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In the kitchen: Cookies and other homemade holiday gifts

In the kitchen: Cookies and other homemade holiday gifts
Ronnie's raspberry crescents. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

If the holidays season can be likened to a race, we've just about made it to the home stretch. Congratulations. Perhaps we dusted off the punch bowl — and our cocktail recipes — when we hosted that Halloween party barely a month ago. Then we put the oven — and all the pots and pans and maybe our nerves — through their paces when we tackled Thanksgiving last week. (Hopefully, you've recuperated.) And now? It's officially baking season, that sweet spot before the end of the year when we stock up on homemade cookies and other family favorites to take to potlucks and gatherings, wrap up as gifts, and set out at the holiday parties yet to come.

We've gathered together some of our favorite holiday cookie recipes, as well as a few unique homemade gift ideas. We've also compiled a list of fun and creative ideas for the foodie on your gift list.

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YOUR GO-TO COOKIE RECIPE DATABASE

From wedding cookies to pecan pie bars, Linzer cookies to gingerbread, rugelach, sugar cookies and bourbon balls, we all have that one cookie that defines the holidays. Whether you're looking for a lost family favorite or are curious about trying something new (cardamom cookies, perhaps?), our cookie recipes are tested in the Test Kitchen before they're printed, so you can count on them to work. We have hundreds of recipes to choose from.

Chocolate chip rye cookies.
Chocolate chip rye cookies. (Christina House / For The Times)

QUICK TIPS FOR ROLLING OUT YOUR PIE AND COOKIE DOUGHS

Los Angeles Times Test Kitchen director Noelle Carter shows how to roll dough.

UNIQUE HOMEMADE HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS

If you're looking for homemade gift ideas that go beyond a tin of cookies or a tray of brownies, consider one of these. Please the hot sauce fan in your life with a jar of homemade Sriracha salt. Wrap up a batch of dark sea salt caramel candies. And give the outdoor enthusiast or avid camper a container of all-purpose baking mix — just add water and a little oil and you can whip up a batch of pancakes, biscuits or dumplings in almost no time.

Homemade Sriracha salt.
Homemade Sriracha salt. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times)

GREAT GIFT IDEAS FOR THE FOODIE ON YOUR LIST

This year, we kept the Golden State in mind when we came up with our annual holiday gift guide — many of the items are locally made or produced. From ice cream to olive oil to chocolates, coffee mugs, preserves and more, you'll find something for the discriminating food lover on your list.

Gift ideas for the foodie on your list.
Gift ideas for the foodie on your list. (Handout)

WHAT TO DO WITH ALL THE ROOT VEGETABLES IN SEASON NOW

Turnips, parsnips and rutabagas may not make the list when it comes to Most Popular Vegetable, but root vegetables have a surprising depth of flavor and are perfect for a variety of cold-weather preparations. Check out some of our favorite root vegetable recipes.

Turnips glazed with sherry vinegar.
Turnips glazed with sherry vinegar. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Love cooking as much as I do? Follow me @noellecarter

Check us out on Instagram @latimesfood

Check out the thousands of recipes in our Recipe Database

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Feedback? We'd love to hear from you. Email us at food@latimes.com.

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