Christmas Baskets
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Beginners and Advice
Christmas Baskets
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I would like to make some bake goods for some Christmas baskets I am putting together (breads, cookies, cakes, etc.) When should/can I start baking? I do not want them to become stale or hard. Also if
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Cat:3473a929-a609-4b85-8818-bf915c7505deForum:6ccd414b-874c-4e32-8064-35710fb4af41Discussion:9b94c8aa-49e0-4bd1-b889-94b4af7cefd4

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Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/1/2010 12:37 PM EST
Posts: 1
First: 12/1/2010
Last: 12/1/2010
I would like to make some bake goods for some Christmas baskets I am putting together (breads, cookies, cakes, etc.) When should/can I start baking? I do not want them to become stale or hard.

Also if you have any good recipes they would be helpful too. :)

Thank you in advance

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/1/2010 1:09 PM EST
Posts: 7292
First: 6/23/2010
Last: 4/17/2014
Tricia - I plan on a large number of baskets too.   I'm baking cookies right now.  As soon as they are cool I put them in heavy zip-lock bag, remove as much air as I can and put into the freezer. 
I am confident that they will be fresh and good.
I've been doing this a long time and it's always worked ... but I do only cookies.
Best wishes to you.

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/2/2010 9:57 AM EST
Posts: 3406
First: 10/6/2010
Last: 4/15/2014
If by breads you mean quick breads like cranberry nut, pumpkin, banana and the like those freeze very well and you could make them now and wrap well and freeze.  Remove from freezer and thaw in the refrigerator with out unwrapping.
Yeast breads probably would be best made the day of or day before giving.
Cakes also freeze well.  I would bake, wrap and freeze just like the quick breads.

You might even want to make things a bit easier for you baking wise.  Some of your cookies could be done in a jar.  Layer the ingredients and attach an instruction tag along with other needed ingredients like butter or vanilla.  Let your recipient bake them when they need (ha ha like any one needs cookies).  If they get a lot of cookies as gifts they may become stale (like that would happen in my house!).  But in a few weeks it might be nice to have nice home made cookies.

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/7/2010 12:20 AM EST
Posts: 3
First: 11/19/2010
Last: 12/7/2010
One thing I often do, especially if I've doubled a recipe, is take out some parchment paper (I use parchment paper on my baking sheets: works great!) and put it in a plastic freezer bag, then fill it up with spoonfuls or balls of the cookie dough, and put the whole thing in the freezer.  

My mom likes to lay out the drops of cookies on a cookie sheet and freeze them and THEN put them in the bags, so there isn't so much danger of the dough sticking together.

Then when I feel like warm cookies, I just get out the freezer bag, pull out the parchment paper, and rearrange the balls of dough, then slide the parchment paper onto a cookie sheet. 

I don't even necessarily defrost them (at least not with recipes that I've made a lot and know what they're supposed to look like).

Almost mandatory, however, is writing the name of the cookie recipe on the bag (a Sharpie works well), along with the temp. for the oven and how many minutes to bake them.

I think pre-baking the cookies would work fine, too.  But it's nice to be able to have actually baked them recently, with all the work being done ahead of time.

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/7/2010 8:16 AM EST
Posts: 7292
First: 6/23/2010
Last: 4/17/2014
Kate - thanks for such great ideas. 
I consider parchment paper and Sharpies gifts from God. ;-)
  

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/7/2010 9:16 AM EST
Posts: 528
First: 10/6/2010
Last: 6/11/2011
I learned a lot of great tips from this question, thanks for posting!

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/7/2010 9:16 AM EST
Posts: 2162
First: 8/8/2008
Last: 4/17/2014
The moose I belong to are making up christmas baskets for shut-ins we are giving them out this week

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/7/2010 9:46 AM EST
Posts: 483
First: 10/5/2008
Last: 12/5/2011
WOW  I add these to my repetoire and I now feel like a master baker.You people are gooood.  Thanks a million and one.

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/7/2010 9:55 AM EST
Posts: 124
First: 8/13/2008
Last: 5/11/2011

Kate J, thanks for that tidbit about freezing pre-formed dough.  I have purchased frozen packs like this through school fundraisers, and its great for those quick, baking needs/wants - and you don't have to bake the whole batch at one time.  Making your own is much more economical!

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/14/2010 6:25 PM EST
Posts: 12
First: 10/5/2010
Last: 12/14/2010
That parchment paper tip is great!

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 12/14/2010 7:39 PM EST
Posts: 1819
First: 9/9/2008
Last: 4/16/2014
Tricia, the breads would probably last about a week before going stale.  I put mine in the fridge and they keep at least three weeks before they get a little hard.  With the cookies, it depends on what kind of cookie.  But to keep them for any length of time they should be kept in a closed container in a cool place.  If you have an unheated porch that would probably be ideal.  If you're using cream cheese in anything, that has to be kept very cold or it will get moldy(previous experience lol).  There are a lot of good recipes on this site for breads and cookies and I think most of them would be freezable if that is easier.  You can type in the kind of thing you want to bake in the search box(upper right of this page) and it will take you to like recipes.  Hope this helps.

Re: Christmas Baskets

posted at 2/19/2011 11:32 PM EST
Posts: 1400
First: 8/9/2008
Last: 6/2/2013
I always use parchment paper.

Kate J. thanks for the info regarding freezing pre-formed dough.

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