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Baking: Plan Ahead to Avoid Holiday Stress!

Baking: Plan Ahead to Avoid Holiday Stress

Bonus: No Fail Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe

by: Annette M. Hall

Fall is in the air — if you had any doubt, a quick look out the window will confirm your suspicions. Most women seem to know this instinctively, as we begin airing out the house, spending more time in the kitchen, and making preparations for winter to set in. It's as natural as breathing for many homemakers.

The need to bake must be in the air, one close friend was busy today making pumpkin cookies. My own dear hubbie even rolled up his sleeves and got into the act. He made the most incredible home baked pretzels this evening that recent memory serves, with dough fresh from the bread maker. My contribution was home baked pizza topped with fresh chopped mushrooms, black olives, and a generous portion of sliced pepperoni, atop a creamy ranch sauce. Of course I wasn't as industrious as Shawn, I cheated and used frozen bread dough for my crust.

Shopping List

As we begin this nesting process, this is a good time to take stock of our kitchen cupboards; replenishing the flour supply, sugar, salt, baking soda and let's not forget to pick up a couple extra cans of evaporated milk for those luscious pumpkin pies. Baking condiments will be going on sale and having these baking staples on hand will save frustration when the fire is blazing in the fireplace, the family is gathered watching the latest new flick and a warm plate of cookies and fresh raw milk is just the ticket for a cozy night at home.

Planning ahead will allow you to save both time and money. There is nothing worse than having to make a special trip to the store for those last minute purchases, which means in all likelihood you'll end up paying more than you should, not to mention making an unscheduled trip to the grocery store. With the cost of gasoline these days, it really pays to plan ahead.

When that urge to bake becomes overwhelming, you'll be prepared with a well-supplied kitchen. Most baked goods freeze well, so if your freezer allows, when you bake a batch of cookies, instead of simply making one batch, try making two — put half in a zip lock freezer bag in the freezer. When unexpected guests arrive, simply pull them out of the freezer; you might even want to warm the cookies slightly in the microwave or oven for that fresh from the oven baked aroma.

One trick of being a successful homemaker is being able to keep your cool under pressure. The holiday season can be a stressful time for many people, so remember to plan ahead whenever you can, this will help make your life less stressfull and allow you to enjoy the holidays more fully with your family.

If you really want to impress your family and friends, this recipe makes the very best Peanut Butter Fudge on the planet and it's so easy to make, even a beginner won't be able to mess it up. The kids will love to help with this one.

No Fail Peanut Butter Fudge Recipe



  1. Melt the butter.
  2. Mix together the powdered sugar, melted butter and vanilla. It is not necessary to sift the powdered sugar. Stir together using a wooden spoon until smooth and creamy.
  3. Stir in the peanut butter. This will break most flimsy wooden spoons if you aren't careful. Squishing everything together with your hands works well at this stage.
  4. Press the fudge into a buttered 8- or 9-inch square pan. (You won't need much butter, simply use the butter wrappers you reserved. If you will be making several batches for gifts, you can line the pans with foil, so they lift out of the pan after they are set. Be sure to press the fudge in firmly, so as to prevent any air bubbles.
  5. Unless you are going to serve it immediately, store it in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before serving.


  1. Using a double boiler, melt a 12 oz. Bag of chocolate chips to spread over the top of the fudge. Be sure not to allow any water to come in contact with the chocolate. (I prefer to use only half the bag.)
  2. Do not put the fudge in the refrigerator, until after the fudge is cut into one-inch squares. Doing so will cause the chocolate to shatter.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes resting time.
Yield: 3-pounds

Gift Idea

This fudge wrapped in colorful plastic wrap, dressed up with ribbons, makes a delightful gift for those occasions that crop up from time to time and a special gift is needed at the last minute. For a nice touch add a piece of colorful wrapping paper under the plastic wrap. Your gift will look as elegant as it tastes.

I hope you will take the time to enjoy the fall weather. I'd love to feature your favorite fall recipes. Send your personal favorite to Annette.

Updated: October 27, 2011

Carschooling by Diane Flynn Keith

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