I’m always so amped up for the holidays and try to do so much that by the time the actual holiday arrives, I’m wiped. Not this year! Here are some tips on how to get a head start on all that holiday baking. Big hint- it all involves your freezer.
Go through all the cookies you usually make over the holidays. What can be frozen in dough form? I’m giving myself until Monday to recover from Halloween then I’m starting on cookies.
I always make Snickerdoodles, Pinwheels and Peanut Butter Surprise cookies for the holiday season. I can freeze all three of these cookies in dough form. Then, I bake off however many I need, when I need them. No stress!
So, get your thinking cap on. What cookies do you make that you can freeze? Both the snickerdoodle and peanut butter cookies I scoop, roll and coat in sugar (or cinnamon sugar). I put them on a parchment-lined baking sheet (uncovered) in the freezer for 30 minutes. Then, I plop them into a freezer bag. I slice the pinwheels and freeze them the exact same way. I also put them in a freezer bag but I put a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper between each layer.
I write the name of the cookie, baking temp and time on the outside of the bag. No need to pull out the cookbook to double check the baking details; all the info is right there at my fingertips. And, you can bake them all from frozen! You will just need to add a couple minutes baking time. I have plenty of other cookies I make and this method doesn’t work for all of them but man, it is awesome to have these ready AND freshly baked at a moments notice!
My friend Tanya over at Global Bakes beat me to this. She is a baking goddess and already blogged about her holiday cookie excitement. I promise I’m not copying; I was always planning to give holiday baking tips. But she beat me fair and square. Tanya included links to all her favorite cookie recipes. Click here to see her very inclusive list!
This is where my love of baking began. Sure, I always dabbled in baking but making quick breads is when I started baking “from scratch.” Whatever breads are your favorite will freeze beautifully! Bake your bread as you normally would and let it cool completely. I mean really, let it cool all the way. Then, I wrap it well. First, I wrap it in a layer of plastic wrap then, I wrap it in a layer of aluminum foil. Get your sharpie out and write the name of the bread on the outside and the date you made it. Breads thaw quickly so you can take it out of the freezer a few hours up to a day before you want to serve or gift it.
I make a ton of Pumpkin Gingerbread every holiday (all year long really but I give it out as gifts over the holidays). This is THE BEST BREAD ON EARTH. I have never met anyone who doesn’t love it. We eat it on Thanksgiving morning and Christmas morning. It is great to have around.
Same as the quick breads. They freeze great! Bake, cool completely, wrap well in plastic wrap then put in a freezer bag. Take it out the night before and frost it when you are ready. Yes, you can also freeze frosting and take it out the night before with the cake or a few hours before you are ready to decorate. Spice Cake is an excellent choice for the holidays.
You guessed it, they freeze! Make your pie dough now, or your tart dough, or puff pastry. I don’t know what pastry you make for the holidays but I do know it freezes beautifully. Just label it so you are pulling out the right dough. It all kind of looks the same.
I think I’m going to make escargot vol-au-vents for a Thanksgiving appetizer. I can cut and assemble my (puff) pasty shells now and freeze them in their desired shape. I can also prepare my escargot filling now and freeze it. This will be a super impressive appetizer that I will be able to throw together at the last minute.
What is your favorite thing to bake for Thanksgiving? It’s only 20 days away…