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How to Keep Holiday Baking Stress-Free

There is nothing that I take more seriously than holiday baking. Baking is usually a stress release for me, measuring and rolling are cathartic, and it’s nice to have a little control over something when the world seems out of sorts. But, holiday baking can quickly become more hectic than fun, with large quantities and a wide variety of baked goods to make for family and friends that you want to impress. Here are my tips for keeping holiday baking stress-free! 

  1. Narrow down what you’re baking 

It’s easy to get excited looking at cookbook recipes and online food magazines and then go overboard with what you’re baking. I like to go into my search for recipes with an outline of what I want to make; this year I knew I wanted to try new recipes for a fruit-based cookie, caramel cookie, and a Christmas Eve dessert. I recommend keeping new recipes to a minimum. It can become overwhelming to try too many new recipes all at once. In addition to the new desserts I’m baking, I’m making my tried-and-true holiday desserts – World Peace Cookies, Cut-Out Sugar Cookies, Ginger Crackles, Sprinkle Cookies, Chocolate Clusters, and Swedish Visting Cake

  1. Make a spreadsheet and a schedule

After you finalize what you’re making, I recommend making a spreadsheet to compile all the information and make it easily accessible. My spreadsheet has tabs for yield, active time, total time, and links to any recipes that I found online. Knowing how long it will take you to make each dessert is helpful for making a schedule. In my schedule, I plan to make cookies that need to chill overnight first, then bake them later in the week. I also scheduled when I should make desserts that will be eaten right away, like Milk Tea Bread Pudding, and desserts that will be eaten a day later, like Swedish Visiting Cake that my family will eat Christmas morning. 

  1. Know what you need 

Once you have your spreadsheet done, you’ll know how many cookies you’re planning on baking. I like to make a huge grocery list of all the ingredients I’ll need; I go through each recipe and calculate how much I’ll need in total of common ingredients like butter, sugar, eggs, and flour as well as note any specialty ingredients. I always opt to round up the amount of an ingredient to help avoid any last-minute grocery store trips. 

  1. Shop ahead of time 

Grocery shopping for the holidays is already stressful enough, but the stress is further magnified this year by supply chain issues causing shortages in goods. When you know exactly what and how much you need of each ingredient, I recommend trying to buy as much ahead of time to avoid the chaos of the grocery store during peak holiday season. If you’re doing a lot of baking like I am, you might find it best to buy in bulk from stores like Costco. In preparation for my baking, my mom has already bought 20 sticks of butter! 

With these tips under your belt, you’re bound to have a well-managed and stress-free holiday season of baking!

Kendall Foley

Conn Coll '24

Kendall Foley is a sophomore at Connecticut College majoring in Philosophy and pursuing a Pathway in Data, Information, and Society. At Conn, Kendall plays for the women's water polo team and is an intern in the Office of Student Accessibility Services. In her free time, you can find Kendall open-water swimming, baking, or spending time with her family.
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