Year 2 of marathon baking cookies, candy and muffins for friends and family as gifts. I've got a few tips to share after baking 11.5 dozen cookies, 2 dozen muffins and 1 sheet of candy (so far).
* Before Black Friday, Big Lots had an entire aisle of tins $3.00 each!
* Old Time Pottery has same priced tins at this time, I'm going out for 6 more this weekend with a 15% off coupon.
* Buy bulk at Costco, my happiest day was finding a giant bottle of vanilla at Costco for the same price as one 1/4 of it's size in the regular grocery store.
* Don't use specialty ingredients on Friends and Family. Just go with good old white flour, even if your little family is on board with white wheat or regular wheat, snacks just taste better with white flour.
* Don't assume your three year old has any interest in helping except to eat the batter and beg for more. She will say "but I HAVE to eat more!" Such drama!
* Just do everything after they go to bed! Or while another adult is supervising, although even a barrier in front of the kitchen will not stop the most determined child from getting through and seeing what his mama is up to.
* Buy a cookie scoop, it will change your life! No more sticky fingers scraping cookie dough from a spoon. AND your cookies will finally come out in the quantity the recipe states! Seriously I don't know how I lived before the cookie scoop!
Know when to quit:
* I just had to do that last pan of muffins at 9:45pm! I forgot the sugar topping and not seeing a pot holder nearby, reached in to pull the pans out bare handed! It worked for the 1st pan but the second was hotter and I dropped it! Upside down into the oven!!! Requiring us to turn off oven and spend a half hour cleaning!!! Pumpkin muffins that I had just lovingly pureed that morning and let drain all day just for this purpose! I was devastated to say the least.