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10 Tips-How to Survive the Holidays

Family Gathering for the Holidays
Family Gathering for the Holidays

Should you click on any of my links below, they are to my recipes which I will be compensated for if you decide to purchase them. Thank you! Enjoy!

Wow! Can you believe it’s that time of the year again, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve? Do you find yourself getting overwhelmed during the holidays? No, worries, I got you covered!

Below I want to talk to you about how you can survive the holiday season with my 10 Tips-How to Survive the Holidays. It can seem like a harrowing time of year that is even more so for those who find themselves alone, and for the ones of us doing the entertaining. It’s important not to let overwhelm seep in and keep you from enjoying the many gifts and blessings we receive during this time of year.

I love this time of the year even though it can get Harry Caray, so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage and let me help you ease through the holidays.


Here are some tips I have for you:

Woman Making Grocery Lists
Woman Making Grocery Lists

1. Make a list and check it twice. If you do not have a list already made up, it is time to get started! This is crucial during the holidays. The last thing you need to be thinking about is if you have everything you need for your big night.


Family Time
Family Time

2. Prioritize. Spend time with those who matter most to you. Family and friends. Make sure you do not overwhelm yourself trying to fulfill everyone else’s expectations of you.


Store-bought cookies
Store-Bought Cookies

3. Simplify. There is no need to arrive at every party or gathering with a plate of cookies to eat, or a dish to pass around. Arrive with a smile and be present with those who cross your path. If you don’t like to cook, go with a store-bought dish instead of making something from scratch.


Holiday Meal Planning
Holiday Meal Planning

4. Plan. Planning your menu ahead of time can save you a lot of time and heartache. Don’t wait until the day before or the day of to try and figure out what you want to cook and serve. Do this at least a week in advance, I promise you will be glad that you did! A big-time saver!


Preparing Veggies
Preparing Veggies

5. Prepare ahead of time. If you are like me and love to bake from scratch, make foods ahead of time that you can freeze or just pop in the oven the next day. Doing simple things like chopping vegetables up, chopping up nuts, etc. the day before will save you valuable time.


Family Cooking Together
Family Cooking Together

6. Ask for help. This is one of the hardest things for me to do! I know, right? There is no shame in asking for help! I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, so I can’t do the things I use to do and that has been hard for me. Thankfully my youngest daughter has taken over a lot of the cooking I use to do for the holidays. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still bake my cakes and cookies, cause I am not willing to give that up yet! Lol! Oh, and my hubby cleans up what I mess up. Bless his heart!


Take a Deep Breath

7. Breathe. Yes, breathe and try to get in a little exercise. I know, I know. Who has the time you are probably saying to me as you are reading this? It doesn’t have to be a long process, just do some stretching, breathing exercises, etc. The reason for this is when we get stressed out or anxious, we tend to hold our breath or breathe very shallowly.


Laughing with Family
Laughing with Family

8. Laughing is the best medicine. Yep, you read this one right. Laughing reduces your stress levels, soothes tension, helps you breath deeper, improves your immune system, improves your mood, relieves pain, plus more! Who would ever think laughing could do so much good?🤔


Gratitude

9. Be grateful. Stop and think about all of the things you should be grateful for. Be thankful to God for your good health, your family, and your friends. Not to mention all of the things that you should be grateful for throughout the year. Try writing down 6-8 things you are grateful for in your life. Try it, you will be surprised how much better you will feel.


Relaxing Back Massage
Relaxing Back Massage

10. Spend some time relaxing. Yeessss, honey, be good to yourself. All the cooking and cleaning, hosting, etc. It’s time to do something good and kind just for YOU! Put on your list to get a gift card for a massage if someone asks what you would like for Christmas. You can always put that little bug in your hubby’s ear.😉


We all know it! Christmas time is a stressful time for a lot of us. It’s a time of the year that seems to drain us of our energy and motivation. It’s a time when we feel the need to prove ourselves as great wives, moms, daughters, or whatnot.

So, it is very important that you be good to yourself and others during this time of stress. Make sure to take time for yourself to decompress to keep from getting too stressed out. Please don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask for help if things are getting to be too much for you. It’s ok to ask for help and your family will be glad to pitch in, I promise!

Happy Holidays to you and your family!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🦃🎄

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

7 Delicious Tips for Baking with Your Kids

How to Increase Your Productivity in the Kitchen

5 Tips to Baking with Your Grandkids


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Donna’s 8 Best Cake Lifters

Cake Lifter
Cake Lifter

 As an Amazon Associate, if you should click on any of my links, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

I get asked this question all of the time, “Which cake lifter do I need and what size?” Today’s review is going to answer these questions for you and name Donna’s 8 Best Cake Lifters.

There are two different sizes of cake lifters to choose from. The 6-inch lifter is the most commonly used size. The 6-inch lifter is generally found in most households due to its versatility in lifting cakes, cookies, and pastries. These lifters usually come in sets of 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12. This particular size is great for lifting most cakes and pastries. It’s also great for lifting dough for pizza bagels, cinnamon rolls, and much more.

The 4-inch lifter is the perfect size for when you don’t need to lift a large cake or pastry. Since they are smaller in size covering them with frosting is not an issue when the cake is placed back down on the plate. This size is great for when you are having cupcakes only at your event or you are working with small pastries like mini donuts or bite-size cookies.

These lifters are generally made out of either metal or sturdy plastic.

Now that I have given you information on the sizes and their respective uses, let’s find out which ones are the best.


