Three Classes to Get You in the Mood for Holiday Baking

The holidays are about family, friends, and of course, food. At this time of year, our rolling pins see more wear, our ovens get more use, and our sugar cravings grow with each passing day. Whether you're hoping to gain a few skills or are simply seeking another excuse to bake, these three holiday classes will give you homework you can really sink your teeth into.

Make & Take: Holiday Cookies
Where: SF Cooking School, 690 Van Ness, 346-2665
When: Thursday, Dec. 12, 6-10 p.m.
Cost: $160, tickets available on the SF Cooking School website
The rundown: In this technique-driven class you will learn everything from differences in dough to proper cookie storage. You will prepare enough different kinds to suit every sweet-seeking Santa: chewy chocolate cookies, apricot empanaditas, lemon bars, gingerbread cookies, peanut butter thumbprints, red velvet-peppermint whoopie pies, and more. Bonus: They will be serving the only thing that makes cookie-eating even sweeter ... wine.

Holiday Candies and Confections
Where: Sur la Table, 2224 Union, 318-8116
When: Saturday, Dec. 21. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Cost: $69, tickets available on Sur La Table website
The rundown: Perhaps you are entirely cookie-d out, and you want to try your hand at some other holiday sweets. This class will demystify the daunting candy thermometer and show you how to make gift-worthy treats. You'll be stuffing your face with white chocolate, cranberry and pistachio bark, apple cider caramels, peppermint candy cane fudge, and English toffee. Hey, it's all in the name of learning.

Gingerbread House Decorating
Where: 18 Reasons, 3674 18th St., 568-2710
When: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Cost: $25 for 18 Reasons members; $35 for the general public; tickets available on Brown Paper Tickets
The rundown: Okay, this is more like an assembly course than a strict cooking course, but what's more festive than decorating a gingerbread house? Bring the kids (or just your own inner child) and create a centerpiece-worthy house. You will be provided with one homemade, unadorned house and all the trim and trappings you can dream of: candies, dried fruits, sanding sugars, sprinkles, home made cookies, and plenty of royal icing.

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