Before I get started with holiday baking with a variety of cookie recipes, I like to plan out what I intend to bake first before diving into it. I make a list of all the ingredients from each recipe to save me the trouble of finding out later that I ran out of something. This way of holiday baking prep prevents the delay of baking that recipe or the need to make something else.
At the top of the list, I make sure to check what ingredients are already in my pantry beforehand such as flour, sugar, chips, evaporated milk, etc. After all, the worst part of stocking up with a fresh load of grocery staples is trying to put everything away if you don’t have a lot of storage and shelves.
Since the grocery stores usually run sales during these few weeks before the holidays centered around holiday baking, I found it also helps watching for their specials for ingredients like butter, brown and powdered sugar, chocolate chips, etc. Once I take inventory of my pantry, I can better judge how many bags of those sugars I might need for my holiday baking. I also buy a few extra pounds of butter for the freezer that I later can take out and warm to room temperature when needed for my recipes and any special flavor extracts, nuts, fillings, eggs, molasses, that also might be featured and specially priced. Taking advantage of newspaper food circulars also saves me money on those baking essentials I needed to buy anyway.
Stocking of the ingredients for individual recipes is one thing. But before I begin the actual process of baking, I check all the baking equipment that I will need. I pull out my measuring cups, measuring spoons, mixing bowls, an electric mixer, cookie cutters, rolling pin, aluminum foil, cookie racks to my trusty pot holders for making a smoother process.
To speed things up for holiday baking prep, I usually fill a few cookie sheets up at a time, each waiting a turn for the oven. Afterwards, I let the cookies cool in the pan for a few minutes and then use the same greased pan for the next batch. If the pan needs more greasing, I save a butter wrapper for lubing the pan again. Believe it or not, I used to wash the cookie sheets after each was pulled out of the oven before greasing it again for a fresh batch. However, it was just extra work and the cookies came out the same way without suffering so I stopped.
Furthermore, you also might want to read my post of freezing baked goods for extra help with your holiday baking prep.
Baking is a lot of fun. It is also a great family project to bring families closer together. Happy holidays from my family to yours!