1. Tophome 8-Inch Safe Cake Lifter

Cake Lifter from Tophome
Cake Lifter from Tophome

Is great for transferring pizzas, delicate bread, cakes, pies, and pastries into an oven, wood-fired oven, or grill to keep from burning your hand from the oven or from the hot baked goods. Perfect as a cake lifter. (Amazon’s Choice) 4.8/5 Stars

Features:

  • Easy to use
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Multi-purpose use
  • Available in 6 colors

2. Mrs. Anderson Giant 9.5-Inch Cake Lifter:

Mrs. Andersons Giant Cake Lifter
Mrs. Andersons Giant Cake Lifter

Is also known as a cake spatula, easily lifts, transports, and stacks cake layers for building effortless precision layer cakes with a professional presentation at home. Makes your cake decorating easier no matter if you are professional or just starting out. It’s great for moving larger foods from baking sheets to cooling racks, like tarts, pastries, Jumbo cookies, pizzas, and more. 4.2/5 Stars

Features:

  • Easily lift and transport cake layers for precison cake layering
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Silicone grip
  • Made of stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleanup

3. Nordic Ware Cake Lifter, 10-Inches

Nordic Ware Large Cake Lifter
Nordic Ware Large Cake Lifter

You can transfer your largest cakes with ease using the Nordic Ware wide 10-inch cake lifter like a pro. This product is made in the USA by a skilled team of craftspeople with the same goal in mind, creating the finest quality of kitchenware items in the industry. 4.8/5 Stars

Features:

  • Large cake lifter
  • Non-stick surface
  • Clean up is easy with hot soapy water
  • 10-inch diameter head to lift most cakes
  • Proudly made in the USA

4. RSVP International 12-Inch Oven Spatula

RSVP International 12" Oven Spatula
RSVP International 12″ Oven Spatula

Is a unique 12-inch oven spatula that is made out of durable stainless steel that will help you transfer your largest cakes with ease. Not only can you transfer large cakes, but it is perfect for whole pizzas as well. 4.7/5 Stars

Features:

  • Durable stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe for easy clean up
  • 8-inch silicone handle
  • Transfer large cakes and whole pizzas with ease

5. Norpro Stainless Steel 6-Inch Scraper/Chopper

Nordicpro Cake Lifter and Scraper
Nordicpro Cake Lifter and Scraper

The 6-inch cake lifter is the most commonly used size and can be found in most households. This is true because of its versatility in lifting cakes, cookies, and pastries. This is a must-have tool for all baker’s kitchens because of its many uses. (Amazon’s Choice) 4.8/5 Stars

Features:

  • Can be used to scrap, split dough, crushing chopping, and measuring
  • Rounded handle and rectangular strait-sided blade is ideal for chopping and splitting cookie dough and more
  • Measuring guide on the side ideal for measuring and cutting pasta and pastry dough
  • Easily scrap flour, sugar, etc. off your workspace and tranferring to mixing bowl
  • Made of durable stainless steel with comfortable handle

6. Fat Daddio’s Cake Lifter Stainless Steel, 8.75 Inch

Fat Daddio's Cake Lifter
Fat Daddio’s Cake Lifter

Here’s one heafty cake lifter. No matter if you have a cake, cookies situation, this cake lifter can get the job done. Fat Daddio’s cake lifter will have you lifting even your decorated cakes like a pro and easily transfer tiered cakes with ease. 4.7/5 Stars

Features:

  • The design allows for lifting cakes, cookies, etc.
  • Durable comfort grip handle
  • Made of durable stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe making clean up a breeze

Fox Run Cookie/Brownie Spatula
Fox Run Cookie/Brownie Spatula

This little cake lifter/spatula is a must have in your arsenal of tools for baking. It is great not only for lifting brownies, but cookies, casseroles, and quiches! Help keep your baked goods intact for a beautiful presentation for your guest. (Amazon’s Choice) 4.4/5 Stars

Features:

  • Easy grip wooden handle
  • Made of durable stainless steel
  • Great for pancakes, cookies, casseroles and more
  • Easy clean up and storage
  • Beveled edge to easily lift your pressious desserts and casseroles

8. 4 Pieces Pie/Cake Server Set Stainless Steel

4 Pieces Pie/Cake Server Set
4 Pieces Pie/Cake Server Set

This is a very nice serving set for pros and begginers alike. These cake lifters/spatulas can do more than just lift cake and cut dough. The set comes with 2 serrated cake servers and 2 serrated spatulas that can easily meet your demands. Consider this set your practical helper in the kitchen. (Amazon’s Choice) 4.3/5 Stars

Features:

  • Triangled shape servers used to serve cakes and pies
  • Rectangled shape servers used to serve brownies, lasagna, etc.
  • Made with quality durable steel
  • Comfortable handle for easy grip
  • Dishwasher safe for easy clean up

Wow! These were really hard to decide on. You can’t go wrong with any of these you decide to buy. They are all great products you just have to pick the ones that meet your baking needs. No someone besides you that likes to bake? Any of these would make an awesome gift for the bakers in your life. So, treat them and yourself.😉

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

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Baking with Donna: A Bakers Love Story

Baked With Love

My love affair with baking began when I was just a little girl. My mom was a homemaker and loved to bake, so it makes sense that I would grow up to enjoy the same hobby at such a young age. My mom taught me how to bake in the kitchen with her. When I was about 12 years old I asked her for my own set of mixing bowls. My mom bought me a whole set of tiny little glass bowls. Yes, they were cute, but boy did they take forever to get the batter out of them after you were done mixing. I also remember trying to scrape the batter off the tiny little glass bowls with a butter knife. That was not fun at all!

Tiny Glass Mixing Bowls
Tiny Glass Mixing Bowls

My love affair with baking began when I was just a little girl. My mom was a homemaker and loved to bake, so it makes sense that I would grow up to enjoy the same hobby at such a young age. My mom taught me how to bake in the kitchen with her. When I was about 12 years old I asked her for my own set of mixing bowls. My mom bought me a whole set of tiny little glass bowls. Yes, they were cute, but boy did they take forever to get the batter out of them after you were done mixing. I also remember trying to scrape the batter off the tiny little glass bowls with a butter knife. That was not fun at all!


Measuring Cups And Spoons
Measuring Cups and Spoons

The first time I ever had my own real baking supplies was when I got into home economics in high school. I attended Villa Rica High School in Villa Rica, Georgia which is where I learned how to bake with real measuring cups and spoons.

