Holiday Baking 2021: COVID Edition


Like everything in 2021, for everyone in 2021, holiday baking was a little different this year.  For the holidays 2020, I didn’t bake for work; everyone was remote.  I just shipped and dropped off to friends and family.  This year, baking for work was back on the table.  Yay.  However, packaging and delivery needed some upgrading.  In years passed, I would package everything by treat, but would also put a dozen or two of the same type in the same bag, unworried about people touching cookies they weren’t going to eat.  This year, pandemic hygiene required I package for individual consumption.  Which also means I had to label for individual consumption.  I mean how awful would it be to survive thus far in a pandemic only to be felled by a marshmallow?

So, I put on my big girl pants and took on the most difficult task I’ve ever attempted with holiday baking: mail merge labels.  It was dicey for a minute, but eventually I prevailed.  Now I can make my own puff pastry and mass produce labels.  How do you like them apples?

I also bought cool self-seal bags and a heat sealer.  I made just over 3,000 individual units in 2021 (less than some years, more than others).  Accounting for the shipped items that were packaged in larger amounts, I estimate I individually packaged about 2000 treats in pairs of two.  Sorry Mother Nature!  You’re welcome everyone else.

This year’s holiday packages included nine treats:

Peanut Butter Balls

Rum Butter Nuts

Sugar Cookies

Altoid Brownies

Triple Gingersnaps

Buttercrunch (by far the best recipe I’ve found for buttercrunch)

Smoresmallows (no recipe but maybe soon)

Holidays also no recipe.  These turned out only about half the time.  Clearly the recipe is not ready to be shared.

The lineup:

Because everything that went to our respective places of work was packaged in pairs, I needed a portable way to transport all the goodies that didn’t get shipped.  Enter the reusable shopping bag.  If I’d had my act together I would have had them personalized.  Luckily, Erin Condren (fellow Bruin) came to the rescue with personalized tags that were cooler.

I can’t remember how many bags we filled (thank you Qunicy Plotts), but of course, I didn’t take a picture of the full load.

About midway through holiday baking this year, it occurred to me that it might make more sense personally to make holiday baking an every-other-year sort of thing.  In retrospect, my fall 2021 was a little nutty.  So, I’m still considering the idea.  Luckily I have a few months before I have to kick the machine back into motion.