Holiday Baking Tips and Sending Secrets

by Kimberley McGee
Holiday baking

This the third of the 12 Days of Holiday Organizing series, which is part of the 12 Days of Homeschooling Fun with craftsorganizing tips, recipes, study units and more!

You look forward to holiday baking for months, gathering recipes and jotting down ideas in great anticipation. And then December rolls around and it’s a scramble to get the treats in tins for friends near and far.

The holiday baking planner in your Holiday Organizer Kit can track those tasty gifts that you plan to send from your holiday kitchen. To stick to that delicious and detailed plan, here are a few basic tips. I also share my go-to chocolate truffle treats that are easy to make and kid-friendly in the kitchen.

A holiday baking planner is part of the Holiday Organizer Kit. It can help you track what you made this year and be a handy reminder for next year! Holiday Planning Kit – Peppermint Candy holiday baking

Prepare to Bake

It can be overwhelming, considering how many cookies you hope to make and how much time is actually available during the holiday season. Whip out the calendar and choose a day. Choose some music, a show or podcast, too. Clear the schedule, the kitchen and alert the family to what deliciousness is going down that day.

Before you start whipping out ingredients, whip up a timeline. What cookies and treats will you make? Which ones require resting, chilling or freezing? Do you have all the ingredients for the amount of cookies you plan to bake? (Check the butter twice, it disappears from the time you looked and the time you have to bake.)

Do the doughs that freeze well and will be used for later first followed by the chocolate treats or candies that need your complete attention last. Honestly, I save those for their own day or ditch them altogether if I’m busy. Fussy treats are not your friend if your holiday season is packed with other joyful moments.

Prepare the Dough

Bring all your ingredients to room temperature that need to be before measuring out the dry ingredients and placing them in bowls ready to be added.

I start making batches of sugar and gingerbread cookie dough in mid-November. If a cookie emergency arises, and they always do, you can whip up homemade and festive treats in an afternoon. I also have discs of gingerbread, sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookie dough ready to bake and have for last-minute gatherings and gifts for little boys and girls or hostesses within an hour.

If you are preparing to bake and send soon, make the dough and cookies the day ahead and save decorating for the following day. By doing this, you are fresh for the fun part and not rushed to just get this annual event over with.

To dress up the plain cookie, I dip them in melted chocolate or colored candy melts and add the following layer:

  • Crushed nuts
  • Sprinkles
  • Coconut
  • Orange or lemon zest (beautifully paired with white or dark chocolate)
  • Crushed candy canes

Boom done.

holiday baking tips

Shipping Baked Goods

The best kinds of cookies to send have some heft. Thin or ornate cookies will crumble and break in transit. Cookies with dried fruit, drop and bar cookies ship the best. Place treats and dusted confections snugly in their own tiny holder or wrap them in wax paper to keep them fresh and in place.

If you want to be extra careful, wrap each cookie in plastic wrap. However, I find if I stack them and wrap them with a bow and nestle the many different types of cookies into a tin, they arrive just fine. And it’s like a treasure trove of treats to unwrap on arrival.

Always make sure the cookies or treats are cooled before placing them in holders or the tissue-paper lined tin. Line the tin with bubble wrap. Cover that with a layer of tissue paper, although wrapping paper works in a pinch. This is great for those little squares of wrapping paper you may keep if you are a hoarder like me!

Stack the largest cookies at the bottom and the smaller confections, such as candied nuts or truffles, at the top. Mark the box with “perishable” and “this way up” to help it get to where it’s going with the least amount of breakage, cookie wise.

The last day to mail out your homemade holiday treats is Dec. 15, 2020 to ensure they get to where they need to be by Christmas Day.

Go-To Kid-Friendly Holiday Treat

brigadeiro for holiday baking

I have a non-chocolate lover in my house, and even he finds these to be a perfect holiday treat. They are so easy to make and look like fine chocolates on arrival.

14 ounces of sweetened condensed milk

4 Tablespoons of cocoa

2 Tablespoons butter (plus more to put on your palms)

pinch of salt

Heat all of the ingredients in a pan on medium-low heat. Whisk continuously. I’m not kidding, constantly have that mix moving. Kids can stir and watch as it goes from a thick mix to a fudgy mass in about 20 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and give it a few more twirls with the whisk. Let it get to room temperature. Rub a stick of butter over your palms before scooping and rolling the dough between your palms and popping it into a bowl of sprinkles. You can also dip them in cocoa, coconut, finely chopped nuts and anything you would put in or on fudge.

Optional: add cinnamon or a touch of cayenne for a kick to the mix as it cooks. I have also added vanilla when the mix got a little burned. That mixing is no joke. This is not a confection you walk away from.

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