I remember making my very first cake, a Red Velvet cake for Christmas. I think I was 13 years old when I made it and it turned out beautiful and it was quite delicious if I do say so myself. It was so moist and my family loved it! After that, I was hooked on baking.


Young Daughter and Mom Baking
Young Daughter and Mom Baking

My mom told me what a good job that I had done. “Well,” I said, “I had a great teacher!” Then I told my mom I wanted to learn how to make homemade biscuits, cornbread, etc. And guess what? I did it, but not without mistakes along the way. But I was not discouraged, because that is how we learn.

I still make mistakes baking after all of these years and you will too. Oh, sure it aggravates the daylights out of me, but you can’t give up, you just gotta keep on keeping on. Even if that means starting allllll over again!! And believe me, honey I have had to do that.


Donna's Santa Cake
Donna’s Santa Cake

I love to cook when I have the time, which most days I do. My favorite time of the year is the holidays. I enjoy getting in my kitchen and baking cakes, cookies, pies, fudge, bread, and actual food. Are there any other foods besides sweets? Just kidding, of course, there are. I just really enjoy baking sweets.

Around the holidays I like making goodies for my family and friends. It just makes me feel good to give them something I have baked homemade and they always have a big smile on their face and dig in immediately. It warms my heart to see them enjoying the fruits of my labor. Plus, it makes them feel a little more special and loved.


I hope you have enjoyed reading about Baking with Donna: A Bakers Love Story. It was truly my pleasure to share this with you. If you are new to baking, I hope this encourages you to continue and grow in your baking skills and know that making mistakes is unavoidable. But, never ever give up! You can do this! If you are a seasoned baker, I hope you took away a few little tidbits from this as well.

How did you come about baking? Do you love it? What kind of mistakes have you made? I would love to hear from you, leave your comments below.

Check out Baking with Donna’s “Little Book of Recipes” for 6 of my favorite recipes just in time for the holidays!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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How to Bake the Perfect Cookie-6 Steps

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Coffee and Cookies
Coffee and Cookies

When my mother introduced me to the world of cooking, I quickly learned that baking was my forte. I have always loved making cookies, but have you ever wondered how some people can just make a cookie that melts in your mouth and you find yourself going back for more? It’s because I was taught one of the most important baking tips, the technique.

Yes, it does take a bit of practice, but if you will follow my techniques, you will realize how easy it really is to make a perfect cookie.

Read on to find out more…


1. Follow the Recipe

Cookies Recipe
Follow the Recipe

This is the most important one of all, the recipe! If you don’t follow the recipe step by step I can promise you it will be a flop. And nobody wants that to happen. If you are going to take the time to bake cookies or anything for that matter, you may as well do it right the first time. Although this may seem like a small step, it is (to me) the most important step in the baking process.


2. Flour: All-Purpose or Self-Rising

White Lily All Purpose Flour 5 lb Bag (Pack of 2)
White Lily All Purpose Flour

Yes, my baker’s, the flour DOES matter. I can tell you this from my many years of baking. I have used both in my cookie recipes, and trust me when I tell you that All-Purpose flour works best for cookies, unless it specifies Self-Rising. Ever time I used the self-rising flour my cookies would never turn out the same. Once I made the switch to All-Purpose flour they turned out to be the perfect taste, texture, and consistency. Imagine that!


3. Baking Soda or Baking Powder

Arm and Hammer Baking Soda
Baking Soda

Most cookie recipes use baking soda and some use baking powder. I prefer baking soda because it is the most conventional raising agent in cookies. You can use baking powder, but just know that your cookies will have a more cake like consistency. And that will be fine if that is the way you want them. Using baking soda will make them good and chewy.


4. Butter, Butter, and Butter

Butter VS Margarine
Butter vs Margarine

Oh my goodness, there is nothing like the rich creamy taste of REAL butter. It is way better than margarine. Of course if all you have on hand is margarine, then it will work too. But if you ever try real butter in your cookies or other recipes calling for butter, honey you will never go back to margarine. Trust me! My favorite butter to get in the whole world is Amish butter. Now that’s some good eating. So rich and creamy. If you keep your butter in the fridge, set it out for about 15-20 minutes to get it at room temperature. Soft butter mixes up better in your dry ingredients. Don’t won’t to wait for it to reach room temp.?

Just pop it in the microwave for about 15-30 seconds. Melting it will make a softer chewier cookie.


5. What about the Eggs

Basket Of Brown Eggs
Basket of Brown Eggs

If your cookie recipe calls for eggs, and most of them do, make sure to lay your eggs out about 30-45 minutes before you start baking. This helps your cookies to have more volume and will turn out better and prettier. Plus, your eggs will mix-up with the dry ingredients much better. I prefer brown eggs to white eggs. I personally think that brown eggs are richer and make desserts taste richer.


6. Brown Sugar or White Sugar

Brown Sugar Or White Sugar
Brown Sugar or White Sugar

For me I like to use whatever the recipe calls for. But you can mix them by using half white and half brown. This gives your cookies an almost Carmel like taste. Now when it comes to peanut butter cookies, brown sugar is best if you have it. The right sugar for the right recipe gives your cookies that chewy or crunchy like texture we all love.


Tips from Donna’s Kitchen

Tip #1. Always go by your recipe instructions step by step for best results.

Tip #2. Gather all the ingredients for the recipe.

Tip #3. Measure out all of the ingredients before you start the mixing process.


If you follow all of my techniques and tips, you will be on your way to making perfect cookies every time no matter which cookie recipe you choose.🍪

Try one of my cookie recipes below and enjoy!😋

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy👩‍🍳

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Donna’s Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Donna’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies

Donna’s Best Holiday Butter Cookies

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How to Increase Your Productivity in the Kitchen

Work Smarter Not Harder
Tips to Get More Done in the Kitchen

If you are anything like me, then you will find that sometimes your kitchen can feel like a war zone. However, kitchens do not have to feel this way. With the help of the little tips I am going to share with you today, you can get your kitchen back under control.

