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10 best international holiday cookies

Shake up your holiday cookie swap by making one of these international cookies.

We all have our perennial holiday cookie recipes that we love to bake, and eat. These dog-eared, butter-smudged and deeply loved recipes are part of what makes the nostalgia of the holidays so wonderful. It’s also fun to throw in something new – a new flavour, recipe or technique. From ELLE Gourmet Canada, and some of our other favourites bakers, here are ten delicious recipes from around the world to shake up your familiar cookie platter and enjoy over the holiday season.

1. Pierre Herme’s Viennese Shortbread

A dish of chocolate-dipped cookies on a wooden tray
Photography, Laurent Fau

Famous French pastry chef and chocolatier makes his decadent Viennese Shortbread for a festive treat. They are wonderfully crumbly and dipped in the highest quality dark chocolate. Some beautiful (and easy) piping work makes them a gorgeous cookie tray addition.

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2. Rugelach

Lines of small folded-pastry cookies on a drying rack

Who doesn’t love a good Rugelach? This recipe from The Kitchn walks you step-by-step through the whole process for a no-fail result, and gives lots of options for your rugelach filling. 

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3. Linzer Cookies

Sugar cookies filled with various-coloured shapes

Like a tiny, personalized Linzer Torte (originating in Linz, Austria), these delicate Linzer Cookies from Gimme Some Oven are soft and buttery and spread with a variety of jams that peek through the festive cookie window.

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4. Snowballs

A bowl filled with cookies tossed in powdered sugar

A very popular cookie with many origin stories. These Walnut Snowball Cookies from Simply Recipes are flavoured with walnut, but can be adapted to your favourite nut. These cookies are also known as Greek Kourabiedes and Russian Tea Cakes. The Mexican Wedging Cookie version is very similar but more typically uses pecans. All tossed in powdered sugar..delish!

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5. Chocolate Coconut Whoopie Pies

A dish with whoopie pie cookies

These throwback Chocolate Coconut Whoopie Pies from Michelle Rabin are a wonderful nod to the American holiday season and fill a soft baked chocolate cookie with cream cheese frosting and jam.

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6. Almond Crescent Cookies

A person holding a bowl with almond crescent cookies

Shaped in the traditional crescent shape of the Austrian yeasted bread “Kipferl”, these Almond Crescent Cookies (Kipferl Cookies) from A Beautiful Plate are buttery and delicate, loaded with almond and vanilla and tossed in sugar.

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7. Kolaczki

Cookies dusted with powdered sugar and filled with jam

These cookies have several origins, known both as the classic Polish holiday cookie the “Kolaczki” as well as the Hungarian “Kiffle”. This version from Momsdish is simple to make and comes together with just 5 ingredients.

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8. Meringue Cookies

A bowl of meringue cookies with pine tree needles visible overhead

Aimée Wimbush-Bourque of Simple Bites makes a myriad of delicious cookies, among them these irresistible Chocolate Swirl Meringue Cookies. This recipes uses French meringue, the easiest to make and bake, and her recipe includes lots of flavour variations.

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9. Mammal

A dish with sugar-dusted cookies and walnuts

Stuffed with either nuts or dates, Maamoul is a semolina-based cookie rooted in the traditions and cultures of many Middle Eastern cuisines. With lovely notes of orange blossom, a press is traditionally used to create the pattern on top of these crispy cookies, however Yumna of Feel Good Foodie walks us through how to make them if you can’t find a press.

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10. Spritz Cookie

A drying rack with cookies and a small white bowl of icing

These lovely spiced Cinnamon Spritz Cookies from Recipe Runner are reminiscent of snickerdoodles…but in holiday form! The Spritz cookie has its origins in Germany and is typically made using a cookie press or piping bag.

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