The holidays are a time to spend with family, building memories and making traditions. They are also a time for eating! Whether you enjoy giving away homemade baked goods as gifts or you want to shower your family tasty treats, give some of these holiday baking hacks a try this holiday season.

1. Keep Baked Goods from Going Stale

The holidays can be very busy for many people, so baking ahead can save you a lot of time. When baking large batches, however, you run into the problem of keeping things fresh. Freezing cookies and other baked goods is one solution, but some baked goods don't do well with freezing and thawing. If you want to keep your baked goods fresh without freezing them, try storing them in an air-tight container with an apple wedge. Your cookies will absorb some of the moisture from the apple to keep them fresher longer - just replace the apple slice as needed! You can also try this trick with a slice of bread instead of a slice of apple.

2. Salvage Burned Cookies

We all make mistakes - especially when we try to do too many things at once. If you accidently let a batch of cookies burn, you don't have to throw them away! Simply use a box grater or a zester to shave off the bottom layer. If the tops of your cookies are burned, shave off the dark layer and cover them with a layer of frosting or powdered sugar to make them look brand new. If you want to get extra creative, lay a doily or a piece of lace over the cookie before dusting it with sugar then remove the lace to reveal a pretty design!

3. Make Smart Baking Substitutions

Are you tired of making the same recipes year after year? Or perhaps you think your favorite recipe could use a little something extra. By swapping out one or two ingredients in your favorite recipe, you can improve your cookies in some delicious ways. For example, swapping regular sugar for brown sugar will make your cookies moist and chewy - you can also sub in honey or molasses to achieve this same effect. For thin cookies with more spread, use melted butter - creamed butter will give you a spongy, cake-like texture. If you want to reduce spread so your cookies keep their shape, try chilling the dough for 30 minutes before baking the cookies.

4. Smart Tips for Decorating

Half the fun of holiday baking is decorating all of those homemade cookies and cakes. But achieving a professional look with your decorations can be challenging. If you have trouble controlling your frosting, try using a piping bag or a plastic syringe. This gives you greater control and you can experiment with some fun designs. To make designs on top of the frosting with sprinkles, set a cookie cutter on top and pour in the sprinkles to control the shape.

Baking is meant to be fun, so don't obsess over making everything perfect! Don't be afraid to do a little bit of experimenting and have fun being creative. These holiday baking hacks will help make your holidays as happy (and delicious) as possible.

Frugal Village