Saturday, December 08, 2018

Before you delve too deeply into Christmas baking, check that pantry!

How do I happen to be giving this advice?  It's the voice of experience talking!

I hadn't started my Christmas baking this year until I impulsively decided to stir up a double batch of Chocolate Spritz on December 4.  I had about an hour before my weekly phone call with my Nevada daughter, and thought I could easily get the dough mixed and maybe even finish baking most of the cookies before our chat.

I got the flour into the sifter and got out the can of baking cocoa.  Oops, only a few tablespoons left.  I went to the storage and discovered the baking cocoa was all gone.  My sweet husband went to the store and replenished our supply, but by the time he returned I needed to call our daughter.  He went ahead and mixed the cookie dough, and all was well until he hit another roadblock -- none of the colored sprinkles we usually dip our chocolate spritz into!

So I handed the phone to him and let him visit with Joanna while I searched for sprinkles.  I found some holly berry ones he could use (but they sure don't look like our traditional cookies!) and he proceeded.

I'd purchased some things for Christmas baking -- like orange and lemon and maple extracts, like peppermint baking chips and allspice berries and a few other things.  But I just wasn't fully prepared.

All this reminded me that yes, believe it or not, right in my Christmas notebook I have a list titled "Long-Term Holiday Shopping List".  I think it was an idea from FlyLady some years back.  It includes not just baking ingredients, but also groceries for our traditional Christmas Eve meal, ingredients for a few freezer meals and kitchen gifts, and more. It's such a great idea to check this list against your pantry contents before beginning to bake or cook for Christmas, to find out what will be needed.

I'm sharing my list, but really it will differ for everyone.  In fact, as I looked it over I saw that there were a number of things I needed to add.  So I added them in, and have now actually printed out the revised list and placed it in my notebook.


Extra flour -- regular and gluten free
Extra sugar -- brown, white, confectioners
Corn syrup and molasses
Extra cornstarch
Extra butter
Lemons and oranges
Walnuts, pecans, sliced almonds
Raspberry and apricot jam
Baking chips -- white, semisweet, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and peanut butter
Marshmallow fluff
Evaporated milk
Sweetened condensed milk
Baking chocolate -- unsweetened squares and cocoa
Extracts -- almond, orange, lemon, maple, vanilla
Whole spices -- cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice berries
Ground spices -- cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves
Almond bark -- white and chocolate
Candy -- Hershey kisses, Andes mints, candy canes, M&Ms
Colored sprinkles
Red and green colored sugar
Stretch-tite plastic wrap (best for wrapping cookie trays)
Extra foil, waxed paper, parchment paper
Cheeses -- shredded cheddar, blue cheese, ricotta, Neufchatel, mozzarella
Half-and-half cream
Extra eggs
Frozen chopped broccoli, spinach, pureed squash
Lasagna noodles
Sour cream

So make up your own list, making note of specific ingredients required by your own favorite family recipes for the holiday.  Then check it against what's in your pantry.  Hope this idea saves someone a trip to the store!


  1. Yes, my sister and I ran into this yesterday when we thought we had things all so organized. Depending on how far one is from the grocery store, it could prove absolutely maddening. The other thing is that we needed to read through the entire recipe first to refresh our fading memories. This is how one batch of cookies wound up with nuts inside instead of outside. Oh dear!

    1. Isn't it crazy how you can think you are so well organized and you are missing some vital ingredient? We are only 5 minutes from Hannaford and about the same from Walmart, so it's doable, but I hate to interrupt what I'm doing to go to a store!

      And yes, reading through the recipe! So important. I added jam to a cookie after baking rather than before as the recipe said, but in retrospect, since the cookies spread out way too much, I'm very glad I did it that way. Burned and melted jam would have been a mess on cookie sheets even with parchment paper!

  2. Great list! Thanks for the tip about the Stretch-tite plastic wrap! Added it to my own list.

    1. Thanks, DJ! Glad it was helpful to you!

  3. Always something missing when you decide to bake on the spur of the moment. Great list Mrs.T.

    1. I know! I always think that I bake a lot, but when I do so on the spur of the moment I invariably find I've run out of something!


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