By ELIZABETH GOLDEN

egolden@dailynews.net

Dani Phillips, originally from Hays, grew up loving to bake.

She started watching her mom in the kitchen at a young age and started experimenting with her own recipes in high school. She observed a family friend who made the "best" chocolate chip cookies.

In 2010, she needed inexpensive Christmas presents due to a tight budget.

"I thought, 'What could I do to make Christmas special?' " Phillips said. "I had never made sugar cookies, so I gave it a try, tinkered with the recipe a bit because I wanted them to be thick and chewy."

After receiving compliments from friends and family, she created a website dedicated to selling her cookies. Dani'z Sugar Cookies and Goodies was born.

"I couldn't believe how many orders I was getting," she said. "I was just having fun, and it turned into sales."

She prides herself on frosting the entire cookie and giving it the right amount of crunch.

Phillips, who hopes to return to Hays soon from Carnegie, Okla., is getting ready to open her first store and has expanded her business to include candy, doughnuts and other goodies.

For more information, contact Phillips at danizsugarcookies@gmail.com.