“Holiday Baking Days” are generally not a part of our December traditions, but 2020 found us having two this year: one for our kids (holy flour and sprinkle explosion!) and one for just me. All alone. In my kitchen. With no little fingers and extra messes to worry about.
*Ahem* – maybe the mess was just as big, but it was just me, prepping, cooking, decorating, packaging, and having myself a good ole’ time while Jamie graciously had the girls out of the house so that I could have some “me” time to baking some treats for our neighbors.
I can’t put my fingers on when I started cooking and baking from scratch, but it’s been my thing for a long time. I find that if you always have a list of essentials on hand, baking from scratch is not only a piece of cake, but it’s so much more affordable than routinely buying packages. It also tastes way better and is super gratifying. 🙂
As soon as we run out of baking essentials or a spice of some kind, I immediately jot it down on my grocery list for my next trip.
Having a trusted cookbook and food blog as your go-to is super important too, and when it comes to baking, Sally’s Baking Addiction is my resource every time. I’ve made dozens of her recipes over the last five years, and every one of them is perfect. She’s taught me so much about baking.
Cooking or baking from scratch is also so much easier and more enjoyable when you have a variety of tools to pick and choose from that fit your needs, such as baking sheets, a slew of measuring utensils, etc.
A few days ago I ran into our local Walmart and completely lost myself in their Home section.
I haven’t updated a lot of my baking tools since we got married 10 years ago, so I scooped up some additional baking sheets, mixing bowls, measuring cups/spoons, and some treat containers to deliver to our neighbors. There doesn’t seem to be a kitchen item that they don’t have, and Walmart Home usually offers each kitchen item from several different brands to pick from. Most of what I scooped up during this trip was from the brand Wilton and Pioneer Woman (so stinkin’ cute!).
After I grabbed my ingredients, I headed home and prepped to bake the next morning (i.e. pulled up my recipes, set out butter to soften, set all dry ingredients out on the counter, etc).
I started at 9 a.m. and had the kitchen entirely cleaned up with packages ready to be delivered by 1 p.m.
If you’re looking to make some last-minute treats as well this Christmas week, here is how I quickly made these four recipes.
- Peanut Butter Blondies
- Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
- Chocolate Cake Balls
- Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
- I started with the Chewy Chocolate Chips Cookies. I made the dough and then put it in the freezer to chill.
- Next, I made the Peanut Butter Blondies.
- While those cooked, I made the cake for the cake balls. While that was baking, I made the frosting.
- While the cake finished up, I got started with melting chocolate (both milk chocolate and white chocolate) for the pretzels.
- Once the cake was cooled, I mixed it with the icing and scooped it into balls using my melon scooper. I lined a baking sheet with wax paper and then put the balls into the freezer to set.
- While those were setting, I began dipping pretzels into the melted chocolate.
- I swapped out the cake balls for the pretzels in the freezer.
- I then dipped the cake balls into the chocolate and decorated them. Back into the freezer they went.
- When the Peanut Butter Blondies, cake balls, and pretzels were all finished and cooling or setting, I got the chocolate chip cookie dough out of the freezer and scooped it onto a baking sheet.
- I cleaned up all at once at the very end, packaged the treat boxes, and took Sadie to deliver them with me (always trying to sneak in one-on-one time with the girls where I can).
I doubled each of the recipes and ended up with 10+ boxes to gift to neighbors plus an entire tray to serve our friends who came over to film their daughters’ and our daughters’ Christmas piano pieces.
Here’s a link to all of the goods I grabbed from Walmart to bake. Having a fresh set of measuring tools and baking sheets was GLORIOUS. And everything was so affordable. I cannot recommend updating your baking items enough. It’ll make you want to get them out and do some cookin’!
Hi! I’m Erica, and I absolutely adore sharing my life on this website with you! I come here almost daily to blab about all of the things related to being a regular wife and mother in today’s ever-evolving society. I share about our new home, what’s on our kitchen table, what we’re hanging in our closets, where we’re traveling to next, my crazy 5 a.m. work outs, how I make time for girlfriends, our faith, and much more. We always have a lot of balls in the air and somewhat thrive on the chaos. I believe in the power of story-telling as a form of inspiration and entertainment, so I’m here to do both! I was born and raised in north Alabama and recently re-planted roots here again after my husband transitioned out of the Army (he is now in the Reserve and it’s going so well!) I’m a super proud mom to three little girls (ages 7, 4, and 1) who seem to be the stars of the show around here (for good reason – they’re pretty great!) I’m so glad you found me and are here reading! I hope we can get to know each other here on the blog as well as Facebook and/or Instagram. xoxo