Prepare to Increase Productivity in Your Kitchen

Grocery List
Grocery List

The first tip– is to get everything prepared before you start. You may think that cooking is all about improvisation and winging it, but if you want to be productive in the kitchen, this is not true. Prepare and plan before you start. Take stock and make sure that you have everything that you need, and that it is all in good working order. By doing this, you will be giving yourself the best possible chance to produce a great meal.


Washing Dishes
Wash the Dishes

Second tip-always start with a clean kitchen! There is nothing that stresses me out more than to try and start baking with a messy kitchen. Make sure all of your clean dishes are put away and your dirty dishes are washed up. Make sure you wash your dishes as you go. This will help you to get out of the kitchen much faster. My hubby usually washes the dishes as I go to help me out. I so appreciate his help! Especially around the holidays.


Reading A Recipe
Read Your Recipe

Third tip-read your recipe all the way through and get all of your ingredients ready. Then get your measuring cups, spoons, mixer, etc. ready to go. Measure out your ingredients and set aside. Put your flour, milk, eggs, flavoring, and sugar back in its proper place. Doing this will keep your kitchen counters more organized and less cluttered.


Don't Answer Your Phone If You're Busy
Don’t Answer Your Phone

Fourth tip-try not to answer your phone! I know, right? This really drives me crazy when I am trying to get my ingredients together, measured out, put back up and start the mixing process when my dang phone rings.🙄 For me, I don’t need that distraction at all. If I’m not careful I will forget what I have already measured out and poured into my mixing bowl and that is a pain in my butt I don’t need. (This is right up there on the stress bar with a dirty

kitchen).


Keep Pans In Cabinets Closest To Stove
Keep Pans in Cabinets Closest to Stove

Fifth tip-this is another very important tip for me and it will be for you as well, keep all of your baking pans together in one place. I like to keep my in the cabinets closest to my stove. This will save you a lot of time, I promise. I also like to keep my cake plates together as well. Doing this saves me the time of looking every where for them. I have my measuring spoons and measuring cups together in the same drawer as well as my cake spatulas I use for frosting my cakes, cookies or whatever I am working on.


Stay Focused
Stay Focused on Task at Hand

Sixth tip-stay focused on the task at hand. Try to avoid distractions at all cost. For me it is so hard to get my focus back if I get of course. I know that may sound crazy, but that’s just how it is for me. If we are being honest, I think this is true for most of us. Set a time you want to get started and stick to it. This will definitely speed up your productivity in the kitchen and you will get finished a lot faster.


Prepping The Ingredients
Prepping the Ingredients

Seventh tip-make a schedule of what you would like to bake and on what days. Get things prepped the day before. With a lot of recipes you can make things the day before. For instance, cookie dough can be made the day before and kept in the fridge. This is especially helpful during the holidays. Writing out what you are going to bake on certain days for the holiday festivities will be a tremendous help and time saver for you. Planning this out will be helpful with your grocery list as well.


Listen To Music While Baking
Listen to Music While Baking

Eighth tip-listen to your favorite music while cooking. In fact, I encourage it. I love to listen to me some Kenny G, smooth jazz or some soft rock. It just makes every thing I’m doing move along smoothly. During the holidays, I love me some Christmas music. Now that really gets my baking juices flowing! So, turn on your favorite music and get baking!


Old Pans
Donate Old Pots and Pans

Ninth tip-get rid of weird shaped pots and pans you are not using. If you don’t use them to cook in, then toss them. Plastic bowls with missing lids, toss them out as well too. Have any melted spatulas just lying around taking up space in your drawers? Chunk them. Are you starting to get the idea? If you are not using any pots, pans, cookware, spoons, spatulas, etc. throw them out or donate them to a goodwill store. Someone else can use them if you don’t need them anymore.


Cluttered Kitchen
Keep Your Kitchen Floor Clean of Clutter

Tenth tip-we talked about keeping your kitchen counters clutter free, the same can be said for your kitchen floor. This is something we don’t usually think about, but it’s a good idea to make sure nothing is in the way that you can trip over, slide down on that would ruin your day of baking in the kitchen. If you have small children make sure their toys are out of the floor and they are out of your kitchen. We don’t need the little kiddos getting hurt or burnt while mama is baking.


If you follow my 10 tips, then you will be on your way to learn How to Increase Your Productivity in the Kitchen. These tips will make your life much easier.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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5 Tips to Baking with Your Grandkids

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Baking is something that I love to do with my grandkids, but can sometimes be frustrating to figure out how to make it work. With the help of my grandkids, I have come up with 5 Tips to Baking with Your Grandkids.


1. Let them help you and pick a recipe

Kids Picking Out Recipe
Kids Picking Out Recipe

I know, I know, it is hard to teach a child to bake when you have things going on around you and on top of your counter. But, first and for most, insist that the little ones wash their hands before ya’ll get started. Let your grandchild pick out the recipe and help you with measuring and pouring the ingredients into a mixing bowl. When they are little, all you need them to do is stir, if they are older let them blend ingredients together. It makes them feel special and more engaged.


2. Have a neat area for baking

Clean as You Go
Clean as You Go

Everything else, stop! Have the kids clean up the area before you start baking. Have a place for everything and use it all. For example put flour in a sifter and put it back on the shelf after it is done being used. In fact, it would be a lot easier to go ahead and get the recipe and get all the ingredients measured out and ready before ya’ll start mixing things together.


3. Consider which task each child can do

Consider What They Can Do
Consider What They Can Do

The smaller children can help pour and stir the ingredients, while the older one(s) can read the recipe and help measure out the ingredients. As your grandkids help you, they will learn how to do things in order, like reading the recipe first, gather the ingredients, measuring out everything, and how to mix the ingredients according to the recipe. You can also teach your grandkids how to work together and take turns doing each task. You can teach them the importance of making sure they have all the ingredients before starting to bake.


