Too early to start holiday baking?
I am planning to prepare some holiday gift baskets for relatives this season and would like to start baking as early as possible. Is it too early to make cookies to freeze? How about little breads or granola? What can I make now to make life easier later!?
You can start making things that keep well in the freezer like cookie dough (or some baked cookies that contain butter), cakes and breads. I'm making assorted cookies, quick bread, pound cake & rum cake to send to my son. I'll start making the cookies and quick bread next week and freeze. I'll make the rum cake about a week before mailing. I'm also making granola which I'll make a few days before mailing....
You can make rum cake and/or fruit cakes now, if you want and I imagine you can make other baked goods now that contain a nice amount of alcohol, which would retard bacteria growth...wrap well and keep in a dry dark place to "marinate"
My family always calls them cookies, but more of a confection are Buckeyes (chocolate covered peanut butter balls).
1 lb chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 lb powdered sugar
2 sticks softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 12 oz packages chocolate chips
Blend pb, sugar, butter, vanilla in a large bowl. Shape into 3/4 inch balls and chill in freezer until hard. Melt choc chips in double boiler. Dip balls in chocolate, leaving the top part of the pb showing. Put on wax paper and freeze until chocolate is hard.
This recipe makes a ton, and they freeze very well (I would guess they keep for months in the freezer). I've never had a problem with the chocolate getting that whitish color from freezing (maybe because of using choc chips?) Not the most sophisticated flavors ever, but they are always a favorite.
I started Christmas cookies this morning. I usually start baking Thanksgiving weekend, and freeze the cookies once I have already baked them. I put them in tupperware, separated by layers of wax paper. (The only one that I don't freeze are the ones with the Hershey's kiss on top, because then the chocolate gets too hard. Those I make into balls, then freeze unbaked, and bake from frozen when I'm ready to serve them. Otherwise, I haven't had problems with freezing any of them) They will definitely keep well beyond Christmas. In fact, when I was cleaning out the freezer in preparation for baking, I found some of last year's cookies. I wouldn't give them as gifts, but my husband and son happily ate them and they still tasted good. Happy baking!
Ikmuller, no it is not to early to start the process. I will make my cookie dough and shape them then freeze them unbaked. For example, I make some cookies that are required to be rolled out into balls, I will roll the balls, place on cookie sheet, place cookie sheet in freezer, freeze the balls solid then transfer into container and place in freezer. Some cookies are to be made into logs then sliced and baked. They I find come out prettier if I first make the logs,wrap in plastic wrap, freeze part way, then take from freezer and roll them again on your counter, do this a few times until the logs are beautifully round then continue freezing. I then put them in a plastic bag. When baking, I let the logs defrost somewhat then slice them and place them on a cookie sheet. You don't want them totally defrozed when you slice them, because the dough will lose some of it's form and sometime not aways, slicing them completely from the freezer will be difficult and they can crack when slicing, so, somewhere inbetween is the best....you might try slicing directly from the freezer and see how the first slice come out, then figure it out from there. Either way the logs sliced cookies come out truely round, which makes them prettier!!! The balled cookie you can defroze in the refrig on a baking sheet or on the counter, you can also semi-frozen bake or bake directly from the freezer, just add extra time on the baking. Rugelach cookies can be formed then again freeze individually on a sheet then package in tupperware and when ready to bake, place on a sheet, defrost totally or somewhat in refrig or counter and off you go.....
Once baked you can once again freeze them individually and then store them properly in the freezer. Hope this helps....let me know if you have any great recipes!!! heylids