Frugal Tactics For Cookie Baking
I hauled home a 4-lb bag of chocolate chips this week.
I ignored the frugal rule (do the math) and bought it by instinct. At $7 for 64 oz, the cost is equivalent to paying $1.08 for a 12-oz bag of Nestle semi-sweet morsels. Couponers could beat that, but not for convenience.
This is the season for cookie exchanges and sales on baking supplies. One--or both--should send you for a quick pantry survey. What can you stock for the future? What can you bake with the least expense?
As a general rule, these are my target prices for baking supplies:
- Butter $2/lb or less, stockpile in freezer
- Margarine .50/lb
- Flour $1.50 for a 5-lb bag of White Lily
- Granulated sugar .50/lb at Sam's Club
- Powdered sugar .70/lb
- Brown sugar .76/lb
- Vanilla extract .50/oz for imitation
- Eggs $1/dozen
When I see these staples at this price or lower, I consider stocking up until the next sale. Shopping the loss leaders or using coupons can whittle those totals down even further.
Now, what to bake? What type of cookie gets the most bang for your buck?
I like iced sugar cookies for maximum impact. With $1 box of food coloring, you can wow kids and parents alike with simple painted cookies. Momadvice offers a great tutorial on mastering sugar cookie dough and frosting. You don't even need cookie cutters. Artist Tasha Tudor freehand cut her fanciful gingerbread shapes each year.
For chocolate cookies, look for recipes which use cocoa. You can also substitute 1 Tbsp. butter or oil with three Tbsp. cocoa for each ounce of baking chocolate required in a recipe.
My current project is shortbread. My mom gave me a yard sale shortbread mold with hearts and flowers. The official Brown Bag company recipe uses 1 stick butter, 1/3 cup powdered sugar, and 1 cup flour. Not bad for the beautiful, plate-size result!
What frugal cookies are in your repertoire? Where are you finding rock-bottom baking supplies? Do tell!