Holiday cookies for a cause

Allrecipes.com, a Reader's Digest Association (RDA) brand, and the world's number one food site, announces Cookies Across America, a program created to mobilize Allrecipes' passionate community of more than 20 million home cooks to decorate and donate cookies through a partnership with Crisco, one of America's leading producers of cooking oils, shortening and no-stick cooking sprays, and Drop In & Decorate, a national non-profit organization dedicated to providing joy and hope with decorated cookie donations. The program is focused on spreading the sweet joy of cookies to those in need this holiday season. With a collection of more than 5,000 cookie recipes and a live how-to cookie webcast, Allrecipes is making sharing easy and fun.

According to a recent survey from Allrecipes, 84 percent of home cooks plan to bake cookies this holiday season, and 76 percent feel it's important for kids to have holiday memories such as baking holiday cookies.

"In December, cookie recipe views surge 400 percent, proving that cookies play an integral role in family holiday traditions," said Lisa Sharples, president of Allrecipes. "We believe sharing gifts of food to those less fortunate is a fantastic way to spread holiday cheer. Our partnership with Crisco and Drop In & Decorate reminds us how something as simple as a home baked cookie can make a positive impact in someone's life."

"Crisco is pleased to be celebrating this holiday cookie season with Allrecipes.com," said Maribeth Badertscher, Vice President, Corporate Communications, The J.M. Smucker Company. "With so many reasons to bake for family and friends, we look forward to helping everyone bake cookies that make every day a special occasion."

Drop In & Decorate
Anyone can host a Drop In & Decorate party — simply bake some cookies, invite friends or family (or neighbors or co-workers) to stop in and help decorate, and then donate the cookies to a local food pantry, emergency shelter, or other community agency meeting the basic human needs of food or shelter.

To date, Drop In & Decorate events have taken place in 33 states as well as in Canada, Germany, India, Japan, and the Dominican Republic — and more than 20,000 cookies have found their way to 116 different social-service agencies.

"We are excited to reach even more people in need this holiday season, as this partnership with Allrecipes and Crisco connects us to such a robust and active cooking community," says Lydia Walshin, founder of Drop In & Decorate. "After all, these are more than cookies. They're an individual gift. They're a piece of someone's heart and soul. They reflect someone's very best intentions."

For more information on how to host a Drop In & Decorate event, visit http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/Cookies-Across-America, or tune in to watch a special episode of Allrecipes.com What's Cooking?, where host Michael Ketchum visits Drop In & Decorate parties around the country. The webisode will air at http://allrecipes.tv/whatscooking on Thursday, Dec. 2 at 11 a.m. PT.

Participants can also share their stories on the Allrecipes Facebook page, for a chance to win a prize in the Cookies Across America Sweepstakes beginning Dec. 6 and ending Dec. 31.

CookieCast
Burning cookie questions...or just burning cookies? Allrecipes is hosting its first LIVE Cookies Across America Webcast sponsored by Crisco on Saturday, December 11, 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. PST at http://allrecipes.tv/live. Allrecipes staff members will answer live questions, and prepare classic, easy cookies for the family — everything from sugar cookies to kid-friendly cookies. Allrecipes will also share tips on how to give cookies as gifts and how to ship them properly.

For additional cookie resources on Allrecipes.com, check out Allrecipes' 12th annual Christmas Cookie Countdown at http://allrecipes.com/Features/Countdowns/cookie.aspx, which features holiday cookie recipes daily on the site for the 25 days leading up to Christmas.