Did somebody say, cookies?!

Peary-webhSure, you can spread holiday cheer, enjoy glad tidings and ring in the New Year, but if you want to do so in a way guaranteed to make family and friends smile, ply them with home-baked cookies. Homemade holiday cookies go beyond the usual butter and sugar confections, they’re often made with more precious ingredients and always include an extra dose of love.

Now family recipes deliver cookies with a story, but if you want easy-to-make, crowd-pleasing goodies, ask the pros: New England’s innkeepers. Welcoming guests with cookies and a warm drink is part of the New England hospitality tradition. It’s a tradition that goes hand-in-mitt with Christmas.

Every December, the Country Inns in the White Mountains, hosts an Inn to Inn Christmas Cookie Tour, and a few years ago I participated. Fueled by butter and sugar and cider and tea, I nibbled my way through the Mount Washington Valley, taking time to tour the inns, all of which were dripping with garland and ribbons, wrapped-up for the season like holiday presents.

I sampled, I tested and I came home with recipes guaranteed to please anyone who knocks on the door or drops down the chimney during the holiday season.

indexhousew1Fryeburg’s Admiral Perry House (left) is one of 15 inns participating in this year’s tour (top photo: blueberry shortbread cookies). For the best deal, book a package that includes lodging, breakfast, and event tickets. One night rates are $189-$221. Even better, make a weekend of it. Two-night packages are $327-$391.

If you just want to make a day of it, event-only tickets are $27. Advance purchase is available Dec. 1-8, 2009 by calling 800-233-8309 or 603-383-9339.  Any unreserved tickets available (they are limited) can be purchased at the Admiral Peary House or New Hampshire’s Notchland Inn and Riverbend Inn.

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