4. Know that it will get messy and be ok with it

Kids Making a Mess Baking
Kids Making a Mess Baking

Lord knows I can’t say anything about my grandkids being messy, because believe me I am too when it comes to baking! But I’m ok with that because they are children and it can and will get messy. When there is flour and sugar involved, it’s going to get on the counters and the floor. Let them help you clean up as you go. Don’t stress about it and just have fun. After all you are making beautiful memories to cherish for a lifetime with your babies.


5. Most of all be patient

Being Patient with Grandchild
Being Patient with Grandchild

If mistakes happen, and they probably will, don’t go postal! Let them know that mistakes are to be made and it’s ok. Teach them that’s how we learn and the next time they will know what to do to correct it. For example, you can show them what happens if you don’t spray your cake pans before pouring the cake batter into the pans or what happens if you don’t follow the recipe step by step. This will help them to be more aware of why the steps in a recipe are so important. You can also share some of your baking mishaps and have a great laugh. Let them know that no matter how long you have been cooking, mistakes are going to happen and it’s ok. Just learn from them and move on.


One more very important part of the baking…Share the goodies with the grandkids and praise them for doing such a good job. Ask them what they enjoyed most about baking with Nana. Most of all let them share their goodies with friends and family. Let them know you can’t wait to bake with them again.

I would love to hear from you about baking with your grandkids. Let me know how it went and share some pictures.

Below you will find 3 of my best cookie recipes that will be easy to make with your grandkids and they are very delicious. Enjoy!😋

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy 👩‍🍳

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

Related Posts:

Donna’s Best Ever Sugar Cookies

Donna’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies

Donna’s Best Holiday Butter Cookies

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6 Best Brownie Pans

Brownies
Brownies

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Are you in the market for a really good brownie pan? Look no further I have got you covered. There is nothing like stirring up a batch of homemade warm gooey brownies. Topped with vanilla ice cream or how about the homemade cool whip? Yep, you read that right homemade cool whip!

Ok, now that I am drooling, let’s get back to the task at hand so you can get the perfect brownie pan.

There are four important categories to consider when choosing a brownie pan.

They are as follows:

  1. Square or rectangular brownie pan
  2. Non-stick pans
  3. Specialty brownie pans, square with dividers (pan can be made of either metal or silicone)
  4. Cast Iron Skillet (this should be self explanatory)

The features you should look for in a brownie pan:

  1. Flat bottom – All of the pans we looked at need to have a flat bottom for even baking.
  2. Efficient and even heating – The best and most nonstick pans for brownies will also be the ones with the best and most even heating.
  3.  Proper capacity – It is important to know that all of these pans will work for baking a 9×13-inch brownie.

6 best brownie pans

Wilton Brownie Bar Pan
Wilton Brownie Bar Pan

#1. Wilton Brownie Bar Pan (Amazon’s Choice) If you want to bake your favorite brownie recipe to perfection, then you need to start with Wilton’s premium non-stick bake ware. This pan is heavier than most other brands so that you can be assured that this premium non-stick pan will heat evenly resulting in brownies baked to perfection. This pan is not just for brownies, you can also create beautiful single desserts like miniature cakes, fruit bars, and much more. 4.8/5 STARS

Features:

  • made of Alloy Steel that is built to last
  • Heats evenly for perfect results every time
  • 12 individual serving cavities, no slicing needed
  • Non-Stick coating
  • Last for years of perfect baking
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 1.81 x 10.56 x 15.12 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Brooklyn Brownie Copper by GOTHAM STEEL

#2. Brooklyn Brownie Copper by GOTHAM STEEL- This brownie pan allows you to mix your batter right in the pan with a mixer! This keeps you from messing up an extra bowl. You can quickly mix up 18 brownies, cakes, or whatever your heart desires to serve to your family or friends. Want pizza appetizers? No problem, you can easily mix your batter right in the pan. Next, insert the brownie grid, and stick it in the oven. This brownie pan promises to deliver crispy edges while keeping the centers gooey. This is achieved by the even distribution of the heat by the pan’s bottom, sides, and grid. 4.4/5 STARS

Features:

  • Made from premium heavy-weight aluminized steel
  • Non-stick coating allows for easy food removal
  • Pre-cut divider, no dividing of food needed
  • Made from premium heavy-weight aluminized steel
  • Non-stick coating allows for easy food removal
  • Pre-cut divider, no dividing of food needed
  • Cooks more than just brownies
  • Fast clean-up and dishwasher safe
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 14.09 x 9.19 x 2.59 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Chicago Metallic Professional Slice Solutions Brownie Pan

#3. Chicago Metallic Professional Slice Solutions Brownie Pan(Amazon’s Choice) Create perfect brownies every time with this non-stick brownie pan. Because of the divider, it allows you to customize each brownie with nut toppings, sprinkles, candies, or whatever you like. This unique brownie pan is not just for brownies, you can make cornbread, cakes, and many other baked treats. 4.5/5 STARS

Features:

  • Removable divider
  • Perfect 3 inch by 2 inch treats
  • No knife needed to cut every piece
  • Customize each brownie with different toppings
  • Premium quality durable stainless steel for superior
  • Item Dimensions LxWxH: 16 x 10 x 2.5 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Silicone Brownie Pan with Dividers

#4. Silicone Brownie Pan with Dividers- (#1Best Seller) If you love silicone or have never tried it, you need to. The silicone brownie pan is very flexible with a non-stick function making for quick and easy release of your baked good. It is made to sit directly on your oven racks, but I highly recommend placing it on a cookie sheet so you can avoid it folding in on you. It is silicone, so when it gets hot it is going to be very flexible. 4.4/5 STARS

Features:

