The Essential Guide To Christmas Holiday Baking

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The Technique

The Essential Christmas Holiday Baking Primer

Holiday baking is one of life’s simple joys. Hand crafted cookies, cakes & beautiful breads not only leave the creator with a sense of accomplishment but those who have the opportunity to sample them benefit as well. Whether you’re a novice or an advanced baker, it’s important to have the proper ingredients, tools, equipment & gifting supplies available well in advance to make to process efficient, rewarding & fun. Read through the recipes before beginning. Make a list of items that may need to be purchased online or picked up locally so you don’t find yourself in a jam. Follow a few of my pointers & get ready to bake & give your best small batch treats to date.

The Recipe Box. Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern HostessFROM THE KITCHEN OF BUTTERMILK LIPSTICK

{helpful advice}

How To Bake During The Holidays

Most everything lovely that comes out of your kitchen, particulaly during the holidays, begins with planning & logistics. From curating the finest ingredients to making certain supplies are available to create a beautiful gift for someone dear to you, many tasks must be taken care of before baking can even begin. Create a list, place orders for items now & make a timeline. Once the baking has concluded, items may then be divided a number of ways. Rolls may be stored in the freezer for Christmas dinner, cookies may be packaged for friends while coffee cakes & pastries may be wrapped & stored for gatherings as needed. 

The Essential Christmas Holiday Baking Guide By Rebecca Gordon Editor-In-Chief Buttermilk Lipstick Cooking & Baking Tutorials TV Cooking Personality Game Day Tailgating Modern Southern Socials Pastry Chef Writer Food Stylist Birmingham Alabama Editorial Director Digital Culinary Photo Journalist Game Day Tailgating Southern Hostess Southern Entertaining

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The holidays are an opportunity to honor family & friendships with specially prepared baked goods that may be offered to guests during parties or given as gifts. Be certain you’re on task this season with these helpful pointers.

No. 1

The Ingredient Staples

The most important task before baking can begin is being certain the proper ingredients are well stocked in your pantry & refrigerator. The average 4 pound portion of sugar yields approximately 9 1/2 cups while you can expect approximately 13 cups from a 5 pound bag of flour. Access the items you plan to bake. Pound cakes use a large quantity of eggs & butter. Purchase pecans in bulk to make the smartest use of your budget. Any remaining nuts may be stored in the freezer for several months & used for a variety of recipes at a later date. 

Count on cooking spray to help release muffins from tins while a combination of shortening & flour will ensure pound cakes come out of tube pans without blemishes. Check individual layer cake recipes & if parchment paper is needed, do not skip the additional step of lining the pans. There are a variety of grades available offered at different price points from the internet to local sources so use them according to how they will be needed in recipes to maximize their value.

Always use pure vanilla extract in recipes. Vanilla bean paste may often times be substituted for the beans to use in custards & sauces but just know they will be a little sweeter in flavor. Use a fresh batch of spices for cakes, pies & cookies to ensure the best taste. In many cases, smaller quantities may be purchased but you may need to ask for assistance as to their location in stores as it varies market to market.

No. 2

The Tools & Equipment

Invest in quality bakeware at every turn. I prefer heavy, silver or gray pans for layer cakes yet thinner, sturdy bundt pans for pound cakes as the bake time is often lengthy. Once you have a brand that performs well in your oven, don’t stray from it when replacements are needed. Heavy duty half sheet pans are the staple I rely on time & time again for baking cookies. The thick bottoms ensure the cookies brown & bake evenly. Use them for cheesecakes to deposit & retrieve them from ovens more easily, too. 

The most popular time to reach for rolling pins is during holiday baking. Although a traditional style may be used for most tasks, consider purchasing a tapered pin as you become more comfortable in the kitchen. They’re excellent to use for fine tuning dough to the proper thickness quickly & accurately with just a few quick, deliberate & lightly pressured pivots.

Microplane graters are wonderful for capturing citrus zest quickly while channel knives can produce beautiful ringlets for cake garnishes. Check local kitchen stores for these essentials & ask associates to guide you in choosing the best tool to complete the task you have in mind. 

The Pan Essentials

 Bundt Pans

One pan is generally all that is needed in order to create a variety of sweet & savory offerings. Steer clear of dark pans as they tend to brown cake bottoms too much.

Loaf Pans

Always have two on hand as many breads & coffee cakes yield several. If you plan to give them as gifts, paper pans may be purchased from fine cook stores to make packaging easier. 

Cake Pans

Always invest in 3 {8-inch} & 2 {9-inch} cake pans for use as that is how many recipes are formulated. 

Muffins Tins

Non-stick silver coated pans are my personal preference. Have two standard 12-cup & two miniature 24-cup capacity pans in your cupboard to use for cupcakes, breakfast breads & corn muffins

The Gift Essentials

Bakery boxes & cellophane bags are just a few packaging elements you can use to really make your hand crafted items shine for recipients. Pick them up from specialty cake shops, order them online or look to super centers & craft stores to locate them. Mason jars also make a wonderful packaging vessel, too.

Ribbon, string & gift tags make your baked goods special. It’s your opportunity to show friends & family a bit of your personal style. Beautiful satin spools in chocolate or cream add such a lovely finishing touch to freshly baked miniature pound cake loaves while teal or red offer more whimsy. Slip the baked goods into cellphone bags first, then tie them with bows. 

Holiday-Cookies-Fresh-Ginger-Molasses-Cookies-Rebecca-Gordon-Editor-In-Chief-Buttermilk-Lipstick-Ginger-Crinkle-Cookies-Holday-Entertaining-Southern-Cookie-Exchange=Recipes-How-To-Make-Christmas-Cookies-Baking-Lessons-Cooking-For-Crowds-Soft-Ginger-CookiesNo. 3

The Baking Session

Have friends over & plan to bake items together. Offer refreshments that include traditional holiday sweets such as Fresh Ginger-Molasses Cookies, Chocolate Gingerbread ThumbprintsClassic Gingerbread Cake with coffee, egg nog or hot cocoa. If savory nibbles are desired, a selection of simple appetizers such as Rosemary-Pine Nut Olive TapenadeSun Dried Tomato-Rosemary Cheesecake make lovely offerings.

No. 4

The Logistics

Many baked goods can be prepared well in advance. Consider preparing drop cookie dough up to one month in advance. Thaw the dough & bake the cookies the day before gatherings or giving. Gingerbread & sugar cookie shapes can be baked & iced up to two days ahead of time. If you are planning to offer a specialty layer cake, bake the cake layers up to two weeks in advance. Wrap them well in plastic & foil then freeze them. Remove the layers from the freezer 30 minutes before you wish to finish them & reserve time for frosting & garnishing the cakes the day before the party. 

The Tune
“I’d Like You For Christmas” Julie London

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Football Fanatic * Buttermilk Lipstick Culinary & Entertaining Techniques Instructor * Cooking & Baking Tutorials * Media Personality * Baking & Pastry Artist * Gardener * Runner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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