The opportunity for a holiday baking day might either delight you or fill you with feelings of dread — it depends on how practiced you are in the kitchen. One thing is for sure: The holidays are usually the time when the amateurs roll up their sleeves and start shopping in the baking aisle.
Whether they were asked to bring a pumpkin pie to Thanksgiving festivities or they have a personal hankering for some sugar cookies, the holidays are when everyone wants to try their hand at baking. Don’t enter the kitchen blind!
Here are some tips that even the experts may not know:
1. Dress the Part
You’ve waited all year to put on your holiday-themed apron. Don’t forget now! First and foremost, make sure you’re dressing the part if you’re a holiday baking mastermind. Even if no one can see you, it’s a good confidence-booster.
2. Read the Whole Recipe First
Don’t just start working once you’ve skimmed step one. It’s important that you understand everything you’ll need to do, so you can have all the right ingredients and supplies ready to go.
3. Observe Room-Temperature Guidelines
If the recipe says to use room-temperature butter, they mean it. If you use hard, cold butter, it will be hard to mix. That’s just how science works. Make sure you take out all cold ingredients that need to be room temperature at least 60 minutes before you start your holiday baking.
4. Measuring Is Important
When measuring liquid ingredients, use a glass or plastic measuring device that has a pouring spout. When measuring dry ingredients, fill the scoop until it’s overflowing, then scrape off the excess.
5. Unless the Recipe Says Otherwise …
- Always use all-purpose flour.
- Never substitute baking soda for baking powder or vice versa.
- Always use grade A large eggs.
- Always use pure vanilla extract.
- Always use unsalted butter.
6. Don’t Get Too Excited
You’re so ready to see the final product. It wouldn’t hurt to put the tray of unbaked cookies in a little early, before the oven is fully heated … or would it? Yes. Put your creations in early, and they won’t bake ideally.
7. Use Clean Cookware Every Time
Don’t scrape off a fresh-baked cookie or plunk dough down on a hot tray. You need to use cool, clean cookware every time for the optimal result.
8. Why Not Bake in Bulk?
If you’ll already be in holiday baking mode, why not double (or quadruple!) the recipe and share with your friends and neighbors? Let the holiday spirit of giving take over!