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The Co-op & King Arthur Flour Share Holiday Baking Tips & Recipes

Dec 20, 2018 01:49PM ● By Kevin
The holidays are all about spreading cheer and giving. What better way than a warm, delicious batch of Christmas cookies or a thoughtfully designed mason jar? Not only will holiday baking make your house smell irresistibly festive, but you’ll put a smile on the faces of all who receive your treats.

Baking is a precise skill. You don’t want to lay out your supplies, work hard to put everything together, and come out with burnt or undercooked goods. For the perfect baking day (or week) for the holidays, you want to have great recipes and tips to make sure you’ll be successful.

We were able to compile a few recipes you can whip up in bulk to give out to friends and family this holiday season, as well as some cookie-making tips. The recipes come from the Hanover The Co-op Blog, while the tips come from King Arthur Flour. Happy baking!

 

Cornbread and Granola Mixes Courtesy of the Co-op Hanover Blog

“If you want to make loved ones feel really cared for, nothing’s better than a homemade treat, carefully prepared and packaged in pretty wrapping!” says The Co-op food writer Victoria Hicks. “The granola would make a great gift to pack in mason jars with a ribbon and note. Also, the cornbread mix is yummy and makes a super gift.”

Make It Yourself Cornbread Mix

Ingredients

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1½ cups stone-ground cornmeal

¼ cup sugar

1½ tablespoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

 ¾ teaspoon baking soda

1½ cups milk

½ cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

 

Instructions

1. Whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Store in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dry place for up to 3 months.

2.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and whisk in milk, oil, and eggs until evenly combined. Pour batter into a lightly greased baking vessel and bake as directed below. Let cool slightly before serving.

3. Cooking Times:

a. Mini muffin tin (makes 45): 10 to 12 minutes

b. Standard muffin tin (makes 15): 12 to 15 minutes

c. 10-inch cast-iron skillet: 25 to 30 minutes

d. 8-by-8-inch baking dish: 30 to 35 minutes

e. 8-by-4-inch loaf pan: 55 to 60 minutes (tent with foil if browning too quickly)

(Recipe repurposed from Real Simple, November 2017)

 

Easy Granola

Ingredients

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup slivered almonds

1 cup cashews

3⁄4 cup shredded sweet coconut

1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbs. dark brown sugar

1⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbs. maple syrup (or honey) • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil

3⁄4 teaspoon salt

1 cup raisins

 

Instructions

1.  Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  In a large bowl, combine the oats, nuts, coconut, and brown sugar.

3.  In a separate bowl, combine maple syrup, oil, and salt.

4.   Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color. Remove from oven and transfer into a large bowl. Add raisins and mix until evenly distributed. This stays fresh in a sealed jar or container.

5.  Experiment by adding a little cinnamon and nutmeg; add a tsp. of vanilla; try swapping out the raisins for currants, dried cherries, dried chopped up apricots, or cranberries. Try walnuts, macadamia, or pecans in- stead of cashews and almonds, or a mixture of them.

(Recipe reprinted courtesy of Alton Brown)

 

Cookie Baking and Decorating Tips Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

“Holiday baking preparations can start as early as 6 to 8 weeks or more before Christmas Day,” King Arthur Flour’s website says. “Recipes can be chosen, supplies checked, and even some of the actual food — for instance, cookie dough and pie — can be made ahead and frozen. Here are some tips for getting a head start on the holidays.”

 

1.  Make a baking timeline; post it on your fridge.

2.  Select your recipes; buy or order any specialty ingredients (from King Arthur Flour, of course!)

3.  Make a gift list — who's getting what?

4.  For best selection, shop early for gift packaging and delivery supplies (King Arthur Flour also has these available for purchase).

5. Bake your fruitcake; brush it with syrup every few weeks.

6.  Clean out your freezer to make room for freeze-and-bake treats.

7.  Check the freshness of your baking supplies (yeast and baking powder especially).

As for cookies, “there are several distinct stages to making rollout cookies,” King Arthur Flour’s cookie decorating guide warns. “It's easy to break the process down into simple steps that, depending on your schedule, can be spread out over the course of several weeks.”


Below are 10 additional tidbits about the cookie making process, courtesy of King Arthur Flour:

1.  Cookie dough can be made in advance, and refrigerated (up to 1 week) or frozen (up to a couple of months).

2.  Cookies can be rolled, cut, baked, and cooled, then stored in an airtight container (for a week) or in the freezer (up to a month), before being decorated.

3.  Finished (decorated) cookies can be frozen for up to a month.

4.  Before you begin, here are some handy all-around tips:

5. Chill cookie dough before rolling.

6. For ease of handling, roll smaller rather than larger pieces of dough; keep unrolled dough chilled until you're ready to work with it.

7. To really nail your baking time, bake and cool 3 or 4 test cookies first, before baking the whole batch.

8. Cool cookies completely before decorating.

9.  There are three types of icing: glazing (thin and satiny, dries hard), frosting (stays soft on the cookies, similar to buttercream), and royal icing (dries hard and opaque) – choose your favorite and decorate accordingly.

10.  The basic decorating technique after icing: work with the cookie while the icing is still wet, lay it on a piece of parchment paper, generously cover with sugar or sprinkles, gently tap off the excess sugar, and use the parchment paper as a scoop to transfer excess sugar back to the working area for future use. It may take several hours for the cookie to dry.

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