1. Plan ahead. Make a list of the cookies and other baked goods you plan to make this year. Take an inventory of your supplies to ensure you have enough baking sheets, icing bags, parchment paper, as well as flour, butter, chocolate, nuts, and any other baking ingredients that your recipes call for. Don’t forget to also shop for cookie tins or containers if you’re planning to give your baked goods to loved ones as homemade gifts.
2. Always measure out ingredients. Baked goods often call for precise measurements, so follow the recipe’s directions carefully to ensure the finished product tastes top notch.
3. Line sheets and pans for easy removal. Use parchment paper to line cookie sheets. This will make removing baked cookies and treats much faster, as well as reduce clean-up time. When baking treats such as bar cookies or brittle, line the pan with non-stick aluminium foil and leave a few inches on each side. Once the baked goods have cooled, you can then lift them out of the pan by the foil.
4. Decorate simply. If you’ve baked a cake but don’t have time to decorate it with icing, place a cookie cutter with a festive shape on top of the cake. Next, just sprinkle icing sugar inside the cookie cutter or around its edges for a quick and pretty decorative look.
5. Watch over items as they bake. To avoid over-baking, set the oven timer for a few minutes shorter than the recommended baking time. As they near the completed baking time, test for doneness and bake for longer if needed. If baking a cake, insert a toothpick into the centre to check for doneness. If the toothpick comes out clean, it is ready. If the toothpick comes out wet then bake the cake for a few minutes longer. For cookies, keep an eye on them to make sure they do not burn.
6. Freeze baked goods correctly. Place goods in freezer bags or wrap them tightly in plastic wrap. If baked goods are wrapped and frozen correctly, they can last up to six months.