While others think of notebooks and pencils (or Zoom and computers) post-Labor Day, we in Taste have a different focus: We’re all about the cookies. Yes, it’s that time when we kick off our annual Star Tribune Holiday Cookie Contest, now in its 18th year.

Can your favorite sweet win the grand prize? Only one way to find out.

We’re looking for cookies that are new to most bakers, whether you’ve created your own, redone a family specialty or been inspired by recipes elsewhere. Please credit any source and tell us the story behind your cookie or baking experience.

Avoid the classics — spritz or cutouts, and the like — as most bakers already have those options in hand. Check out our archive of our past 87 finalists at startribune.com/cookies to avoid entering ones similar to those that have been featured in the past.

Fame lands on the shoulders of the winner and four finalists. Once again those five highly anticipated recipes will appear in the Star Tribune in early December and will become part of our online archive. The grand prize is a $200 gift certificate to a kitchen specialty store.

Deadline: This is critical. Send your recipe, your name, daytime phone number, e-mail address and street address so the entry arrives by noon on Oct. 8.

At that time, we drop everything and immediately go through the recipes to pick out the cookies to test. Do not wait until the last minute to mail your entry or it may arrive after our choices have been made. Photos help us picture your cookies as we page through the many entries.

Send to: For e-mail, it’s taste@startribune.com and please indicate “Cookie Contest” in the message field. For snail mail, address the envelope to Holiday Cookie Contest, Star Tribune, 650 3rd Av. S., Suite 1300, Minneapolis, MN 55488.

Happy baking.