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I don't know about you - but the words "potluck" and "cookie swap" incite my usually suppressed sense of competition and I suddenly become compelled to bring not only an amazing dish or dessert, but the most amazing dish or dessert. Our office cookie swap is coming early next week and I am panicked as how to make the most impressive, delicious, praise-winning cookies ever made by man, woman or Martha Stewart.

I don't know about you - but the words "potluck" and "cookie swap" incite my usually suppressed sense of competition and I suddenly become compelled to bring not only an amazing dish or dessert, but the most amazing dish or dessert. Our office cookie swap is coming early next week and I am panicked as how to make the most impressive, delicious, praise-winning cookies ever made by man, woman or Martha Stewart. So, this week, I've spent hours pouring over food blogs for tips on perfecting cut-out cookies, substitutions for special diets and other pointers for making show stopping treats.

Cut It Out!


While it would certainly be much quicker to make these classics as drop cookies, it’s all about the cut-outs, if you ask me. Endless varieties of cookie cutters catch my eye every time I find myself shopping for kitchen supplies, and now is the time of year I can put those impulse buys to good use. These shaped cookies can do more than just feed the stomach, but also treat the eyes, and quite possibly elevate one’s mood. The effort put into making these cookies into something special is what truly makes them a perfect gift. It takes a bit of patience, skill, and luck, but I have a few tips to help you get started in case you need some reassurance.

<a href="http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/12/baking-cooking-substitutions-for-gluten.html">Baking and Substitution Tips</a>


I receive so many requests for substitutes in cooking and baking recipes (food allergies are on the rise, you know, not to mention those tender-hearted animal loving vegans- their smiling faces are popping up everywhere these days) that I thought I would write a post about what works- and what doesn't- in quirky Substitution Land.

<a href="http://chewonthatblog.com/2008/12/10/endless-amounts-of-cookie-recipes/">Endless Amounts of Cookie Recipes</a>


It’s baking season. You know it. I know it. We all know it. It always comes as a shocker when those cookie sheets, flour sifters and endless sticks of butter slyly make their way off their respective shelves in those first days of December, but now that it’s December 10th, it should come as no surprise at all. The mixing bowls are prepped, the eggs are waiting to be cracked, now the only question is…What cookies to make this year?

What secrets do you have for baking show-stopping cookies?

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