If you bake once a week or more (or want to), creating a baking station in your kitchen is priceless.
You will be able to throw together a recipe in under 15 minutes and can say goodbye to processed store bought cookies, muffins, granola and energy bars forever. Seriously, I don't even buy Lara Bars any more because I can whip up (and freeze) a double batch in minutes.
When I say "Baking Station", all I am talking about is creating one area where all your baking "stuff" will live. Ideally you will be within arms reach of all your flours, sugars, spices, leaveners, and measuring devices.
In order to create one in my home, here is what I did in 2 simple steps:
STEP 1. purchased glass jars (from TJmaxx for about five bucks each) and filled them with the following: White flour, white sugar, whole wheat flour, and oat flour. These happen to be the things I reach for most in my baking endeavors. I make sure to have my whole grain flours out and ready to go so I will actually use them. Trust me, if you shove your wheat flour in the back of your fridge you won't bother reaching for it. Click here if you want to know my 3 favorite oat flour recipes and how to make it or here to know what recipes whole wheat flour work best with.
STEP 2. Assign a cabinet that is large enough to fit all your spices, as well as all your leavening agents (baking powder, baking soda, yeast, etc.) and any other sugars, sprinkles, or extras you typically use. Some of the things I keep in my cabinet are: corn starch, brown sugar, coconut palm sugar, corn meal, shredded coconut, nuts, muffin wrappers, chocolate chips, honey, extracts and flavorings. The neighboring cabinet to the right holds all my measuring spoons, and wet and dry measuring cups. All in arms reach, and right above my trusted kitchen aid. I also keep my large crock of utensils nearby so my scrapers and large spoons are right there.
Yes, this idea is simple, but take a minute and look at your kitchen and ask yourself if your ingredients are in arms reach and stored together so you don't need to walk to the pantry, cupboard, pantry, other cupboard, fridge and back again? I swear, when I actually took the time to consolidated things into one area, my baking projects took 50% less time.
Best part? Nothing, and I mean nothing, will win you favors with the kids like having warm whole grain chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven. Next time you have the urge to pick up your "spoonula" look around and see how quick and easy it will be to design your very own baking station.