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Alison Gowans
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Dec. 4, 2023 – 'Tis the season for holiday baking, and the library is celebrating with cookie-centric events:

Gingerbread Building Contest

Can you imagine a library in a park, and a park in a library? If you can imagine it, can you build it – in gingerbread? This isn’t your typical gingerbread contest. To celebrate the Westside Library and Park project,  we want to see your best gingerbread library instead of a gingerbread house. How you decorate around the building is just as important – we want to see your best imaginary park alongside the library.

The contest runs Dec. 1-11, followed by public voting through Dec. 18. Kits were available while supplies lasted and have all been picked up. However, you may use your own materials if you wish. Build your gingerbread creation at home, snap a photo, and enter the contest on the online entry form by Dec. 11 for a chance to win great prizes!

Cookie Recipe Swap & Tasting 

Bring in a favorite cookie recipe and cookies to share with other attendees. Participants are asked to bring at least one dozen home-baked cookies to share among attendees. Registration required. Tuesday, Dec. 19, 6-7 pm, Ladd Library, Community Room.

Need inspiration for decorating your gingerbread library or baking up cookies for the swap? Or are you just looking for some fun and tasty home baking recipes? The library has cookbooks to help you get started. These are just a few picks from our shelves - find more at the library, or put these titles on hold in our catalog by clicking on their covers below.

"The Gingerbread Book" by Allen D. Bragdon

Fifty-four cookie-construction projects for party centerpieces and holiday decorations, 117 full-sized patterns, plans for 18 structures, over 100 color photos, recipes, cookie shapes, children's projects, history, and step-by-step how-to's.

"Holiday Cookies: More Than 100 Very Merry Recipes" by Brian Hart Hoffman

Over 100 recipes divided into mouthwatering categories. You'll find everything from thumbprint cookies, sandwich cookies, holiday twists perfect for a cookie swap, chocolate decadence, and everything in between. With tried-and-tested recipes and beautiful photography as your guide, explore the glorious world of holiday baking from your home kitchen.

"Baking for the Holidays: 50+ Treats for a Festive Season" by Sarah Kieffer

A festive baking book featuring more than 50 recipes to enjoy during the holiday season and all winter long.

"Christmas with Kim-Joy: A Festive Collection of Edible Cuteness" by Kim-Joy

Kim-Joy's baked creations have charmed fans since she was in the final of the Great British Bake Off 2018. Following on from her bestselling debut book, "Baking with Kim-Joy," she's turning to everyone's favorite time of year – Christmas! Sharing her simple decorating techniques and her delicious flavor combinations, Kim-Joy will delight novice and seasoned bakers with – amongst many others – her melted snowman cake pops, white chocolate igloos with marshmallow seals, penguin bao buns and incredible inspiration for designing your own magical gingerbread village. Whether you're after ideas for edible Christmas gifts or bigger bakes to feed friends and family, you'll find a treasure trove of adorable recipes here that will melt everyone's heart.

"Christmas Baking: Festive Cookies, Candies, Cakes, Breads, and Snacks to Bring Comfort and Joy to Your Holiday" by Joyce Klynstra

This collection brings together more than 100 Christmas-inspired recipes, from holiday classics like Dark Chocolate Crinkles and Decorated Sugar Cookies to international treats like Krakelingen, Linzer Cookies, and Alfajores. From festive and fancy to quick and easy recipes, many favorites will spark fond baking memories, and new flavors will create fresh family traditions.

"Best Holiday Sweets & Treats: Good and Simple Family Favorites to Bake and Share" by Daniella Malfitano

The holidays can be stressful, but baking a batch of cookies, fudge, or bars for your family doesn't have to be. With classic ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, "Best Holiday Sweets & Treats" has something for even the busiest holiday baker. Entertain your guests or get cozy with family with amazingly simple and delicious recipes: Snickerdoodles for Santa, Soft Glazed Gingerbread, Rocky Road Christmas Crunch Bars, Peppermint Chocolate Bark. Whether it's traditional holiday fare or something with a little more flare, nothing brings loved ones together faster than the smell of sugar cookies baking in the oven. You won't just be making cookies – you'll be making memories.

"Modern Gingerbread: 15 Inspiring New Ideas for Bakes and Cakes" by Sandra Monger

The making and decorating of gingerbread houses has long been synonymous with the coming of Christmas, and the tradition has never gone out of fashion. In recent years the design and painstaking creation of gingerbread structures has gone beyond the traditional cottage, with users on Pinterest seeking inspiration for the making of gingerbread cities, skyscrapers and even sugar-glazed gingerbread greenhouses. "Modern Gingerbread" seeks to tap into, and lead, the trend for contemporary gingerbread baking and decorating. Lauded cake-maker Sandra Monger is full of terrific ideas for gingerbread projects, from decorative gingerbread tiles and wreaths to a Norwegian kransekake delicately crafted from rings of gingerbread. The piece de resistance in Modern Gingerbread is Sandra's gingerbread-embellished wedding cake, which will no doubt prove a show-stopper for any budding baker. The gingerbread projects included in the book are accompanied by templates, and recipes for traditional, colored and vegan gingerbread are also featured.

"The Christmas Cookie Cookbook: All the Rules and Delicious Recipes to Start Your Own Holiday Cookie Club" by Ann Pearlman

Provides recipes for holiday pastries, from traditional Christmas cookies to Mexican wedding cakes, and includes advice on presentation and starting a cookie exchange club.

"A Year of Gingerbread Houses: Making & Decorating Gingerbread Houses for all Seasons" by Kristine Samuell

Nothing's more enticing for any holiday or special occasion than an awesome, lusciously decorated gingerbread house. With designs for Christmas, Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and birthdays, these exquisite projects include a cottage, chalet, and two-story house. Options as customized windows, doors, chimneys, paths, trees, topiaries, and even lighting add to the charm. More than 200 helpful step-by-step process shots; informative sections on tools, techniques, and components; and patterns, piping templates, and tips on baking, assembling, and troubleshooting assure magical results.

"Good Housekeeping Christmas Cookies: 75 Irresistible Holiday Treats" by Susan Westmoreland 

Everyone loves a Christmas cookie! Here are the best of the best from Good Housekeeping: 75 delicious triple-tested holiday recipes, from Chocolate Chunk and Gingerbread Cutouts to Mint Peppermint Sticks and Razzy-Jazzy Thumbprints. Whether you're an expert baker or an enthusiastic home cook, this treasure trove of cookies, including do-ahead tips and easy decorating and gift-wrapping ideas, will ensure that everything you make tastes – and looks – amazing.