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Holiday Baking with Friends

Years ago, in my 20s, my two besties and I would get together for a bit (or some would call a lot) of holiday baking. We would gather up all of our supplies – literally anything that can be used for making up some delicious holiday treats – and bring them over to one of our group’s homes. We would also purchase extra flour, sugar, brown sugar, butter, and anything missing that got used up from last year’s baking supplies. We would have a large dining room table filled with baking supplies when we started out.

We would gather early, at about 8am and have donuts, tea, and coffee to fuel our morning start. We each gathered recipes prior to the day and printed them all out. While we ate our donuts, we would look through the recipes and narrow them down to our favorites for that year’s baking. Over the years, we learned which items turned out pretty enough for gifting, which ones were so yummy they didn’t matter what they looked like, and which of them fell flat (like chocolate chip cookies) in the gift department.

By 9am, we were off and running. We alternated between working on the same treat when there were multiple steps involved like sugar cookies with icing and working on individual treats. We would laugh and talk and enjoy the time together during a time of year that was hard to carve out time for friends with so many family and work obligations. We would have the occasional flop like our one try at peanut brittle that ended in a black goo in the bottom of the pan (that we threw in the trash) or the chocolate chip cookies that for some reason just spread out across the baking sheet without rising, making thin brown blobs with little black dots (the chocolate chips).

We would bake well into the afternoon before we would realize we hadn’t eaten anything except tastes of our delicious sweet treats. Hunger would kick in and we’d call out for pizza. We’d continue baking while we waited the hour-ish for it to arrive, starving the whole time. Ravenous, we would eat almost the entire pizza while we relaxed on the sofa and chatted some more also being sure to discuss what was left to do and what was getting scratched off the list as we ran out of daylight.

Refueled by the pizza, we’d bake for a few more hours, usually until about 9 or 10pm. Then one of us would hit a wall of tiredness. All of our eyes would be glazed over from too much sugar, silliness, and fun. The laughter would always leave me with an ache in my stomach the next day as if I’d done crunches at the gym all afternoon. It was fantastic.

One year, the baking was so much fun that we went for a second round the following day. Albeit it was a much shorter day, but it was a blast.

At the end of our baking sessions, we’d get out the tupperware containers and divvy up the goods. Everyone getting some of each treat to share as gifts with their loved ones. Once home, we would each pull out our tins, baskets, or cute boxes, tissue paper, wax paper, and ribbons and wrap up the delicious treats in place them every-so-cutely inside their respective containers. Label them with the names of who they would be gifted to and wait to see the joy on the faces of the receivers of our delicious goodies made with love, laughter, and friendship.

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Illustration by Blume Bauer ©

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