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Throughout the holiday season it seems there are two groups of people in the kitchen. The first are those who are preparing sumptuous meals based in family traditions and cultural heritages. The second are those supplying our sweet tooth with an adequate fare of customary Holiday treats, by far the most popular of which is cookies.

Having watched my sister make cookies for family and friends for years, I know that the art of cookies is no small task. She breaks up her efforts over several days time to make it a little less arduous. The first step, of course, is deciding between all the wonderful cookies that could be made. At the top of the typically you’ll find gingerbread, turtles, and old fashioned sugar cookies (at least in our home!).

Once you’ve assembled the final list and gathered together recipes, you can then make a list of ingredients. NOTE: frugal housekeepers may wish to change their list a little bit so that there are more common ingredients among the cookies, which then reduces the cost of shopping. This is especially true if the left over ingredients are not something you’d normally use in daily cooking or baking. In either case, it’s time to pull out a calculator and make sure you have enough of each ingredient required. Remember baking is chemistry so stick to the calculations carefully.

With your ingredient inventory firmly in hand, the next step is checking to make sure your kitchen tools are in good shape for this project, and that you’ve got plenty of adequate storage bags/containers. You can get new pieces/containers when you go shopping, if need be. Speaking of which, you’ll want to order the shopping list according to store so the process gets streamlined, and you’ll also want to make a space in the kitchen or pantry before you head out to neatly and safely hold all your components until you start baking. Hint: As you’re gathering the components, the baker’s mantra “fresher is better” should always be in your mind. The freshness of ingredients directly impacts the quality of your cookies.

At this juncture you’re ready to cook. Some people like to start by making basic dough and putting them in the refrigerator. Dough is fine for several days like this, and even longer if you freeze it. This allows you the freedom to grab a bundle when you have spare time to bake, and leave the rest for later. Overall, you’ll find this basic process is time-effective and still produces great cookies.

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