Is it ever too early to think about Christmas? Not for the Keeler Elves who purchased new baking sheets and measuring cups in anticipation of this year's Cookiepalooza.
The heck with the humidity! It's time to bake!
The elves are eager to start testing your recipes for the eighth annual Christmas cookie issue. This is your cue to look through recipe boxes and computer files for your favorite Christmas cookie recipe. We want all kinds of recipes: bars, drops and cutouts; with nuts and without; iced, plain and sprinkled; gingerbread, peppermint and chocolate.
If your cookie comes with a heartwarming story, send that along, too. The elves are softies.
The Christmas cookie issue, which publishes Dec. 2, will include two dozen of the most enticing reader recipes, all tested by the St. Petersburg Times.
There's no trick to making it to the final 24, but here's a little insight on how recipes get to the testing round. Our goal is to find about 30 recipes to test, keeping in mind a range of flavors and shapes. The cookies are baked in a home kitchen, and if they don't turn out well the first time, we don't normally make them again unless they have great promise. Then the elves will tinker.
We want a balance between nut and nutless recipes. Simpler recipes also make the cut more often than tough ones. We always look for a few that are easy for children to make.
Basically, send what you love and hopefully the elves will agree.
There are a few copies left of O Christmas Treats, a compilation book of cookie recipes that have been published in the Taste holiday issue from 2002 to 2007. For details on how to order online, visit the Times Online Store at tampabay.com/store. The book is $17.95 plus tax and shipping.
The elves and their sweet tooths await.
Janet K. Keeler can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8586.