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    In a year when everyone can use a little cheer, a cookie can be soothing

    Peppermint-swirl meringue kisses
    Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe
    Peppermint-swirl meringue kisses

    Sometimes a cookie is more than just a cookie. It’s a quiet afternoon mixing and baking with the music on and the sun setting earlier than you imagined. It’s a house that smells like gingerbread spices and sugar for days after you clean sprinkles off the kitchen floor. It’s a moment late at night when everyone else is sleeping and you sneak something sweet from the tin because you want — no, need — this tiny comfort. Here are the cookies in our mixing bowls this season, simple versions of grand little confections to serve, wrap as gifts, or keep for yourself. In a year when everyone can use a little cheer, a cookie can be soothing. Go ahead and steal a few of your own when the day demands it.

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    Sheryl Julian can be reached at sheryl.julian@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @sheryljulian.