It's that time of year. Sugar, flour, butter, and a festive dose of red and green food colorings combine to create bite-sized Christmas magic. For this week's Shooting Challenge, show us your baking and photography skills. Show us the cookies!

The Challenge

Take a photo of your holiday baked goods—cookies, gingerbread men, gingerbread houses, whatever! And as an added bonus, share the recipe if you would. (Old world grandma recipes count for double awesomeness.)

The Technique

If you're going to read one food photography tutorial after baking those cookies, make it this one from Lightstalking. But I'm going to boil down their 1000 or so words to the most important ones: Use natural light from a window for your shot. It's naturally diffused, and creates the ideal color balance.

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Aside from that, consider how you can cut the mess from your kitchen out of the shot. Consider sheets of parchment paper (which comes in white or a nice toast colored brown). Lay them right on top of the flour dust. Problem solved.

The Example

Our lead image, by Markus Spiske, is a gorgeous example of appetizing mess. I think the image works because those bright red jellies cut through the monochromatic backdrop. But in this sense, cookies make an ideal subject. They have the dazzle built right in.

The Rules

1. Submissions need to be your own.

2. Photos must be taken this holiday season.

3. Explain, briefly, the equipment, settings, technique and story behind shot.

4. Email submissions to contests@gizmodo.com, not me.

5. Include 970px wide image (200KB or less) AND a natively sized image in email. I know that your photo may not fall into those exact high rez dimensions, so whatever native resolution you're using is fine.

6. One submission per person.

7. Use the proper SUBJECT line in your email (more info on that below)

8. You agree to the Standard Contest Rules - though we DO accept non-US resident submissions.

9. If the image contains any material or elements that are not owned by you and/or which are subject to the rights of third parties, and/or if any persons appear in the image, you are responsible for obtaining, prior to submission of the photograph, any and all releases and consents necessary to permit the exhibition and use of the image in the manner set forth in these rules without additional compensation. If any person appearing in any image is under the age of majority in their state/province/territory of residence the signature of a parent or legal guardian is required on each release.

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Send your best photo by Monday, December 15th at 10 AM Eastern to contests@gizmodo.com with "Cookies" in the subject line. Save your files as JPGs, and use a FirstnameLastnameCookies.jpg (970px wide) and FirstnameLastnameCookiesWallpaper.jpg (2560px wide) naming conventions.