Ahhh, the smell of cookies baking in the oven.  One of the great holiday smells in our house.  There's nothing like hot, fresh cookies during the holidays.  Actually, any time is cookie time with me, but during the holidays it's a fun, family thing to do.  For as long as I can remember, I've baked and decorated cookies with my mom in my "little" days, and with my wife and kids in my "bigger" days.  However, there were times when we ran into trouble and they got kind of messed up.  Aarrrggghhhh, we'd shout.  Why can't they be like on TV?

I found 5 really good tips from Gourmet Live to help make your cookies turn out the way you hoped they would.  I mean, really, cookies should be an enjoyable project, not cause for tearing your hair out.

1. Roll out Your Dough Between Sheets of Wax Paper, Not Parchment
Wax paper peels easily off the top of the dough; then cut out the cookies and they'll peel right off the bottom sheet. Not true with parchment paper; no matter how cold the dough is, it clings.

2. Chill, Baby, Chill
The secret to neat and tidy edges? Chill the dough before and after you cut out shapes, and whenever it gets soft. Just pop the dough, supported on a baking sheet, into the freezer for 10 minutes to firm it up.

3. Metal Cup Measures Do Double Duty
When pressing dough into a pan for bars, use the smooth bottom of metal cup measures to pack it into an even layer.

4. The Foolproof Tool For Rolling Dough Evenly
Rolling pin guide rings! Just slide them onto your rolling pin, and you can't help but make the dough even (pictured above).

5. Add Salt and Leavening to Butter and Sugar Mixture
If you really want your salt and leavening well distributed throughout the dough, beat it in with the butter and sugar.

So that's the trick.  Where were you when I needed you?

There you go.  Happy baking!