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I love to bake. I really do. It’s relaxing and lets me think about something other than writing deadlines, homeschooling lessons, and that mess in the front hall. Yet sometimes my holiday season gets so hectic that fast Christmas baking takes the place of a leisurely afternoon.
And you know what? That’s okay. Maybe you don’t have time to do much baking this holiday season. Or maybe you feel guilty because you don’t like to bake. That’s okay too.
But if you feel guilty because you aren’t living up to your (or your kids’) vision of home-baked Christmas goodies, I have a few suggestions. Read on, mama!
Cheat Your Way to a Home-baked Christmas for the Memory Books
Christmas and sweet treats just go together, right? Well, they do at our house, anyways. Yet Christmas also means dance recitals, concerts, community events, and a whole host of other responsibilities.
And if you’re also a working mom, like I am, running a business or managing a career as a work-from-home professional, your time management skills get put to the test during the holidays.
That’s why I created my 12 days of simple Christmas activities for busy moms. This series helps working homeschool moms incorporate simple Christmas activities into their busy homeschool routines.
Now I know, based on my own experience and from the emails I get from other work-from-home homeschooling families, meal prep, grocery shopping, cooking and baking are a pain point we’re all learning to handle.
I’ve been cooking for my family for 30 years…and I even operated a catering company when my big kids were little. So I do know a thing or two about baking and cooking “cheats” and shortcuts. Here you go!
#1. Bake Your Own Frozen Cookie Dough
So if you’re one of those moms who actually does like to bake but can’t find the time during the weekdays or the holidays, here’s a tip.
Wait until the kids are asleep. Then mix up your favorite cookie dough and freeze it for later. And while I believe it’s important to bake and cook with kids so they learn how, it’s time-consuming.
While mixing cookie dough can take up to 30 minutes alone depending on which child I’m working with, doing it myself takes under 15 minutes.
I just mix it up and pat it into shape. I like to freeze mine in a long cylinder, wrapped with plastic wrap and tin foil.
Then when we’re looking for a fun, fast Christmas baking activity, I just pull out that frozen cookie dough. And I feel kind of virtuous, you know? Because I had the forethought to plan ahead. And it’s homemade cookie dough. And slicing it and putting it on a tray in the oven is so simple.
#2. Bake Storemade Cookie Dough
Truth time. Sometimes I don’t feel like mixing my own cookie dough. And I need to cheat – even at fast Christmas baking!
So I grab a can of those pre-made sugar cookie dough cans from the freezer section. They usually pop up around the holidays and include a design (I’ve seen pumpkins, hearts, shamrocks and Santas) right in the middle of the dough.
Store the can in your fridge freezer, then just slice them up into cookies for a quick tray of holiday cookies. Christmas cookies from freezer to oven in under 15 minutes.
#3. Make Microwave Fudge
I love fudge. And I love the fact that I can make homemade fudge in under 15 minutes with just TWO ingredients. (Okay, sometimes three if I want to get fancy.)
Basically, as long as you can rustle up a microwave, some chocolate chips and some condensed milk, you have a fast Christmas baking option.
But of course, you can get fancier. Here are a few recipes for inspiration
- Eating on a Dime 3 Minute Microwave Fudge
- The Spruce Eats Microwave Fudge
- Allrecipes Gaye’s Microwave Fudge Recipe (more complicated but SO good)
#4. Decorate Store Cookies
Here’s another quick Christmas baking cheat for non-bakers or just plain busy moms.
Just buy plain sugar cookies or shortbread. Then grab some icing and sprinkles from the baking aisle. (Tip: I found a sample pack with five different holiday colours recently.)
Add sprinkles, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, cinnamon mini-hearts, mini red and green M & Ms….whatever works and gets your kids into the holiday spirit.
We did this as a “friends and family” activity when my older kids were young. And everyone had a blast decorating and showing off their creativity.
#5. Get a Cookie-Decorating Kit From Your Local Bakery
So a couple of months ago I wrote a story for Meridian Credit Union about how local businesses have responded to the mandatory business closures that happened in some areas back in the spring.
I interviewed Martha Zacharias, a savvy baker, business owner, and also a busy mom. Zacharias created cookie decorating kits and offered home delivery to local customers at Easter, Mother’s Day, and Halloween. Support your local bakery during the COVID-19 lockdown. Each kit included a dozen cookies plus all the decorating icing and extras for fun family time.
Check with your own local bakery to see if they offer a similar service. If so, get the cookies delivered and you will be all set.
What are your favorite Christmas baking cheats or quick holiday recipes? I’d love to know. Share in the comments below!