I absolutely love to bake and for years, I would spend 3-4 days of non-stop baking, filling up 15-20 boxes of cookies and handing them out to friends and family. I was able to continue that tradition for the first 2 Christmases after I had my 1st child, but by the time I had my 2nd child, I was a disorganized mess and could barely find the time to get a single batch of chocolate chips cookies made, much less 8 dozen of 12 different types of cookies.
Two years ago, I created my “Baking Plan”…and it has saved my sanity and allowed me to continue doing something that I truly love (and let my kids get involved as well). I start thinking about baking cookies as early as Halloween, but today is the day that I sit down and create a specific plan!
Create a Baking Schedule:
- Sit down and make a list of all of the baking that you need to do: cookies, cakes, breads, etc. If you are planning on making cookie assortments as gifts, pull out your cookbooks or recipe bookmarks on your computer and make a list of the specific cookies that you will be making. Do the same thing for any breads (banana, pumpkin, etc).
- Now cross at least 3 things off of the list. You aren't going to be able to make everything that you think you can. If, at the end of your baking, you find that you have enough time to add those back in…that's great. In the meantime, you need to take some pressure off of yourself.
- Take inventory of your pantry and create your shopping list. Don't assume that you have enough of certain ingredients because you only use them a few times a year (extracts, cinnamon, etc). Check the circulars for sales and start stocking up for everything that you need for your recipes.
- For cookies, look at your recipes and see which ones can be made in advance. Most cookie doughs can be frozen as long as you wrap well in clear wrap and then place it in a freezer bag. Not planning to make your cookies until a few days before Christmas? Why not make the sugar cookie dough now and have it ready! You will save yourself time and stress on Baking Day!
- Check to see if you need to buy additional containers, boxes, ribbon, trays, etc. I usually buy these the week after Christmas for the following year, but you can often find a fairly good selection at the dollar store.
- Choose a Baking Day (or two) and circle it on your calendar. Let everyone know that this is your day to bake and that is your sole focus for that day.
Sit back and know that Baking Day will be easy…because you have a plan!