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Gemma’s Bold Baking Tips for the Holidays

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Hi Bold Bakers!

As we head into a busy Holiday season, I wanted to show you some Holiday Baking Tips for desserts and sweets you can make in advance so you can tick them off your list and  have more time for family and friends.

Do you want to know how to prepare a whole pie in advance? Or tips on getting all of your Holiday Cookies ready?

Be sure to subscribe to my FREE Newsletter for more videos every week and bold baking tips like these!

How to Prepare your Holiday Cookies in Advance

Roll out your cookie dough. I use my Irish Shortbread Recipe because in Ireland we would normally eat shortbread around Christmas.

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Dust off your Holiday cutter and go nuts with the festive shapes! Come on, we only get to do it once a year.

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Place your cookies on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and freeze them flat.

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Once frozen, stack your shortbread cookies in a freezable container, label them and write on the baking directions and pop back in the freezer for 6-8 weeks.

5 from 2 votes
Irish Shortbread
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 
Servings: 30 cookies
Author: Gemma Stafford
Ingredients
  • ¾ lb (12oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar , plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC).
  2. In an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the room temperature butter and sugar until they are light and pale in color.
  3. Add the vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then add them to the butter-and-sugar mixture. Mix on low speed until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a surface dusted with flour and shape into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 60 minutes.
  5. Roll the dough ½-inch thick and cut using cutters.
  6. Place the cookies on a baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the edges begin to brown lightly. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  8. Store in an airtight container for 2 weeks.

 

Make Ahead Pie Crust

Did you know you could prepare pie shells in advance and bake them from frozen? Also, baking from frozen means you never have to blind bake a pie crust again.

Roll out your pie crust on a floured surface. Butter a pie dish and lay your pastry loosely in the dish letting the pastry flop over the rim.

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Roughly trim the pastry to shape your crust. You want to leave a good lip of pastry so you have some to work with. Don’t worry about it looking rough, you can fix that before you bake it.

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Take a fork and dock the pastry. This will stop it rising up while baking. Cover the pie crust in cling wrap and label.

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Freeze the pie crust for up to 8 weeks. When ready to use take out of the oven and bake directly from frozen. If you are using it for a pie that normally needs to be baked blind just bake it as is, with no beads or beans. Just bake the crust from frozen eliminating the task of blind baking ever again. Yay!!! Get all these details and the complete recipe on my How to Make Pie Crust post.

 

Crock Pot Apple Pie Filling

Crock Pots never cease to amaze me. There is not much you can’t make in one, and best of all most household own one. So dust it off and crank it up because we are making Apple Pie Filling.

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This pie filling is a true traditional pie filling with the flavors you have come to love, however the trick is all of the ingredients are mixed together in a crock pot, then just set it and forget it!

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Cook your Apple pie filling until your apples becomes soft and all of the flavors marry together.

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Store your Hot Apple Pie Filling in sterilized jars. This preserves them so you have fresh pie filling at the ready.

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Store your Apple Pie Filling for 6-8 weeks at room temperature or in the fridge. Get my complete Crock Pot Apple Pie Filling recipe.

Get more Bold Baking Holiday Tips at my Holiday Baking Headquarters.

 

 

 

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Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I’m passionate about sharing my years of experience to show you how to make game-changing baking recipes with over-the-top results! Join more than 1 Million other Bold Bakers in the community for new video recipes every week!

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17 Comments

Write a Comment and Review

  1. Uche on December 1, 2017 at 11:06 pm

    Oh Gemma, you make baking so much easier and fun. I love the way you break down every detail so we make less mistakes during baking. I will love to be a pastry chef like you someday.. Love ya

    • Gemma Stafford on December 2, 2017 at 2:17 am

      Hi there,
      Thank you for your kind comment. Keep at it and you will be able to do what you want too. Practice is everything in baking,
      Gemma 🙂

  2. huzaifa arif on November 30, 2017 at 9:10 am

    hey gemma! can we decorate your irish shortbread with fondant and what is the difference between shortbread and regular sugar cookies.thanks🎄🎄❄❄🎄🎄

    • Gemma Stafford on November 30, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      so someone told me today that the difference between the 2 cookies is actually just egg! 🙂

      For decorating yes you absolutely can use rolled fondant however most commonly used is royal icing https://www.biggerbolderbaking.com/make-royal-icing/

      Hope this helps:)

  3. Rachaelcurtin on November 27, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Thanks for the tips. They are really helpful! I have a question,how long does it usually take for the apple pie filling to bake? Apple pie is a big thing in my house and I’ve messed it up quite a bit so hopefully 3rd times the charm!

    • Gemma Stafford on November 28, 2016 at 1:41 am

      Hi Rachael,
      1. Yes, use dark chocolate for thee Reeses cups.
      2. Hand blenders are a range of prices, depending on where you live. For all kitchen appliances I say buy the best quality you can, they last a really long time. Check these out on Amazon.com.
      3. the ginger crock pot pudding is one of the best recipes ever! do try it, I will add more of these to my list.
      4. Apple cooks according to the apple variety, again this depends on where you live. In Ireland and UK we get a bramly apple which cooks down really quickly in the pastry. Some apples may need to be part cooked and cooled before adding to the pastry. If in doubt stew the apples, with the appropriate amount of sugar for the apple, until they are just barely soft. This will continue to cook then in the pastry.
      Thank you for being with us, Gemma 🙂

  4. Gail on August 25, 2016 at 8:53 am

    Love your site. Cant wait for the Holiday baking.

    • Gemma Stafford on August 26, 2016 at 3:05 am

      Ha ha Gail! it will be here before we know it! time flying by 🙂

  5. Marisol on June 14, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    Great recipe! I will have to try this recipe out for my family because all of the pie crusts that I’ve made have always failed. Thanks Gemma!!!

    • Gemma Stafford on June 16, 2016 at 3:38 am

      Hi Marisol,
      Great, the secret to good pie crust is cold ingredients and quick hands. Once the balance of ingredients is right, you cannot go wrong,
      Gemma 🙂

  6. Lynn on December 18, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Hi Gemma, the frozen cookie dough can be baked straight from the freezer or do we have to bring them to room temperature?

    • Gemma Stafford on December 18, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Hi Lynn,

      Bake it straight from frozen no worries at all. If it was yeasted like cinnamon rolls or croissants i would safe defrost then bake 🙂
      Happy Baking!

  7. bianca on December 6, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Hi Gemma,
    My son is lactose intolerant is there anyway I can use vegetable shorting and dairy free margarine in the short breads. There so many children with food allergies that it make it hard as I live making short bread and gingerbread men for the kids and there class mates as gifts at Christmas time. Thank you so much I love your page and your recipes you are amazing and you make me think outside the box and your recipe have brought so much happiness to my friends and family.

    • Gemma Stafford on December 9, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      Thanks for your questions, Bianca. I haven’t tried that, but it should be fine. Let me know how it turns out 🙂

      • bianca on December 10, 2015 at 10:06 pm

        Ok so I tried it however they where tuff but the kids at school loved then. I have also done mason jar gifts with your giant cookies ,vanilla sprinkle cake and apple pie crok pot filling also reworked your quick vanilla cake mix to make a Christmas spiced tea cake in a mason jar. So thank you very very much merry Christmas xxx

        • Gemma Stafford on December 14, 2015 at 8:43 pm

          Delighted to hear that, Bianca 🙂

  8. marcello mac nirdi humutowo on December 6, 2015 at 12:27 am

    i like it but you make more big the flour i give you 4 star thanks for the information me

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