Inventing a truly great cookie requires a kind of genius. Baking talent Flo Braker shares some of her best Christmas cookies with Food & Wine.

"I'm part witch when it comes to baking," says Flo Braker, author of four books and a teacher for more than 30 years. "I bake late, late in the night. The grandkids are asleep, the phones don't ring and there are no interruptions…it's just me in the kitchen." A master of classic American desserts, she's also an innovator who glazes flaky espresso shortbread bars with sticky butterscotch and rethinks holiday flavors (cinnamon, allspice, clove, hazelnut, chocolate) to create a stellar sandwich cookie. Her new Baking For All Occasions reveals her wisdom and creativity.