Holiday baking is wonderful. The nostalgia, the aroma, the sugar — it brings back memories and allows us to indulge in some of our favourite recipes. But who’s kidding who, the best thing about holiday baking is having it done — so we can enjoy the wares minus the mess and time.
Here are 10 quick tips to make your holiday baking a little friendlier, and relieve you of at least one sticky measuring spoon this season. Happy baking!
1. Keep two sets of measuring spoons on hand. One for wet ingredients, one for dry.
2. Measuring something sticky like molasses or honey? Lightly spray your measuring cup or spoon with cooking spray and it will slide right out.
3. Eggs too cold? If your recipe calls for room temperature eggs, drop them (in their shell) into very warm water and let them sit for 5 minutes. Use immediately (do not return these to the fridge).
4. Leave your butter out the night before. Defrosting butter in the microwave changes the composition of the butter and it won’t react the same way as naturally room temperature butter.
5. Always bake on parchment paper. It saves cookies from sticking and time on clean-up.
6. Making icebox cookies that need to be rolled and chilled? Cut the inner tube of a roll of paper towels in half lengthwise and rest the wrapped cylinders of dough inside. It will help them keep their round shape while the firm up in the fridge.
7. If you want to shape cookies in advance, but bake off later in batches, freeze first on a tray. Once frozen, stack in an airtight container and keep frozen. Bake cookies from frozen.
8. Buy disposable piping bags to make life easier for you and your kids when it comes to decorating sugar cookies. This allows you to have multiple colours on the go, and they can be rinsed out and reused.
9. Use gel food colourings to tint icing. Gel colourings have less liquid so they don’t dilute your icing and they also have a more intense colour (so add sparingly).
10. Know some basic substitutions such as these to save time running to and from the grocery store:
- 1 cup cake flour = 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp cornstarch.
- Rice flour, potato flour and cornstarch can all be used interchangeably.
- Buttermilk can be made by adding 1 tbsp lemon juice to 1 cup milk. Let sit for a few minutes until it curdles, then proceed.
- Spelt flour can replace all-purpose flour 1:1.