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Cookie time! This quick recipe makes it easy to offer fresh-baked sweets to holiday guests

By Wolfgang Puck, Tribune Content Agency on

Fresh. Baked. Cookies. Spoken together, those three words conjure feelings of homey warmth and goodwill that are the very essence of the holidays.

Many people consider cookies served straight out of the oven (or, to be a little less evocative but more realistic, cooled briefly after baking) the stuff of family memories. The sweet scent permeates the whole kitchen, and often the rest of the house, with toasty aromas. And even when they're cookies that also keep well in an airtight tin for days or weeks, oven-fresh ones seem to fill our senses with the most vivid flavors and -- depending on the type of cookie -- textures either crispy, chewy or soft.

But not all cookies lend themselves to last-minute baking or to being served soon after they leave the oven. Some, like bar cookies, need longer cooking and cooling times to set properly for cutting. Others, like sandwich cookies, filled cookies or elaborately decorated cookies, have more complicated recipe instructions that should include the dreaded words that appear on the boxes of too many children's toys: Some assembly required.

None of those worries should concern you when you set out to make the following recipe for cinnamon sugar cookies. The simple, sweet, buttery dough itself takes just a few minutes to mix and then requires only a few hours of chilling; though you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to five days, ready to roll into balls and bake at the last minute when guests arrive. Shaping the dough and coating it with cinnamon sugar is also a fun activity in which you can involve willing visitors, who then have to wait no more than 15 minutes for the cookies to come out of the oven -- and a few more minutes after that for them to cool.

How much easier could cookie baking be? The rewards -- delicious rounds that are crisp but not too crisp, crumbly but not too crumbly, and rich but not overly rich, with subtle but noticeable aromas and flavors of vanilla and cinnamon -- are far greater than any effort involved. You could also easily vary the cookies, if you like, by rolling out larger balls (be sure to place them farther apart), substituting another flavor extract for the vanilla, and even omitting the cinnamon sugar coating and instead icing the cookies any way you want after they've cooled.

Your options are almost limitless. But the wonderful results can always be summed up in just three words: Fresh. Baked. Cookies.

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Makes about 5 1/2 dozen

2 3/4 cups (685 mL) all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon


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