Tag Archives: holiday baking

Home-Baked Hygge


My half-Norwegian mother is smiling at the swirl of interest in “hygge” (pronounced hoo-guh).  She was a master at home made simple pleasures that are the roots to kinship and comfort.  We could all use a few hygge tools in our kit right now.  I think my mom would endorse these five hygge hints to ease the holiday hectic:

 #5:  Prep a hot beverage mix, then use it. Choose something with warm milk, less caffeine, chocolate and herbs for a little calm. I love hot cocoa mix:  Whirl in your food processor until powdery:  ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon cornstarch, 3 oz. roughly chopped semi-or bittersweet chocolate, ½ cup baking cocoa (Dutched cocoa is a deeper flavor), ¼ teaspoon vanilla or almond extract, and a pinch of salt.   Store in an airtight jar and use 3 tablespoons mix per medium mug of heated milk or water.  Thank you @smittenkitchen!

Love your coffee too? Unwind with friends with a decaf version of C&H Sugar’s Toffee Coffee.


#4: Employ lavender’s magic. After holding your breath all day working the lists, breathe in one of HBA’s Writer’s Guild pro Nancy Baggett’s Lavender Place recipes Culinary lavender’s comforts range from sweet honey-spice snickerdoodles, to savory herbed popcorn for starters.

#3: Break down prep time…try making dough and freezing ready-to-bake. Just thinking, you might have time to get the dough made…but no time to bake! HBA member test kitchens lead the way on how to freeze cookie, yeast and scone dough to pop in the oven at any time.  Try this Freeze and Bake Scones example

 #2:  Drop, don’t roll.  For some of us, rolling out dough of ANY kind is challenging. Go with a drop or “scoopable” version —there are many sweet and savory options!  Butternut Softies are a great holiday fruit and nut drop cookie and Drop Biscuits are naturally comfort food.


 #1:  Often, eat simply.  Try a whole grain batter yeast bread served with a favorite veggie, lentil or bean soup and soak in the comfort of home.

Even these Top Five cannot guarantee coziness, simple pleasures and kinship when you focus on them alone. Include someone in one of these gifts, and hygge will come quickly to your heart and hearth!

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Holiday Gift Ideas from HomeBaking.org

slide33The Holidays offer great opportunities for giving, whether in the classroom or at home. We’re all scrambling this time of the year, so here are some personal and doable gift-giving ideas to help check  items off your to-do list!

Any number of baked goods can be gifted by combining all of the dry ingredients, then packaging in a bright and festive manner for recipients to prepare at their convenience.

IDEA #1 Make your dough one day, refrigerate; bake fresh the next. Refrigerated yeast roll dough shapes great, tastes better and stays fresh longer.

Baker’s Insider Tip: Add 1 Tablespoon potato flour or flakes per cup flour for best keeping qualities.

Use this recipe to divide and gift four friends each with these dinner rolls!

IDEA #2 “Made-by-me” noodles, crackers or bread sticks all tied up with a great soup! They’re easier than you think and can be eaten now or later!

For a great recipe for Bread Sticks, check out the Home Baking Association book Baking with Friends. The recipe can be found on pages 46-47.

For homemade pasta ideas, check this out!

For gourmet mixes galore, visit Rabbit Creek Gourmet.

Interested in making some delicious Cheese Crackers? Find the recipe here.

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Five Holiday Baking Tips

Holiday Baking tip #1 Mise en place – (pronounced meez en plas) in French it means “putting in place”, as in gathering everything you need before you start to bake. Measure ingredients, prep pans, preheat oven, being prepared makes it go more smoothly giving you a great finished product. Happy Holiday Baking everyone!

Holiday Baking Tip #2 Chocolate Substitutions – Baking is a precise art. And when it comes to chocolate, it’s important to get things just right. Here are some formulas to help you if you’re ever in need of a chocolate substitute.

• One 1-ounce square unsweetened chocolate = 3 tablespoons cocoa + 1 tablespoon shortening.
• One cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate morsels = 2 1-ounce squares unsweetened chocolate + 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar + 2 tablespoons shortening.
• 1 bar (4 ounces) sweet baking chocolate = 4 tablespoons cocoa + 4 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar + 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons shortening.

Extra tip: bittersweet and semisweet chocolate can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Bittersweet gives it a more sophisticated flavor due to its low sugar.

Holiday Baking Tip #3 Freezing Cookies – If you are freezing an already baked cookie, cool them thoroughly before freezing. Store each recipe in a separate freezer container that is labeled with the name and date. Most will freeze well for up to six months. You can store frosted cookies for up to two months, but we suggest you freeze the cookies unfrosted and then frost them just before serving.

To freeze individually raw cookie dough, roll in balls and put on a cookie sheet. Freeze until hard – about an hour. Then remove the frozen cookie dough balls from the cookie sheet and freeze in a gallon freezer bag. Make sure to label with date, baking time, baking temp and cookie variety. You can bake these at the same temperature called for in the recipe; just give them a minute or two longer.

Refrigerator /Icebox Cookies are cookies made from dough rolled into a long log. The cookies are sliced off one by one for even sizing and thickness. This can be done immediately, or you can freeze the log and slice them as needed.

iced_cookiesHoliday Baking Tip#4 Icing Cookies and Cakes – First make sure that cookies are completely cool before applying icing or it will melt. When adding food coloring, first mix the color into about 1 tablespoon of icing, and then blend that into the rest of the icing. You can keep adding more drops to get the depth of color you want. Try combining different ratios of drops and various colors to get all the colors of the rainbow.

Add 1 Tablespoon of Karo syrup to each cup of icing to help the icing set. You want a pretty stiff icing, however If it’s too thick, thin slowly by adding a few drops of water

Use a small offset or flexible-blade spatula or a rubber spatula to apply the icing. Push it from the center of the cookie to the edges, place on wire rack or wax paper to set. Work quickly so that the icing doesn’t dry out and start to set before you’re finished. You could cover any extra icing with plastic wrap and a wet towel

To make accent colors make a few colors then fill in Sandwich baggies twist into a cone and clip the end of the bag and it’s ready to use. Once the first coat of frosting is dry, you can pipe another color of frosting over the top to add details with accent colors and designs such as dots, lines, squiggles, and borders, when finish just toss the bag out.

Holiday Baking Tip #5  Which flour should you use? – The main difference among flour types is in the gluten content, which varies depending on whether the flour is made from hard wheat or soft wheat. Gluten is the protein that helps yeast stretch and rise. To achieve the best baking results, use the type of flour a recipe specifically calls for.

The California wheat council has some great information on all the different types of flours and their uses. Check it out here! http://bit.ly/1fdg8oX


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