Need cookie recipes at the last minute? We got you covered

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Lexi Leonard, Joey Stuckart and Billy Stuckart have fun building a gingerbread house.

Baking cookies seems to be a universal holiday tradition that spans all religions, cultures and customs. Whether it’s gingerbread men and houses; sweet, sugary stars of David; or crunchy, nutty fall leaves, baking cookies brings families and friends together to create treasured memories. Try these time-tested recipes with the youngsters — and the young at heart — in your family.

Ice-Box Cookies
A festive tin or gaily wrapped box of ice-box cookies makes a great take-along treat for any holiday party, and they’re sure to be welcomed at a cookie exchange. You can prepare the dough ahead of time and freeze it, tightly sealed, for up to six months. When it’s time to make the cookies, just cut and bake, and you’re ready to go!
1 cup melted butter
1 lb. brown sugar
2 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped pecans
In a large bowl, pour melted butter over sugar and mix in eggs. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter, sugar and egg mixture and add in vanilla and pecans; mix well. Shape dough into logs and wrap in waxed paper. Chill overnight or at least 6 hours. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375° F. Slice cookies 1/4-inch thick and bake for 10 minutes or until the center doesn’t flatten when gently pressed down.
Makes about 9 dozen cookies.

Sugar Cookies
These traditional sugar cookies can take any shape your heart desires: pumpkins, wreaths, even a menorah!
3 cups powdered sugar
2 cups butter or margarine, softened
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. almond extract
2 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cream of tartar
In a large bowl, beat powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and almond extracts and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix thoroughly with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Heat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each half 1/8-inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with 3-inch cookie cutters. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes. Decorate cookies with glaze, icing and/or other decorations as desired.
Makes about 8 dozen cookies.

Gingerbread Cookies
This basic gingerbread recipe can make gingerbread men, houses or even fall leaves. Only your imagination can limit what this versatile recipe can create!
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. salt
In a large bowl, stir together brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. On floured surface, roll dough 1/8-inch thick. Cut with cookie cutters dipped in flour. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until no indentation remains when lightly pressed. (For a softer, chewier cookie, bake 8-10 minutes.) Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes, then decorate as desired.
Makes about 9 dozen cookies.