It’s crunch time. There’s one last weekend to trim the tree, gild the gifts, pack the bags or set the table for a holiday housewarming. As families all across the globe gather to celebrate the season in festive style, I find myself back home in Buffalo helping Mamma recover from yet another cancer surgery. Lucky as we are to celebrate her clean bill of health, there’s nothing that threatens to dampen the spirits more than an unexpected spell under the knife. To perk up our holiday party, I’ve decided to take it upon myself to bake Mamma’s Christmas cookies for her this year. Her traditional cut-outs have become legend ’round these parts, but last September I was lucky enough to work with McCormick spice company to shoot a web campaign for the nearly-here holiday season…and I picked up a few tips along the way. Press play on the video screen above to watch me bake off two versions of McCormick’s sugar cookie cut-outs. The interactive video let’s you choose between recipes for a rich, nutty flavored cookie made with almond extract, or classic vanilla cut-outs livened up with accents of cinnamon and nutmeg. Elbow deep in sugar and spice, it’s hard not to feel merry while singing carols with a piping bag in hand. Oh, and the professional food stylist’s on-set secret to perfect frosting that won’t smudge? Meringue powder. Who knew? Have a happy holiday Food Mavens, and Eat it Up!