  • Flexible silicone and non-stick finish allows for easy release of your baked goods
  • Made of 100% food grade silicone
  • Easy clean up: dishwasher safe and cleans up well with warm soapy water
  • Oven and microwave safe: -20 degrees F. to 450 degrees F.
  • Set of two: 12 + 24 Cavity. Very good deal!.
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 13 x 8 x 0.6 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 8-Inch Square Baking Pan

#5. Wilton Perfect Results Premium Non-Stick 8-Inch Square Cake Pans (Amazon’s Choice) Don’t need to make 12-24 brownies? Then these cake pans are for you. If you do a lot of baking and cooking, this set will work wonders for your busy kitchen. These pans are made with heavy-duty rolled steel construction that is meant to last you for years to come. And of course, this pan can be used for cakes, bars, or anything you want to bake. With its durable non-stick coating, clean-up is a breeze. 4.8/5 STARS

Features:

  • Comes in a set of two 8-inch non-stick square pans
  • Made with heavy-gauge construction for long-lasting durability
  • Even heating allows for food to cook thoroughly and prevents warping
  • Durable non-stick coating so food slides out easily
  • Scratch-resistant coating
  • Dishwasher safe for quick clean up or wash in warm soapy water
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 2.3 x 12.3 x 9.4 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9-Inch Square Baking Pan With Lid

#6. Wilton Recipe Right Non-Stick 9-Inch Square Baking Pan with Lid- (Amazon’s Choice) This is the perfect gift set for that special just starting out baking, or a nice gift for yourself. This comes with a set of 2 non-stick baking pans with lids to keep all of your cakes, brownies, lemon bars, etc. fresher longer. 4.8/5 STARS

Features:

  • Heavy gauge construction spreads heat evenly and prevents warping
  • Non-stick coating so treats release easy
  • Easy cleanup with warm, soapy water
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Comes in a set of two 9-inch square pans w/lids
  • Dimensions LxWxH: 2 x 9 x 9 inches

Have all 3 of the features I’m looking for: Flat bottom, Efficient and even heating, Proper capacity.


These are some really awesome pans with fantastic prices. I know you will find one to your liking and baking needs. Check them out and get baking!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍽

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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How to Make a Cake in a Mug

Cake In A Mug
Cake in a Mug

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

I have a confession to make: I love cake. Baking a cake in a mug sounds like it should be super easy, right? After all, it’s just a tiny little cake.

Cake in a mug is a lot easier to make than you think. In fact, you’ll wonder why you ever bought those boxed mixes that require six different bowls and a hand mixer. Now you can make cake from scratch without all those annoying bowls!

This cute little cake is perfect for that after-dinner treat, or it’s great for breakfast if you’re that kind of person. Either way, it’s super simple to make, and will take less than 5 minutes of active work on your part.

The great thing about this recipe is that you don’t have to use just one mug or one type of mug. You can use different mugs in different sizes for different portions. So if you just want a little bite of cake, use a smaller mug. If you’re having company, use larger mugs.

To celebrate Fall, I know you will love the following recipe. This is so simple, so let’s get baking. Here’s what you’ll need:

Pumpkin Spice Latte Mug Cakes

Ingredients:

2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 Egg

3 Tablespoons brewed espresso coffee or very strong coffee, room temperature

1 Tablespoon canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/4 Cup sugar

1/3 Cup Original Bisquick™ Mix

1/2 Teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Pinch of salt

Whipped cream, for serving

Ground cinnamon, for serving

Directions:

  1. In small bowl, beat melted butter, egg, espresso and pumpkin with whisk. Add the sugar, Bisquick mix, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix until incorporated; batter may be lumpy.
  2. Divide batter between 2 microwavable mugs. Microwave uncovered on High 2 minutes. Cool a few minutes before serving.
  3. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

TIP #1: If you want to save on clean up mix the batter in one mug, and then pour half of it into the other mug.

TIP #2: If you are not a fan of coffee, you can use another liquid such as water, buttermilk, Chi Tea, milk, etc.

Try this easy recipe for Homemade Cool Whip Only 2 ingredients:

Your taste buds will thank you! This is way better than the canned stuff and a lot tastier than what comes in the plastic bowls.

3/4 Cup heavy whipping cream (Very Cold)

2 Tablespoons powdered sugar

directions:

  1. In chilled medium bowl, beat whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed.
  2. Add powdered sugar before stiff peaks form.
  3. Beat ingredients until stiff peaks form.

TIP #1: For enhanced flavor, try adding a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract when adding the powdered sugar.

TIP #2: Make sure you keep your mixing bowl and your beaters in the freezer until you are ready to use them for the best results. And you want your heavy whipping cream very cold too.

TIP #3: This homemade cool whip is great on Pumpkin Pie, Sweet Potato Pie, Strawberry Short Cake or whatever you want to put it on. Enjoy!🧁

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Donna’s Baking Tray Liners

Baking Tray Liner
Baking Tray Liner

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

These baking tray liners are the best invention since the wheel!

I have always struggled with making sure that my baked goods don’t stick to the baking tray (Cookie Sheet). Crisco was the best I could do, but this new product takes things to a whole new level. I still remember being so mad after spending ages carefully rolling out my latest cookie recipe, putting it in the oven, and finding that it had stuck to the baking tray.

It was so frustrating. Ever since I got the baking tray liners, none of that has happened. This little invention has made my life so much easier, and means that I can even bake when I’m in a hurry.

When I’m working with the flexible silicone baking tray liner, I find that it goes in really easily, and is really easy to clean up afterwards. I love the way that it makes your baking experience much more efficient. It also reduces wastage because you don’t need to grease the baking trays ahead of time anymore.

I’ll bet you’ve even tried to buy a ready made liner, but they either fall apart halfway through baking, or they’re too small for your particular tray.

Well, worry no more, my friends. I have found the answer to all your problems.

