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Hi Bold Bakers!
I love the baking season but let’s face it, it can be stressful! I asked on social media what you feared the most about holiday baking, and you brought up some really great baking topics that I’m sure a lot of people have the same concerns.
I compiled a list of some great baking tips that will get you through the season without even breaking a sweat!
1) Let’s Talk Pie Crust
Great pie starts with a great crust and I have the go-to recipe on How to Make Pie Crust for you. I make this before the holidays and freeze it so I have it to hand when I know I’ll be entertaining or even impromptu relatives showing up… you know the ones.
- Use a metal pie pan to eliminate a soggy bottom: Metal pans conduct heat exceptionally well and are generally thinner than ceramic making them champs in the browning department. Metal pans can also be safely transferred from the fridge or freezer to the oven with no risk of shattering. For metal, I recommend the Good Cooke 9 inch Pie Pan.
- Get your pie filling ready ahead of time! I have a great recipe for Crock-Pot Apple Pie Filling that can be made in advance of the busy season, canned, and kept in the fridge for a few weeks. It’ll give you one fewer thing to worry about.
- Worried about a soggy bottom? Bake your pie on a preheated baking pan to ensure a crisp crust. Place this pan on the lowest rack of the oven so you are closer to the direct heat source. The results are perfectly cooked, crisp pastry every time. Check out the video for a visual, but this means you preheat a baking pan and then put the pie crust already in a pie pan onto the hot baking pan.
What pie is on your menu this year for your holiday baking? I have them all! Classic Apple Pie, Best Ever Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie, or Pecan Fudge Pie.
2) Baking with Yeast
Around the Holidays homemade bread and cinnamon rolls are often baked when the family gets together, however, the one thing that can deter people from making these recipes is the fact you need to use YEAST! (Uugghhh!)
Here’s my secret: Use instant yeast! Unlike Active dry yeast, you don’t have to take the extra step of sponging instant yeast in water before adding it into the rest of the ingredients.
Treat instant yeast like any other ingredient like sugar, flour or salt. Just add it to your dry ingredients and continue on with the recipes. No extra steps and no waiting. I’ve have done this with instant yeast for years and my dough never fails to rise.
P.s If you haven’t used your yeast since last Christmas it might be time to get a new pack as yeast does expire.
If you are still unsure but have to have your cinnamon rolls Thanksgiving morning, then try my Yeast-Free Cinnamon Rolls.
3) How To Roll a Swiss Roll/Yule Log
So festive rolled cakes like Yule Logs or my Swiss Roll make for an impressive centerpiece during the holidays! The fear people have with them, however, is that they can crack and be unrollable.
Here’s my secret: Once the cake comes from the oven, and while it’s still warm, carefully roll it up like you would if it was filled. Hold it in place for a few seconds then carefully roll it back down flat. What you are doing is creating a kind of muscle memory — so once it’s filled, the cake will already be used to being rolled and will do so with ease and without cracks!
However, if your roll does happen to crack, just dust it generously with powdered sugar and no one will know the difference.
4) Festive Little Treats Good for Parties and Gift-Giving
Two words: Microwave Fudge! It’s no-bake, it can be made in advance, and it can be stored out of the fridge.
All you need is chocolate, condensed milk, and butter. Pop it into the microwave to melt and then you can add any flavor you wish to it! You can make Microwave Praline Fudge , Microwave Cookie Butter Fudge or even a Microwave Chocolate and Orange Fudge.
One tip: Don’t over mix the fudge base. Melted chocolate, when mixed too much can have a tendency to separate and appear oily. Just mix the fudge the absolute minimum to combine the ingredients then pour it into your pan to set.
5) How to Manage Cooking and Baking Multiple Things Around the Holidays
The answer to this is easy! It comes down to good menu planning and being as prepared as possible for your holiday baking.
Working in professional kitchens where we had to have all the dishes go out at the same time meant that we needed to have our mise en place (prep) all ready to go making it easy for us to fire dishes when called. When hosting family and friends for the Holidays you need to think the same way.
- First off, make sure every dish you are serving does not have to come from the oven. Have a mix of hot and room temp dishes (salads, crudites, dips). Giving you one less thing to fit into the oven and one less thing to bring to the table hot!
- Be prepared! The day before you can peel, grate and chop all the veg you need. Keep it in water overnight in the fridge or in a cold room in the house.
- So what about dessert? I have an amazing warm dessert perfect for the Holidays that you can mix the day before and on the big day just set it and forget it: Gingerbread Cake Made in a Crock-Pot.
Mix up the night before and keep it in the fridge in the Crock-Pot well. The next day, turn on the Crock-Pot in the morning and leave it there to slowly cook. This means you get a deliciously warm, festive dessert that you didn’t need space for in the oven. You can literally set it and forget it!
Get The Recipes!