As we approach the holidays, thoughts start turning to special, once-a-year foods, including treats like Christmas cookies. If you really want to bedazzle your friends at parties this year, pick up a copy of “Ultimate Cookies” (Gibbs Smith, $24.99) by the queen of cute cookies, Julia Usher.

If you saw her previous book, you already know that Usher takes cookie baking to a whole other, Martha Stewart-esque level. For Thanksgiving, she’s got “Turkey in the Straw” cookies, which are three-dimensional turkeys (seriously) standing in a bed of shredded wheat “straw.”

For Christmas, there are snowmen made out of macaroons, three-dimensional Christmas trees and a gingerbread sleigh for Santa to provide a change of pace from the tired old gingerbread house. The real show stopper? Snow globe cookies, complete with snow made from sanding sugar, non-pareils and/or edible glitter.


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