Donna’s Top 6 Silicone Mats

My top silicone mats are going to make your baking life so much easier. I know it’s hard to believe that your food will not stick to these silicone mats. And just think, less of a mess to have to clean up! They are worth it just for that one reason alone. Not to mention they are great for the environment because they are re-useable which will save you money and time in the long run.😉

#6. GUANCI 6-Piece Silicone Baking Mat Set (Amazon’s Choice)

6-Piece Silicone Baking Mat Set
6-Piece Silicone Baking Mat Set

I have a mat very similar to this one and I love it! It works great for rolling out cookie dough, pie dough, pizza dough, or any type of pastry dough you can think of. It also has diagrams to guide you as you roll out your dough and this is super helpful.

Features:

  • Made of 100% Platinum Food-Grade Silicone
  • Holds up under 540 degrees Celsius which is equal to  1,004 Degrees Fahrenheit-Now that’s hot!
  • Easy clean-up and food does not stick to mat
  • Anti-Slip-stays in place
  • The Silicone baking is 0.7mm thickness or 0.028″ and is thicker than most pastry mats
  • And it’s dishwasher/oven/microwave oven/freezer safe
  • 4 different sets for your baking needs

#5. Aurrako Silicone Baking Mats for Cookie Baking Sheets Pan

Aurrako Silicone Baking Mats
Aurrako Silicone Baking Mats

You can cook healthier meals with these mats. No need to add butter, oil, fats, or sprays. With the Aurrako Silicone Baking mats, you never have to worry about any of your foods sticking. Roll out your favorite cookie doughs, pizza dough, or any kind of pastry dough you can think of.

Features:

  • Made with non-toxic silicone, BPA free, with no plastic fillers
  • Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
  • No more parchment paper or aluminum foil (save money)
  • Will not fold or crease and cooks food evenly
  • Comes with 6 piece pipping tips
  • Makes a perfect gift for birthdays, Christmas, mother’s day or for your self
  • 3 different size sets to meet your needs

#4. MMmat Silicone Baking Mats (Amazon’s Choice)

MMmat Silicone Mats
MMmat Silicone Mats

You will get 3 non-stick silicone baking mats to make your baking easier and convenient. The size of these are made for half sheet baking pans in size “13×18”.

Features:

  • You get 2 non-stick silicone baking mats & 1 macaron silicone mat
  • You don’t have use oils, sprays, or parchment paper
  • Can with stand oven up to 500 degrees F
  • PBA free and PFOA free
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
  • 6 different sets to choose from

#3. Happy Homes Market, Silicone Baking Mat (Amazon’s Choice)

Happy Homes Market, Silicone Baking Mat
Happy Homes Market, Silicone Baking Mat

With these cute silicone baking mats, you can turn any baking sheet or roasting pan into a non-stick easy to clean surface. By using silicone mats, you will not have to worry about parchment paper, waxed paper, aluminum foil, or baking sprays. These adorable mats are safe for all of your food plus they are BPA and PFOA FREE. 

Features:

  • Fits most standard size half sheet baking pans
  • Even heat distribution for perfect results every time
  • Can handle oven temps. from -40 degrees F to 450 degrees F
  • No need for added fats like cooking oil, butter, or cooking sprays
  • Non-stick silicone mats make clean-up a snap and they are dishwasher safe
  • Can handle your messiest doughs to your stickiest treats
  • And how adorable are these mats
  • You can choose all 3 styles or just 1 style

#2. Kitzini Silicone Baking Mat Set (Amazon’s Choice)

Kitzini Silicone Baking Mat
Kitzini Silicone Baking Mat

Want perfect results every time you bake? Then get the Kitzini Silicone Baking Mat Set. Designed for evenly distributed heat for perfect results every time. Make beautiful cookies, get crispy roasted veggies or pretty macarons that will slide off the mat with ease. And these mats can handle your toughest jobs. Now you can make healthy meals like a pro.

Features:

  • Can withstand freezing temps and oven temps. up to 450 degrees F
  • Designed to fit all standard half baking sheets
  • Easy clean-up without all the mess and dishwasher safe
  • No more parchment paper, aluminum foil, wax paper or cooking sprays
  • Cook healthier meals without added fats, butter, or oil
  • 5 different sets to choose from

#1. Non-slip Silicone Pastry Mat Extra Large with Measurements (#1 Seller on Amazon)

Extra Large Non-Slip Silicone Mat
Extra Large Non-Slip Silicone Mat

This silicone mat is made with premium-grade silicone to protect the health of you and your family. No worries about your food sticking. Not even your stickiest dough will stick to this non-stick mat. This baby is 28″ by 20″ so you will have plenty of room to roll out your cookie dough, pie dough, pastry dough with ease.

I picked this to be number 1 because it is much bigger than most and thicker. Made with good quality material that will lasts for years to come.

Features:

  • Non-stick surface so even your stickiest pastry dough want stick
  • Non-slip backing so it grips to your table without sliding around or rolling up
  • Easy clean-up, just rinse off with warm soapy water, no scrubbing
  • Can use for baking in the oven up to 470 degrees F
  • Bigger than other silicone mats and thicker
  • Has measurements to help you with the size of the pastry you need
  • Comes in 3 different sizes to fit your needs

Now that you have the information I encourage you to check out each one of the silicone mats on Amazon along with their videos to make the right choice for your baking needs.

You will be well on your way to baking like a pro and serving up healthier foods for you and your family without all the added fats that you don’t need. And clean-up will be a breeze. Just think, you will be done and out of the kitchen in no time for family time!

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy,🍰🍪

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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How to Make a Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide 

** This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

While baking cakes is usually easier than cooking, sometimes things can get quite tricky. This is why you need to know the basics of cake baking.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to baking or have been baking for years, this guide will help you.


How to Make a Cake: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making any cake is not rocket science. However, it is always good to follow the basic rules. By following these 12 easy steps, you will be able to create a beautiful and tasty cake every time. This guide will teach you how to make a cake.

