The holidays are around the corner, throwing many kitchens into overdrive. Whether or not you have the tradition of baking your own holiday goodies, there are many reasons to at least consider it. Controlling what goes into what you eat, reducing waste, supporting companies that are in line with your own values, adventuring into new flavours and cultures, and creating memories are a few reasons to dive into the kitchen. Everything is possible, and it doesn’t matter if you have a lot of equipment. If you can handle a butter knife, you’re good to go! You’ll find recipe suggestions for anyone at the end of this article.
1. Cater to your needs for less
If you’re reading this, chances are you care about what you eat. After all, if you’re a Camino fan, you probably appreciate fair trade, organic chocolate. And many of you also choose Camino for the simple ingredients in our products. For those on specific diets, it’s often a consideration. So, when you bake you get to carry over those same concerns at lower cost. Choosing each ingredient carefully, avoiding foods that are not part of your diet can help expand choices by adapting recipes. If a recipe calls for butter, but you don’t use dairy, margarine is an easy substitute. Cutting back on sugar, or artificial anything, or other dietary concerns are huge motivators for many households to bake their own goodies.
2. Reduce waste through baking
Another benefit of whipping up your own batch of holiday cookies, or other treats, is less waste. For starters, it can reduce packaging. Treats enveloped in cellophane and boxes, or individually wrapped are convenient, but by making your own desserts, cookies, and squares for the holidays you can avoid a lot of excess, single-use packaging. Also, buying your core ingredients in bulk or large quantities means less wasted packaging from the get-go. Wrappers aside, addressing food waste is another huge benefit to baking at home. Granted, baking takes some effort, so when you know how much time you have put in, you tend to make sure every crumb is eaten, right?! The last of the chocolate brownies are a little stale? Warmed up slightly, served with a scoop of ice cream, no one will complain (wink).
3. Support companies in line with your values
If fair trade, organic, and other values are dear to your heart, you will have noticed that the offerings for ready-prepared baked goods can be limited, especially outside of an urban setting. Making your own means you can gather from among your favourite suppliers or brands the best possible ingredients, such as cocoa powder, sugar, vanilla, spices and more! What a great feel to be able to tell the story of those extra special ingredients that are dear to you. With these select choices, you can use your favourite family recipes or experiment with new ones, all without compromising the values important to you. Either way, the results are sure to be delicious and will make your holiday baked goods even more special.
4. Experiment and be adventurous through baking
If you enjoy experimenting or trying new foods, baking at home offers the possibility of learning about the various origins of ingredients as well. For instance, did you ever try Ceylon cinnamon? Give it a try, and experience its milder flavour that doesn’t overpower. Pull out a map and look at where products are from. For example, you will notice that Camino’s whole brown sugar is unrefined and comes from Peru, while our golden cane sugar was grown in Paraguay. This bit of research can lead you to explore other cultures’ holiday foods. Ferret out recipes from these countries through an internet site, a visit to a neighbour from another part of the world, or a library book. Check out other regions as well to expand your palate and satisfy your curiosity. Baking for the holidays can become an adventure as you travel the world, so to speak, in your kitchen.
5. Create memories, build traditions
Some of your travels might take you to your own family traditions. Naturally, most people probably have their own childhood or family favourite for the holidays, and it’s fun to stir up a batch of nostalgia, especially if you can share it with the younger generation. Holiday cookies are enjoyable educational projects for kids to learn to follow instructions, measure, roll, cut, bake, and decorate. They will probably be having too much fun to notice they are learning. Combine that with the stories behind the recipes, whether that is cultural or religious in nature, or just family stories, you have the opportunity for bonding, passing on traditions, and creating cherished memories. If you have kids who are somewhat competitive or enjoy role playing, you can even host your own championship all-time best holiday cookie event!
Holiday baking is an activity flexible enough to adapt to any age and ability. On top of that, there are so many benefits including deciding what ingredients you use, reducing waste, choosing the companies you want to buy from, testing out new flavours and recipes, and passing on traditions. Then, of course, the satisfaction of eating and serving our own creations is unparalleled, to say nothing of the aromas wafting from your kitchen. If you don’t know where to start, or you want to explore new recipes, have a look at our easy holiday recipes.