We’ve teamed up with Albertsons Companies to share tips and ideas for stocking your kitchen with holiday baking essentials. Whether your local store is Safeway, ACME, or one of Albertsons Companies’ 19 other supermarkets across the country, make sure to download their free Deals & Delivery mobile app. And don’t forget to join their for U™ Member program to get weekly personalized deals, redeem Rewards for discounts on groceries, receive an annual birthday treat, and even get a free item every month—all for no membership fee or monthly cost. Not a member yet? Here’s a sweet “Welcome” offer: Get $5 off your next online grocery order of $25 or more.
One of my favorite holiday traditions is spending the month of December doing more baking than I do all year. There are cookie swaps to participate in, gingerbread houses to make, and holiday parties to attend—all of which come with different baking expectations. I always look forward to those days spent in the kitchen, watching the snow fall, and letting the house fill up with cozy, sweet aromas.
After years of working in a test kitchen, I’ve learned that in order to maximize my baking enjoyment, a little planning goes a long way. Whether you’re a novice baker with a lot of enthusiasm or a seasoned pro, here’s a handful of tips and tricks to help you get ready for the holidays.
1. Make a Plan
While I love the joy that spontaneity in the kitchen can bring, when it comes to holiday baking, I try to plan in advance. I usually have a list of items I bake every year (like ginger snaps for cookie swaps, and a Dutch stollen for Christmas breakfast), but I also like to research new recipes to try out. While you can always change the plan at the last minute, having a rough sense of what you want to make means being able to stock your pantry well in advance.
2. Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Equipment
It’s easy to overlook, but most grocery stores have an aisle filled with cooking equipment, where you can find everything from pie dishes and cake pans to glass measuring cups and whisks. Once you have a recipe game plan, check out your existing baking tools to see what items you don’t have. While you’re thinking about equipment, do you need to restock your parchment paper or aluminum foil? What about toothpicks and pastry bags? Whatever you’re missing or running low on, add it to the grocery list. Having all the proper equipment ready to go means avoiding that dreaded panic of “I need to pause this baking project and run to the store.”
3. Stock Your Pantry With Baking Essentials
I try to keep a full baking pantry year round—not just for the holidays. In the theme of planning ahead, first check to see what you already have stocked, and what’s still fresh. Luckily many baking must-haves last a long time: Flour is best between 3 and 8 months once opened. Granulated sugar can last up to two years, and brown sugar is around the same.
Quick tip: If your brown sugar has hardened, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave it for 20 seconds until it loosens up. Eggs keep for about 3 to 5 weeks in the fridge, so you don’t need to worry about spoilage too much. I keep a few pounds of unsalted butter (about eight to 12 sticks) in the fridge this time of year (they’ll stay fresh for up to two months!) so that I can easily get it to room temperature if needed, but I also have a stash in the freezer in case I use it all up. Consider stocking your baking pantry as a bit of insurance against last-minute grocery store runs.
4. Make it Specialty
Flour, sugar, butter, and eggs are the base of many baked goods, but holiday baking usually requires hunting down some more specialty ingredients. Once again, I like to buy these well in advance to avoid the store running low on stock (or worse, out); luckily, most last long enough to not worry about shelf life. Items to consider sourcing early are gluten-free flour, specialty flours, alternative milks, maple syrup, spices, and jam.
5. Shop Smart
Prepping for the holidays isn’t just about planning—it’s also about finding ways to save time and money. By signing up for a free for U™ Member program at your local Albertsons Companies supermarket (find the store nearest to you right here), you’ll get access to the free Deals & Delivery app, which offers a slew of great savings. Plus, you can earn Rewards on items purchased, get personalized deals, and receive a free item every month.
What are your go-to bakes during the holiday season? Share your favorite recipes below in the comments!
Check out the free Member programs at supermarkets from our partner Albertsons Companies, like ACME for U™, Albertsons for U™, Carrs for U™, Jewel-Osco for U™, Pavilions for U™, Randalls for U™, Safeway for U™, Shaw’s for U™, Star Market for U™, Tom Thumb for U™, and Vons for U™.