When it comes to cookies, why play it safe? Rather than disappoint at the annual cookie party with yet another batch of chocolate chip cookies, stand out from the crowd with some of our favorite cookies that’ll have you baking a little outside of the box.


What could make crisp, buttery shortbread even better? The addition of brown sugar and warm spices like cinnamon, coriander and allspice. The beauty of this dough is that once rolled out, it can take on any shape - the satisfying snap you crave in a shortbread stays the same.

Sour Cherry Rugelach

Rugelach are pastry-like cookies that feature a rich, tender dough wrapped around a dried fruit filling. In our version, the dough is spiced with fragrant cardamom and “folded” three times (as you would puff pastry) to create delicate flakiness. Many fruit filling combinations would work with this dough, but we prefer the sweet-tartness of sour cherries and apricot preserves.

Chocolate Meringue Cookies

If ever there were a perfect cookie, this would be it. Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside, rich and chocolate-y, yet still super airy, these flourless chocolate cookies rely on whipped egg whites for their structure. A fudgy, textural triumph.

Australian Oat-Coconut Cookies (Anzac)

Turn back time all the way to World War I-era Australia and New Zealand with these coconut-forward oatmeal cookies, commonly referred to as Anzac biscuits. Most oatmeal cookies are chewy almost to the point of gumminess, but these maintain a perfectly pleasant consistency with the help of shredded coconut, which adds texture without extra weight. While the original recipe calls for golden syrup - a hard-to-find sweetener in the U.S. - honey and dark brown sugar are good stand-ins. For the perfect chew (even after cooling), keep the baking time to precisely 10 minutes.

Peanut Butter-Miso Cookies

We see your classic peanut butter cookie and we raise you the grown-up version, full of complexity thanks to an unconventional ingredient in baked goods: white miso. These sweet, salty, chewy, crunchy cookies will have your tasters intrigued by the irresistible new flavor they just can’t quite put their finger on.

Venetian Cornmeal and Currant Cookies (Zaletti)

Crisp, buttery and better than often too-hard biscotti. That’s zaletti, venetian cornmeal cookies traditionally studded with raisins or currants. The dried fruit usually is first plumped in grappa, a spicy Italian brandy, but we opted instead to use orange liqueur for its more nuanced flavor.

Spiced Citrus-Plum Linzer Cookies

It’s hard to improve such a perfect holiday cookie like the linzer, but we found one simple ingredient to be a total game-changer: hazelnuts. Traditional Austrian linzer cookies call for almonds in the dough, but we found woody, nutty hazelnuts give the cookies an even more pronounced flavor. We love the seasonal addition (not to mention beautiful deep color) of plum jam, taken up a notch with a few warm spices and fresh citrus zest.

Dried Cherry Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Rich, fudgy, super chocolate-y cookies get a big boost of flavor from one unexpected ingredient - balsamic vinegar! A quick re-hydration of dried cherries in 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (the higher quality, the better) punctuates the cookies with bites of tangy, fruity flavor that offsets the richness of the butter, sugar and dark chocolate.

Chewy Molasses Spice Cookies with Browned Butter Icing

Everyone loves a vintage recipe, and this one for super soft, cake-like cookies likely dates back to the 19th century. Spiced with cinnamon and ground ginger and made with just 4 tablespoons of butter, their flavor is mostly about the bittersweet, subtly smoky notes of molasses. And don’t forget the luxurious browned butter icing!

Spiced Orange Shortbread

Perfect for dipping in a warm cuppa, this simple shortbread features ground coriander and freshly grated orange zest, flavors that pair beautifully with butter and sugar and give off an irresistible fragrance. Fans of math and uniformity will love this recipe - you’ll need a ruler and metal bench scraper for shaping the dough into a perfect rectangle before baking.

BONUS: If You Really MUST Have Chocolate Chip Cookies...Add Rye

Rye Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe is inspired by a cookie we had at Claire Ptak’s Violet bakery in London. Rye is slightly bitter and savory, and makes the perfect counterpoint for the sugary high notes of a chocolate chip cookie. A touch of molasses deepened the flavor and added an extra bit of bitterness. Since these cookies continue to firm up while cooling, we recommend checking them early while baking and aiming for a slight under-bake.

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