To paint to scene… Grandma is telling you to use some ancient recipe that includes orange Jell-O; the in-laws are in the other room and they can smell your burning cookies; and the herd of children are stealing bites from your fresh out of the oven baked goods. While there is beauty in the busyness of the holidays, let’s leave the chaos out of the kitchen.
We want to optimize our time with our family and don’t want to stress while baking. However, this can be hard for a crowd as the holidays tend to revolve around food and that adds extra pressure to anyone cooking or baking.
That’s where your friends at Station 24 Café come in! We believe that baking hundreds of assorted cookies a week in the middle of our busy tourist season, qualifies us as baking experts. Our bakery staff is skilled in the science behind classics like chocolate chip cookies and blueberry muffins, to specialty seasonal recipes like Apple Cider doughnut muffins! So, our staff has sat down and created a list of tips and tricks to assist you this busy holiday season.
And if all else fails… feel free to swing by our Café and pick up one of our Holiday Baskets full of seasonal recipes, or, a box of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory that is sure to be a crowd pleaser (and is currently 10% off!)
1. Do Try to Cook for the Entire Crowd
- Your favorite recipe may be those dry butter cookies that crumble as soon as you take a bite (even though it’s rated as the second most hated holiday cookie) but the recipe is on the back of the Land-o-Lakes box of butter and it seems simple. Or, you love to cover your pie in all of the pecans you can find. Unfortunately, these will be left out on the table untouched for most the day. Opt for crowd pleasers you know everyone will like from kids to adults! At Station 24 we taste-test all of our recipes with staff, family, and friends before serving. We recommend to try a small tester batch and give a sample to those around you! Plus, you’ll make a few new BFF’s during the process.
2. Do Try Different Seasonal Recipes
- Here’s the hard part, wanting to create the crowd pleaser but also not bringing one of six pumpkin pies to the party. Try something different and seasonal! Here are some of our favorite seasonal recipes: Apple Cider doughnut muffins, Pumpkin mini loaves, Cranberry mini loaves, Banana Spice cookies, and (our personal favorite) Pumpkin Chai cookies.
3. Do Some Freezer Friendly Options!
- Freeze those cookies and baked goods in advance! This is a HUGE time-saver and helps reduce waste. You can freeze items like cookies and brownies before OR after baking. These sturdier cookies and brownies can either be portioned out raw and baked when needed, or, baked from frozen at the time of the event! Pies and breads we recommend freezing raw and baked at the event. For frostings, make a day or two in advance and top after you are done with the final toss in the oven.
4. Do The Decorating!
- A quick way to make almost anything seasonal and even more appetizing, is adding those quick final touches. Even a quick sprinkle of nutmeg or cinnamon can make a world of difference to those baking projects. Presentation is almost as important as the recipe itself! And bonus points for seasonal sprinkles.
5. Do Use Quality Ingredients
- At Station 24 Café, using high quality ingredients is so important to us when creating amazing food. Using top quality ingredients can drastically impact how your creation tastes. Be sure to double-check your purchases at the store, and make sure you have everything you need when you begin baking.
6. Do Crank Up Some Tunes!
- It’s easy to get overwhelmed when baking for the entire family, extended family, and the inevitable last-minute guests. Often when you walk back into our kitchen, there’s a podcast or some type of music blasting on the speakers. A few of our bakery staff are big true crime podcast fans- let us know if you would like any recommendations!
1. Don’t Throw Your Hard Work Away.
- Your baking doesn’t all have to be the sweet stuff! There are multiple ways to revive turkey, mashed potatoes, and other leftovers. There are savory muffin recipes (Try our cheddar bacon muffins for reference), pot pies, soups, and even sliders that will help feed those family members who may have slightly overstayed their welcome.
2. Don’t Skip Chilling the Dough
- This is a big one!!! We too have gotten way too excited and not taken the time to chill the dough but this makes a huge difference! Be sure to chill the dough for at least 30 min prior to baking.
3. Don’t Measure Incorrectly
- Oftentimes, the recipe you are using either creates too much, or too little for your party size. Baking is a science so you need to have those ingredients measured perfectly for a good final product. If you need to modify a recipe then the conversions must be done correctly to ensure it tastes great. We’ve attached a conversion sheet to help so you don’t have to bring out the calculator. We recommend to print it off and keep it in your kitchen.
4. Don’t Forget About the Altitude!
- Our area sits at a high altitude, and believe it or not, the air pressure of different altitudes can drastically affect the way you bake. So, if you have family coming in from sea level and they are doing the baking, help them understand the nuances of high-altitude baking.
We are thankful for our community in BV and Salida, and hope you all have an amazing holiday season! We hope our tips help and if you have any more tips for us, please comment them below!
– Your Friends at Station 24 Café