cookies-christmas-xmas-baking

Achieving Christmas Baking Success

Friends, if you don’t own any Post-Its, you better run out and get some if you plan on doing some Christmas baking. I don’t know about you, but I like having all the cookies and breads and fudge and whatnot when it’s Christmas season. I spread them to my neighbors and friends, so whether I actually host anyone or not it feels worth it. But, I have learned an important lesson since I had a kid – it has to be planned out. I can’t take fifty trips to the grocery store. I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to get to the oven when the timer goes off if my husband isn’t home. The mess is going to be, in a word, ginormous. So, if you are as obviously insane as I am, here’s my tips to getting your baking done:

Be organized.

Wondering what Post-Its have to do with baking? Well, after I pick what I want to make, I put a Post-It with a recipe name on a Tupperware container. When I get a chance, I start taking out my dry ingredients and measuring them for the appropriate Tupperware. If I’m lucky, I can get the amount of flour I need for each recipe in just one sitting, but if not, it doesn’t matter because I’m not cooking yet. Last year I did my ingredient sorting three days before I started baking, but you could take longer. The best part is you’ll know if you’re short on anything ahead of time and only need one trip to the store for forgotten items. It doesn’t work quite as well for wet ingredients, but it’s easier to eyeball vanilla and eggs than a bag of flour.

Don’t be difficult.

I mean, don’t pick things above your cooking ability! If you’re still at “easy,” then please, do not pick this particular extravaganza to up your game. It will only stress you out more.  Baking 5,000 cookies is stressful enough, isn’t it? Actually, even if you are a professional baker, would you really want to make a whole bunch of “difficult” recipes? I doubt it. Maybe one or two, but who has time for more? I like making multiple recipes because I’m insane (2 cookies, 2 fudge or brownie, and 1 bread), but there’s also the possibility of simply making a ton of one or two specific recipes. That’s actually my plan this year – I’m in a tiny kitchen at the moment, and I don’t know a lot of people here anyway, so I think it’s a good choice.

I also don’t recommend anything with frosting, unless you’re a pro. It’s just too time-consuming, so I definitely won’t add that to my list. I know there are so many options for frosting; here’s alternatives, here’s tips, here’s blah blah blah. There are so many recipes for cookies and sweets without frosting out in the world, I don’t know why a time-crunched person like myself would bother. If you’re looking for a new cookie, you can try my Lazy Cookies ‘N Cream Cookies. Yeah, the name is about as long as the recipe.

Don’t worry!

So what if it takes you more than a day to get through your baking if you big? It might even take you another day or two to distribute the goods. Some of you perfectionists will worry about staleness, but how many recipients will eat everything at once? They will probably blame any staleness on themselves. How great is that? They’ll also be grateful that you thought of them, unless they know you are a terrible baker, in which case you obviously hate them. Kidding! I know it seems odd to let your recipients take the blame, but once you’ve finished, you have enough to deal with other than worrying. Look at your kitchen. It’s a disaster. You can clean that instead of thinking about the perfection -or lack thereof- of your baking. Of course, this is one caveat to this. Don’t serve stale baking at a party.

Don’t eat all your Christmas Baking!

Seriously, isn’t this the hardest one to follow? Now get out there and start baking!

Lazy Cookies 'N Cream Cookies

Lazy Cookies ‘N Cream Cookies

I am not a baker. Cooking is a passion, but I don’t love measuring spoons or cups because it takes more time than just throwing stuff in a pot and tasting it as I go. I also don’t like sweets that much. Not even chocolate – sacrilege, I know. My husband doesn’t have a sweet tooth either, so it’s a rare occasion when we have a dessert. But, it does happen from time to time. For example, when it’s Christmas time I love to bake – and I overdo it. I still like to take shortcuts when I can, so when I decided I wanted to try and make cookies ‘n cream cookies, I knew I wasn’t going to be chopping up candy bars or Oreos.

I am aware that there are 15,100,000 search results on Google for this exact type of cookie, and I’m sure one of them is similar if not exactly the same, but I didn’t have time to read every single one, and perhaps you don’t either.  When I first made these cookies I did read a few of them, but they all involved cookie crushing, and if I don’t get a cheesecake crust at the end, I’m not crushing any cookies. It’s probably not the most amazing, chock full of cookies, cookies ‘n cream cookies recipe you’ll ever come across – but it’s just as easy as making chocolate chip, and sometimes I need variety.

Why Pudding?

This recipe uses pudding mix, and though I’ve used it in chocolate chip cookies, I never bothered to find out why you put it in the mix. When I started mixing my own, I had to look into it because the Oreo pudding boxes only come in one size, and it’s not the same size as in other recipes. I didn’t want to add a bigger box and discover the cookies somehow exploded, tasted only like pudding, or something else overly dramatic that would not actually happen. Anyway, what did I find out? Pudding mix makes cookies soft and adds a bit of flavor. It really does make them soft – and not just when you first cook them. They stay soft for a long time, which is nice if you’re making them for yourself and don’t eat them all at once.

Lazy Cookies ‘N Cream Cookies Recipe

Ingredients

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
4.2 oz Oreo cookies ‘n creme pudding mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
12 oz white chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Soften the butter (not too melted), add eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, vanilla, and stir.
  3. Beat in flour and baking soda.
  4. Add pudding mix (don’t make it, just pour it in).
  5. Mix in white chocolate chips.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of cookie dough on a greased baking sheet and cook for 10-12 minutes.

Notes

You can mix in the pudding if you want to, but I like to hand stir it to keep the cookie chunks as big as possible. It doesn’t seem like there will be a lot, and some cookies will be low on cookie bits and high on white chocolate chips, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take to make it as easy as possible. The other thing I would note is that these are REALLY soft when they come out of the oven. Like, so soft you can’t pull them off the cookie sheet right away or they’ll just crumble. You could probably add more flour if you wanted, but they do firm up and I like the softness. Okay, that’s it. Enjoy your cookies!