If you're a holiday baker, you might want to ask Santa this year for some dough under the Christmas tree.
I'm not talking about the edible stuff. I'm talking about the green stuff that will help you pay for the edible stuff.
It's no secret that the cost of food has gone up. My guess is that if you celebrated Thanksgiving with a big dinner, you already know that.
Now, just in time for holiday parties, get-togethers and cookie exchanges, you can expect to pay a lot more to make a traditional batch of Christmas cookies.
HelloFresh, the meal kit provider, looked at the cost of ingredients (a 2-pound package of flour, a dozen eggs, 8 ounces of butter, 1 pound packet of baking soda and a 2-pound package of sugar) for a classic butter cookie recipe that creates 100 cookies. The cost comparison was made in 60 cities across the country.
The cheapest amount per batch was in Charleston, South Carolina, at $2.23.
Indianapolis ranked 16th at $5.58 a batch. Considering that the highest price is $12.40 a batch (that would be in San Diego), that's not really that bad. But the study also didn't include last year's prices for comparison, so it's a little difficult to know if we are doing better or worse than in years past. However, food prices overall are up more than 10% from last year.
Area bakeries say they have felt the pinch.
The Cookie Cottage, 620 W. Washington Center Road, has seen prices for baking ingredients gradually increase since the beginning of the year. The locally owned cookie store hasn't changed its prices, however, says manager Elizabeth Yoder-Potts.
During the holidays, Cookie Cottage makes about 900 dozen cookies a day, Yoder-Potts says.
With that many cookies, it's understandable how just a slight bump in the price of an ingredient can make baking costly.
Kathy Steenport, who just opened her bakery, Hello Sunshine Bakery, in the Waynedale community in February, has also seen prices increase, especially for eggs, flour and butter.
She's not sure how the holidays will be as this will be her first Christmas open, but so far it's been busy, she says.
“It's going to be a very good month,” Steenport says. “People are out and about, and they just want baked goods.”
Steenport's advice for home bakers is to shop around for the best prices of ingredients. She shops wholesale companies, which allow her to get more ingredients for a lower cost.
I'm guessing the price increase will have an effect on home bakers when it comes to deciding what to make for the holidays. I know it did for me for Thanksgiving.
Cookie exchanges might be smaller and cookie walks might be fewer.
Hopefully, Santa understands when he doesn't get as many cookies this year as holidays past.
In September, I wrote about a disabled dog named Macy who was being fostered by two wonderful pet parents and Humane Fort Wayne volunteers. I found out last week that Macy has been adopted!
Macy, a 5-year-old paralyzed pit bull mix, came to the shelter, along with her customized wheelchair, more than a year ago and had been in the care of Karen Asp and Chris Pataluch, waiting for the right family to adopt her.
Asp emailed me on Nov. 29 to let me know Macy was officially adopted. “I was there to witness it today (and yes, cry a little!) and just wanted to let you know that this little girl is now in a fantastic forever home, and my paws are crossed that Chris and I can still play some role in her life ... ”
So do I. I also hope Macy continues to have the best life.
Terri Richardson writes about area residents and happenings that affect their lives in this column that publishes every other week. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 461-8304.