The holidays are right around the corner and what do the holidays mean? Holiday baking of course!
Holiday baking is the best. The bars, the cookies, the candies, the pies, and all the other desserts—I think I just gained 5 pounds imagining sugar cookies and gingerbread. The only problem is everyone is baking at the same time, which puts ingredients in short supply when you need them. Pandemic baking huge, remember when all the flour, yeast, and even baking powder were nowhere to be found? This Holiday Season will probably be like that again.
How about this year you skip the last minute stress and stock up now? Better, how about you stock up now and save an extra 5%.
The trick is:
- planning what you need to stock up on
- how and where to store all the stuff
- buying the best quality you can
- keeping your family from raiding your stash of chocolate you need for baking
Yes, you can freeze it
When you’re stocking up, your freezer is your friend. Butter, cheese, nuts, nut flours, and bread can all freeze for a long time. When butter is on sale (salted and unsalted, of course) I always stock up and fill up the freezer (it does take a day to thaw in the fridge). Epicurious has a full list of 15 things you can freeze, I learned a few new tricks, but I’m not sure about milk and buttermilk suggestion.
By the way, If you got into the sourdough making thing and getting a little tired of it, take 1-2 cups of your starter—like the discard before feeding/baking—and put it in a freezer bag. Drop that in the freezer and you have a safety starter at the ready. All you’ll need to do is thaw and feed it a couple times and you’re ready to bake again.
I don’t just mean flour (AP, bread, cake, whole wheat, and more), don’t forget:
- butter (salted and unsalted)
- shortening (if that’s your thing)
- baking power
- baking soda
- corn starch
- sugars (regular, light brown, dark brown, and icing)
- cocoa powder (the good stuff is worth every penny)
- salt (kosher and table)
- pie shells and puff pastry
Now more than ever it seems like things run out all of a sudden. If the bread baking bonanza of the spring is any indication, I think this year everyone is going to try to make grandma’s cookies. So stuff is going to go fast.
In my family we make bubble bread Christmas Eve and it calls for frozen bread dough. Want to know how many years we’ve ran around trying to find frozen bread dough just before Christmas?
Which brings me to…
Time to go nuts with the other stuff
You know that all the usual nuts start getting in short supply at the holidays, and you do not want to be trying to find chopped pecans or walnuts at the last minute. But holiday baking calls for more than nuts, don’t forget all the other stuff like:
- dried fruits (raisins and the rest)
- chocolate (buy the good stuff)
- cherries and other candied fruits
- pudding mix
- custard powder
- cake mixes (the best homemade oreos start with chocolate cake mix)
- extracts (vanilla, almond, and hazelnut)
Remember nuts can go in the freezer. For the other stuff, if you don’t have a pantry cupboard, try a storage tote with a good lid. Don’t label it “Christmas baking supplies”, though, or your family might raid it when feeling snacky.
I have a lot of my ingredients in easy-to-grab baskets and containers. When I’m getting things together to cook, I use a 1/2 sheet pan to carry stuff to the counter (mise en place is your friend and secret weapon). Containers, bins, and sheet pans are a cook’s best friend let me tell you.
We make this every year. You start Christmas Eve, then bake first thing in the morning. Honestly I don’t know why we don’t make it just anytime…
• 24 frozen dinner rolls or loaves of frozen bread dough cut into 24 pieces. If you’re using bread dough, only let it thaw enough to cut up.
• 85 g package of cooked butterscotch pudding mix (not instant pudding, that won’t work)
1/4c white sugar
1/4c brown sugar
1/2c melted butter (or margarine)
Putting it together:
Start this the night before you want to bake it. Grease a 10″ bundt pan. Mix sugars, pudding mix, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Layer 12 rolls or bread pieces at the bottom of the bundt pan in a circle. Sprinkle half the sugar-pudding mix over the bread pieces. Pour half of your melted butter over the pieces. Layer the rest of the bread on top, then sprinkle the rest of the sugar-pudding mix and melted butter on top.
Cover with a clean damp cloth and leave out at room temperature overnight.
In the morning, preheat your oven to 350. Put the bundt pan on a sheet pan or cookie sheet. Bubble bread tends to bubble over when baking. When the oven is ready, bake for 30 minutes. When the top is browned, it’s done.
Take out of the oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Take a plate and put it on top of the pan and flip the whole thing over, remove the bundt pan, and reveal the ooey, gooey awesomeness.
Cut up or pull apart. Don’t worry about leftovers—there won’t be any.
You know what I really, really want?
Spices! I’m just as guilty as everyone else in having a lot of stale spices in my cupboard. Now is a good time to check the usual holiday baking suspects like nutmeg, cinnamon, mace, cloves, ginger, and allspice to see if they still even smell like, well, spices. Stuff that smells like old dust, will taste like old dust, so toss them.
Think about dinners too
I might have started with baking, but it’s not a bad idea to keep your eye out for things you need for holiday dinners right now too. There might be sales on for the big things like turkeys and roasts coming later, but that doesn’t mean you should pass up a good deal on the main course. You could even start grabbing the bags of day-old bread cubes for stuffing and tossing them in the freezer. Sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, and such might keep until the holidays, but I wouldn’t risk it. Stick to the freezable or dry stuff like cranberries, cans of sides, and cartons of stock (chicken, beef, and veggie).
Are you ready to save on Holiday baking?
Download Moola and start saving on your everyday essentials. Your cookies will taste even sweeter this year when you realize how much you saved.