Holiday cookies are predictable. So this year, let the traditional gingerbread and Linzer cookies make way for a more exciting mix, featuring unexpected flavor combinations, subtle sour notes, and dynamic textures that will set your cookie tins apart. Whether you look back to the European origin of the cookie, or a search for shortcuts with, say, a loose interpretation (read drop cookie instead of cut) of a Swiss classic or an unorthodox one-bowl mixing method, we’ve got an array of recipes that will make you forget all about that boring old shortbread.
Gingerbread Pepper Cookies (Pierniki)
Infuse dark honey with spices for a toothsome cookie that can be rolled in turbinado sugar or drizzled with espresso glaze.
Sour Cherry Rugelach
With a cardamom-inflected dough that’s folded three times for puff pastry-like lightness, this is what we call next-level rugelach.
Rosemary-Pine Nut Cookies
Inspired by a hazelnut-rosemary biscotti from Claudia Fleming, the former pastry chef of New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, this cookie has savory notes that make it a great match for a cheese plate, perfect at any stage of your holiday party.
Triple-Chocolate Almond Cookies
Almond butter is the secret weapon here that keeps these cookies almost brownie-like in texture. Even better, they mix up all in one bowl, making cleanup practically effortless.
Spiced Citrus-Plum Linzer Cookiers
In place of the traditional almonds, these Linzer cookies are made with hazelnuts, which lend a rich flavor that stands up to the jam filling.
Spiced Orange Shortbread
Ground coriander and freshly grated orange zest turn simple buttery shortbread into a festive cookie fit for the season.
Swedish Ginger Snaps (Pepparkakor)
Ground dry ginger is all well and fine, but here, the addition of fresh ginger, black pepper and cayenne (optional but we recommend) make for a much more dynamic ginger snap.
These crumbly cookies known by different names around the world (Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, snowballs…) get an upgrade with semolina flour and walnuts that have been toasted for a rounder, more complex flavor.
Maple-Glazed Hermits with Cranberries
All hermit cookies should be moist and chewy. Our version, shaped into rounds instead of bars, is drizzled with a maple syrup glaze that puts it a cut above the rest.
Venetian Cornmeal and Currant Cookies (Zaletti)
These crispy Italian cookies traditionally contain fruit that’s been soaked in grappa, but here, we’ve swapped in orange liqueur, which is matched by sweet orange zest.