Before you get started, you will need to decide on the cake recipe you would like. You can get a cake recipe here and then click on the Recipe tab. Now that you have your recipe, follow the steps below for a delicious moist made from scratch cake.

KitchenAid
KitchenAid

Step 1: Get Your Kitchen Aid Mixer Ready or Your Mixer of Choice

Get your mixer plugged in, your bowl set on your mixer, and your edge beater (flat paddle if you have a Kitchen Aid) ready to attach to your mixer. Doing this will save you some much-needed time.


Step 2: Prepare Your Baking Pans

Cake Pan
Cake Pan

This is a very important step to do before you pour the batter into the cake pans. Because you do not want your cake layers to stick. I love to use Pam Baking Spray or Bakers Joy Spray. These sprays already have the oil and flour mixed together making greasing and flouring your pans a breeze. One step and you’re done.

You can use two 9-inch pans, two 8-inch pans, or a 13x9x2 inch pan. The choice is yours. The recipe may specify which size pan to use as well. I use non-stick pans, but still, use the spray for assurance my cake layers will not stick and slide out of the pans with ease.


Step 3: Gather Your Ingredients

Gathering Your Ingredients
Gather Your Ingredients

Now that you have all of the ingredients for your recipe, allow them to reach room temperature. This usually only takes about 15-20 minutes. Doing this will allow for butter to mix up easier (you just want the butter to be soft) and allow the eggs to yield a higher cake volume. For food safety reasons, be sure not to leave the eggs out longer than about 20 minutes.


Step 4: Pre-Heat the Oven

Pre-Heat Oven
Pre-Heat Oven

Pre-heat your oven while mixing up your cake. For most cakes it is 350 degrees F. But there again, go by what the recipe says. You don’t want to put your cake into a cold oven and it has to sit there while the oven heats up. This can cause your cake to be dry and not as moist and can decrease the thickness of the layers. (want rise up as pretty).


Step-By-Step Recipe
Step-By-Step Recipe

Step 5: Follow the Recipe Step by Step

Make sure you follow the recipe exactly in order. Don’t try to skip ahead with steps to get it mixed up faster. If you do, you are going to be messing up big time! For example, if you are adding your eggs and the recipe wants you to add them one at a time and mix well before you add another one, you add them one at a time.


Step 6: Mixing the Dry Ingredients

Mix Dry Ingredients
Mix Dry Ingredients

Mix together the dry ingredients first, ie: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, whatever the recipe calls for. You can mix these together in your mixing bowl using a wire whisk.



Step 7: Cream Together Sugar and Butter or Sugar and Shortening

Cream Butter, Sugar, And Shortening
Cream Butter, Sugar, and Shortening

Now you will want cream together either the sugar and butter or sugar and shortening depending on what your recipe calls for. Make sure that your butter is at room temperature. This will take about 15-20 minutes. You just want the butter soft enough to mix up smooth with the sugar. Beat on medium to high speed for about 30 seconds to get a smooth creamy texture. This is the secret to light and fluffy cakes.


Adding The Eggs
Adding the Eggs

Step 8: Let’s Add the Eggs

Typically you add the eggs one at a time mixing well before adding another one. Doing this causes the cake to maintain its structure better. And again go by the recipe. Not all recipes require the eggs to be added one at a time.


Step 9: Combining Dry and Wet Ingredients

Combing Wet and Dry Ingredients
Combing Wet and Dry Ingredients

When it comes to dry and wet ingredients, typically you alternate between the two. You will add a little of the dry mixture followed by the wet (milk, juice) and mix. You alternate like this until they both are added and incorporated into the batter. Make sure you start with the flour and end with the flour. Mix well, but do not over mix.


Step 10: Pour Batter into Prepared Cake Pans

Pour Batter Into Pans
Pour Batter Into Pans

Pour the cake batter evenly into prepared cake pans using a silicone spatula and bake at temperature according to the recipe. Most of the time it is 30-40 minutes. Start out with the lowest time first, you can always increase the time if needed. You can check doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it toothpick comes out clean, they are done. If there is any wetness on the toothpick, cook in increments of 5 minutes until done. This will keep you from overcooking the cake and drying it out.


Step 11: Cool the Cake Layers Before Frosting

Cool the Cakes
Cool the Cakes

Place cakes on a cooling rack(s) for 5 minutes, and then turn out on cake rack(s) to finish cooling. (About 60 minutes). To loosen the cakes from the side of the pan you bump the cake pan on the sides or run a knife around the edges. If you have a non-stick pan use a plastic knife so you won’t damage the pans.

Always frost or ice a cool cake! You don’t want your frosting to melt and run off of the cake!


Step 12: Frost a Cool Cake

Frost A Cool Cake
Frost A Cool Cake

Now comes the fun part! Make frosting or icing of your choice and frost the cake. Start by placing the top layer face down on your cake plate where the smoother side is facing up. Then you can place the cake plate on a rotating cake stand for easy frosting and decorating. Next, you want to put about 1/2 cup of the frosting on the first layer, then place the second layer with a smooth layer down (you are putting the smooth bottoms together).

Next, you want to put a thin layer of frosting on the top and sides of the cake. Don’t worry about how this looks right now. This is called a “crumb coat.” Then place the cake in your fridge or freezer for about 20-30 minutes. This will seal the crumbs in so they want get all in the frosting as you finish frosting the cake.

After the 30 minutes is up, finish frosting the cake. Start with a generous amount on top of the cake working down the sides all around the cake using an offset spatula. You can use circular motions to make a lovely design as you are going around the cake.

If you like you can add sprinkles to the top of your cake for decoration or whatever you like. You can also just leave it like it is with the beautiful swirls.

Follow this guide and you will not go wrong on making a cake. What are you waiting for? Get baking!🎂

FYI: Find all your baking items at bakingwithdonna.com click on The Bakers Shop.

Happy Baking,

Donna Kennedy🍰

donna@bakingwithdonna.com

bakingwithdonna.com

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