Make 20-30 different holiday treats this year—bake with Melynn

salted carmel pretzel barkLast year we shared Melynn’s technique for baking an amazing number of cookies for the holidays. Each holiday she makes 20-30 different kinds! How does she do it (and still sleep?), by planning ahead and starting early. In fact, she’ll be kicking off her holiday cookie prep this weekend!

If you’re feeling behind, don’t—there’s still time to catch up and use “The Melynn Technique.” Here’s what to do:

1. Decide what you’d like to make and gather your recipes.

2. Finalize your recipes and create a spreadsheet. Here’s what Melynn has planned for her baking this year, and when she’s planning on making each treat:

 

Melynn's baking schedule 2013

3. Go shopping for ingredients.

Melynn’s goal is to finish her list by December 9th so she can start sharing her cookies on the 11th (that is a REALLY good day here at TDS). To make that goal, this weekend she will be doing step number four:

4. Gather and measure. “In early November, I take a Saturday or Sunday to gather and measure the dry/miscellaneous ingredients for each recipe. This is the part of baking that takes so much time and makes such a mess of your kitchen, so why not do it all at once?

I put the ingredients for each recipe into a large Ziploc bag along with a copy of the recipe.”

If you’d like to bake along with Melynn, this year we’re going to keep you on pace here on the blog. And, so you can plan ahead, here’s the recipe she found (thanks to her mom) for Salted Carmel Pretzel Bark:

Salted Caramel Pretzel Bark

    • 2 sticks of butter

 

    • 1 cup of light brown sugar

 

    • 1 bag of pretzels-square best (you’ll use about 3/4 of the bag)

 

    • 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips

 

    • Sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400.

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, cover with pretzels (you don’t have to do the super neat grid but go ahead if it makes you feel all aligned and happy).

In a medium saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat. When it begins to bubble add the brown sugar. Stirring occasionally let the butter/sugar mixture meld together and brown. This should take about 3 minutes. Do NOT let it boil, you will have sticky goo that is no good.

When you have a nice, brown caramel pour it over the pretzels, slowly and evenly. You can then use a spatula to spread it out, you have to work quickly and gently. It hardens fast so even pouring is the best method.

Bake the sheet for 5 minutes.

Remove the sheet from the oven and sprinkle the whole bag of chocolate chips evenly over the mixture. Place back in the oven for about 45 seconds. If you let it sit there too long the chocolate will burn.

Remove from the oven and use a silicone spatula or the back of a spoon to evenly spread the chocolate over the top.

Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

Melynn’s never made this one before, but after December 11th I’ll give you a review :-).

Let us know how your holiday baking is coming or share a favorite recipe in the comments. Stay tuned for a few of Melynn’s tried-and-true recipes over the next few weeks.

UPDATE: Part 2 of Melynn’s baking adventure (and includes recipes for Spritz and Potato Chip Cookies)

UPDATE: Part 3 of Melynn’s baking adventure (and includes recipes for Peanut Blossoms, Melting Moments, and Pretzel Turtles)

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About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids. You can find Missy on G+ and on Twitter.

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