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         Most of us find ourselves with a bit of extra time around the holidays, and many of us spend that time celebrating with family. As these festive gatherings typically include savory and sweet treats, why not attend a local cooking class and gain some expertise on culinary creations fit for your Christmas and Hanukkah events? Or, take the whole family to a cooking class for a unique activity. All the supplies are included, and hey! You don’t have to clean up the mess.

Check out these holiday-themed cooking classes around Dallas and Fort Worth, and get your hands dirty in the kitchen this December!

Couples: New Year’s Eve Elegant Dinner Party at Central Market Fort Worth – For a romantic night out pre-New Years, head to the gourmet grocer and let the CM Cooking School teach you and your special someone how to make boneless leg of lamb with garlic, lemon and olive oil, roasted baby carrots, butternut squash soup and mocha pudding cakes so you can throw a top-notch NYE 2014 party. Adults only, $150 a couple and the class is from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 28. More information can be found here. (Hint: The Lovers Lane Central Market also offers a New Year’s Eve class, “Make & Take Home: New Years Dinner For Two” that teaches you how to make pan seared beef filets, potato gratin and crème brulee. More about that here.)

Delicious Handmade Gifts at Sur La Table – Nothing says “Merry Christmas” like a unique handmade gift. If you can eat it, even better! A chef from kitchenware retailer Sur La Table will teach you how to make four gifts by hand so that you can practice giving this season. Sneak peek of the items you’ll make? Homemade vanilla marshmallows, hot fudge sauce with peppermint and more. The class is 2.5 hours long and is for folks 18 and up. “Delicious Handmade Gifts” is $85 a head and is from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 22 at the Dallas location. More information can be found here.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Very Merry Ultimate Cookie Challenge at Central Market Fort Worth – This event for all ages is only $10 per person and includes hot cocoa and a chance to try the winning cookies from the newspaper’s last nine holiday reader cookie contests. Snack on everything from “apricot gems” to “toffee temptations” while supporting the Goodfellow Fund, which gives clothing and shoes to low-income kids in Tarrant County. The cookie challenge has three different sessions on Wednesday, Dec. 18. More information can be found here.

Holiday Breads at Central Market Dallas – Impress your family and friends with your mini-loaf of either cranberry-orange bread, eggnog rum glazed bread, banana spice muffins with walnut streusel, apple spice bread or fruitcake made at the “Holiday Breads” class. The CM Cooking School Staff will see to it that all participants (ages 18 and up) learn the techniques of baking these breads, and everyone will leave with a mini-loaf of each variety of bread. The class is $55 and will be held Saturday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m. More information can be found here.

Holiday Candies & Confections at Sur La Table – Can we all agree that there is seriously nothing better than homemade fudge at Christmastime? At this class, you’ll learn how to make peppermint fudge, English toffee, apple cider caramels and more as well as learn how to wrap them up for holiday gifting. For $69, you and your 18-and-older friends can attend this class from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Dec. 21 or 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 22. More information can be found here.

Holiday Cookies with King Arthur Flour at Sur La Table – Baking cookies is enough reason to get excited, but there’s something special about a Christmas cookie. Let King Arthur Flour teach you how to make the best holiday butter cookies from scratch, as well as almond bonbons, and more at this class for ages 15 and up. Take away fabulous baking techniques and make a morning of it on Dec. 14 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. More information can be found here.

Holiday Dinner 101 at Sur La Table – For folks ages 14 and older, come to this class to learn how to prepare beef wellington, roasted fingerling potatoes, chocolate mousse and more for $59 a person on Dec. 16 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. More information can be found here.

Holiday Gifts From the Kitchen at Central Market Dallas – You’ll leave this $60 class with beautiful homemade, edible gifts like mini gingerbread muffins and mini Christmas hand pies wrapped in a display basket that is sure to impress. This session is from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 12. More information can be found here.

Holiday Tenderloin at Central Market Fort Worth – The art of cooking the perfect beef tenderloin is a difficult one to master, but with the help of the CM Cooking School staff, you can do it! Additionally, you’ll learn how to make crab puffs, creamed spinach and to top it all off, a white chocolate pear bread pudding. The class is $70 a head and is from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 20. More information can be found here.

Ina Garten’s Easy Holiday Party at Sur La Table – I know I’m not the only one who sits on the couch for too long on Saturday mornings watching the Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. So, if you’re a fan like me, check out this class inspired by Ina Garten’s take on holiday party cuisine, and you’ll be an expert at making fabulous Hors d'oeuvres like jalapeno cheddar crackers and crab cakes with remoulade sauce. Plus, you’ll leave with a copy of her book “Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust.” This class is offered on Dec. 11, 20 and 22. More information can be found here.

Be sure to register for the class of your choice soon because registration for holiday courses fills up quickly. Bon appétit! 

Angela is an Aggie grad, thrilled to be working for BubbleLife covering the Park Cities, Preston Hollow, Lake Highlands and several other neighborhoods in the area. When she's not writing and reporting for BubbleLife, she contributes to TexasMonthly.com, MediaBistro.com, drinks lots of coffee, reads, and goes to concerts in Dallas. Angela has worked for CBS alum and legendary newsman Dan Rather, lived and worked in New York City, Austin, and Dallas, all before the age of 22. - Contact Angela at