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I would imagine that regardless of how you voted yesterday (or if you voted at all), you can probably agree that this has been one of the most intensely controversial, stressful, and generally odd presidential races we have ever witnessed as a nation. Whether you're feeling numb, victorious, or utterly nauseated today, the election is done. And now that election season is over, the thing to do at this red hot moment is take a deep breath, and focus your energy into the next big thing: cookie season.

Instead of taking to Facebook to voice your opinions, wasting life in comment sections so that you can voice your opinions on other people's opinions, or deleting "friends" because of their opinions and then announcing it via your status, hows about we just let some of that election tension go today (and consider staying off Facebook altogether). Let's channel sweet positive vibes and gear up for all the cookie baking that's about to commence. Because no one and no thing can take away the joy and comfort that a fresh, warm cookie has to offer. What do you say?

OK. Great. I am taking your decision to continue reading as a "Yes!"

First things first, we need to get organized. Here are the 4 steps you need to take in order to get yourself all ready and set for a productive, inspired cookie season:

  1. Take stock of your fridge and pantry. Make sure you are well supplied with the essentials: unsalted butter, eggs, all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, unsweetened cocoa powder, baking chocolate, and light corn syrup.
  2. Find your stash of cookie cutters and other decorating implements that always seem to get stored in a different spot every year.
  3. Be sure to have your trusted, all-purpose cookie dough recipe locked and loaded.
  4. Sign up for our Cookie Countdown newsletter to have fresh cookie recipes and inspiration brightening your inbox daily.

I start with pizzelles because they are the most important cookie of my cookie season. The airy-thin, crisp, buttery wafers are made on a special iron, similar to a waffle iron, rather than baked in the oven, and they are present at every holiday and major gathering on my dad's side of the family. I learned to make these beautiful lacy patterned delights beside my great-grandmother (my GG), who told me every time we made them together about how her parents would stay up through the night pressing a barrel's worth of pizzelles, one by one using a stovetop iron, for all special occasions. Eventually, I took over the pizzelle making while my GG focused on the story telling. I treasure the hours spent pressing these cookies with her more than any possession I own, and I still make her recipe for pizzelles at least once a year. The recipe pictured above is for gluten-free pizzelles, but if you're nice, I might share my GG's tried and true recipe during this cookie season.


Time Inc. Food Studios' test kitchen director, Katie Barreira, developed these bars last year and I still dream about them. They are a flawless white chocolate-macadamia experience.


The perfect not-too-sweet, but still richly indulgent treat. Biscotti makes for an excellent gifting cookie and it freezes beautifully if you wanted to make a batch now and save half for later this month when you have company in town for Thanksgiving.


These delicately spiced dulce de leche sandwich cookies are truly as delightful to eat as they are to say.


Obviously, everyone has gotta have their go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe, and this one is mine. Just sink your teeth into one of these babies--warm, right out of the oven--and know that no matter what everything is gonna be alright. Bake cookies, eat cookies, and share cookies with love in your heart--and all will be well.

By Darcy Lenz and Darcy Lenz