I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and got a good start to holiday eating. In the blink of an eye it’s December, and it is sure to not slow down one bit.

Cookies are the subject today. Perhaps they are needed for an office party, a family celebration or just a snack to get you to your next gathering. If you have a specialty cookie, it’s the perfect Christmas gift — they are so portable and on-the-run easy to eat.

There’s a few tips for baking better cookies:

• Don’t overmix.

• Add room-temperature eggs one at a time.

• Rotate the baking pan once during baking, but avoid opening the oven door too many times.

• Let the cookies rest on the baking sheet before moving to cooling racks.

• Add the dry ingredients to the wet.

• Don’t skip chilling the dough if it’s part of the directions.

• Mix ingredients in order according to directions.

A fun holiday get-together is a cookie exchange. Ask everyone bring three cookies per invited guest — one to eat at the get-together and two each to take home. Have attendees bring their recipe, as well as a container to transport the cookies home.

Set up plates and cake stands for display and serve drinks, hot or cold. Maybe something good for dunking or a tea party with fancy cups. You may want to have those attending let you know what special cookies they are bringing so as to avoid too many duplicates. But is ending up with five sugar cookies a bad thing?

Looking for perfect holiday cookies? This classic combo of orange and cranberry, from lordbyrons kitchen.com, is sure to please. You can refrigerate the dough for up to five days or freeze for up to 30 days before baking.

The buttery shortbread is easily dressed up with drizzled chocolate or cinnamon sugar, but it is also delicious plain. This recipe is from Taste of Home.

I made the blueberry cookies recently, and they are a new favorite. So soft, they can substitute for your morning blueberry muffin. I contemplated not adding the chips, but I am glad I talked myself out of that nonsense. I used a Betty Crocker muffin mix, but Jiffy works, too. Adding a lemon glaze would produce my favorite flavor duo of blueberry and lemon. This recipe is from dessertnow dinnerlater.com.

Have a wonderful week, and happy eating.

Orange cranberry cookies

  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh cranberries

Beat butter and sugar 5 minutes or until light and fluffy; add flour. Beat on low until well combined. Add zest and berries; stir to mix well with wooden spoon.

On parchment paper, form into 18-inch-long log. Roll log in parchment paper then plastic wrap. Chill one hour.

Cut into 1/4-inch slices. Bake on parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Yields 30 cookies.

Scottish shortbread

  • 2 cups butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 4-4 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add 3 cups flour. Turn dough onto floured surface; knead 5 minutes, adding enough flour to form soft dough.

On parchment paper, roll into 16-by-9-inch rectangle. Transfer to baking sheet. and cut into 3-inch strips. Prick each cookie several times with fork. Chill at least 30 minutes overnight.

Separate cookies and place 1-inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until light brown at 325 degrees. Cool on rack. Yields 4 dozen.

Blueberry cookies

2 packages blueberry muffin mix

4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick butter, room temperature

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips

Cream butter and cream cheese. Add eggs one at a time. Add muffin mix and combine. Stir in chips. Chill one hour.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake 14 to 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Cool on baking sheet one minute, then cool on wire rack.

Cheryle Finley is a food columnist for The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.

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Cheryle Finley is a food columnist for The Joplin Globe. Address correspondence to Cheryle Finley, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.