purpose flours, sugars, and other staple dry ingredients have a shelf life of approx. 12 months. Quick leaveners, like baking soda / powder, have a shelf life of approx. 8 months. Toss out anything expired.
Organize your dry ingredients in the order in which you use. Flour, sugar, and spices tend to be used the most.
Store flour and sugar in air tight containers, or Zip lock bags. Keep the air outta there!
Tip #2: Start buying necessary baking ingredients weekly.
From warm spices to parchment paper to tools, getting holiday baking prepped can, well, get costly fast. Look at your favorite recipes and start deciding what you want to bake this season.
Staring now: Once a week, buy one necessary dry ingredient or tool.
Store your dry ingredients in air tight containers or Zip lock bags to keep it as fresh as possible.
Dairy, with the exception of butter, can be purchased the week of your holiday baking because of the short lived expiration date.
Butter can easily be bought in bulk and stored in the freezer.
Tip #3: Start checking out baking books, online recipes, and magazines.
Yes, we all have our traditional holiday treats we all know and love, but the fun part in the kitchen is baking something new and exciting. Start browsing Pinterest, magazines, baking blogs, and baking books for new inspiration and guided information. I challenge you to make one new sweet treat this season!
Tip #4: Inventory your baking tools. Toss out what is old and abused.
Just like inventorying your ingredients, inventory your tools and gadgets for baking. Be sure to look at:
Cookie sheets seen better days? Toss 'em and, slowly, start buying new ones.
Look at your spatulas, measuring cups and spoons.
Mixing bowls: are they big enough for your baking? Do you need an upgrade or downsize?
Pie pans, springform pans, muffin tins: do you have enough?
Pro tip: Starting now, buy one dry ingredient and one tool for your holiday baking needs. This reduces a large baking bill during the holiday season.
This is also a great time to get rid of any unnecessary clutter in your kitchen and donate any gently used bakeware.
Tip #5: Clean your oven.
Yup, 'tis true. Your baking gets pretty popular in the winter time and it is natural for bits of pie, cookie, and cake to fall inside your oven. Start fresh and clean your oven before it is baking season!
Hope these tips can boost your holiday baking season. Let me know how they worked out.