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40 Unique Christmas Cookies from Around the World

Take inspiration from traditional Christmas desserts from around the world and bake up a batch of Italian, German, Swedish, French and more unique Christmas cookies

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Norway: RosettesTaste of Home

Norway: Rosettes

These traditional deep-fried favorites are crisp and delicious with a delicate, lacy look. Dipping the edges into icing helps defines the beautiful pattern. —Iola Egle, Bella Vista, Arkansas

Check out these delicious chocolate desserts from around the world.

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Poland: Kolaczky

These sweet pastries have Polish and Czech roots and can also be spelled “kolaches.” They are usually filled with poppy seeds, nuts, jam or a mashed fruit mixture. The ice cream is a unique twist on traditional kolachkes, and it’s simplest to use a square cookie cutter to cut the dough. —Diane Turner, Brunswick, Ohio

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Italy: Chocolate Almond Pizzelles

If you love fun baking gadgets, you’ll enjoy making these crispy, almond-flavored cookies, which get their unique waffle design from a pizzelle maker. They bake up golden brown in only a few minutes. Feel free to double the chocolate drizzle if you’d like to cover the cookies more generously. —Hannah Riley, Norwalk, Ohio

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Cyprus: MelomakaronaTaste of Home

Cyprus: Melomakarona

Growing up in Cyprus, we would see this melomakarona cookie everywhere during the holidays. Every year my mother, Thelma, would make plate after plate of these all Christmas long. It’s just not the holidays without them. —Paris Paraskeva, San Francisco, California

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Austria: Linzer Cookies

Austria: Linzer Cookies

This specialty cookie takes a little extra effort, but the results are sweet! They really help to make the holidays feel special. —Jane Pearcy, Verona, Wisconsin

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Russia: Tea CakesTaste of Home

Russia: Tea Cakes

I like to present my favorite holiday cookies in a special way. I pile these fresh-baked tea cakes on pretty plates that I buy throughout the year, then wrap them with colored cellophane to give friends. —Valerie Hudson, Mason City, Iowa

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Norway: Whipped Cream KrumkakeTaste of Home

Norway: Whipped Cream Krumkake

Our hometown has a rich Norwegian culture. That heritage is evident during our annual Nordic Fest, where this classic krumkake recipe is king. Here’s your introduction to the timeless treat. —Imelda Nesteby, Decorah, Iowa

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France: MacaronsTaste of Home

France: Macarons

Even decorated simply—a sprinkle of sugar, a drizzle of icing—these stylish beauties are part of our creative Christmas cookies collection. They will be the showstoppers on any cookie tray. —Josh Rink, Photo Stylist Taste of Home

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Scotland: ShortbreadTaste of Home

Scotland: Shortbread

Scottish settlers first came to this area over 150 years ago. My mother herself was Scottish, and—as with most of my favorite recipes—she passed this shortbread recipe on to me. I make a triple batch of it each year at Christmas, to enjoy and as gifts. —Rose Mabee, Selkirk, Manitoba

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Italy: FlorentinesTaste of Home

Italy: Florentines

Filled with fruit, nuts, chocolate and loads of flavor, these traditional Italian treats hit the spot. We enjoy them at Christmas with a hot beverage.

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Sicily: TorcettiTaste of Home

Sicily: Torcetti

Our Sicilian grandmother often had my sister and me roll out the dough for these tasty torcetti. Their melt-in-your-mouth goodness is delicious without being overly sweet.—Joy Quici, Upland, California

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Sweden: Pepparkakor

Making Swedish pepparkakor—or gingerbread cookies—is a holiday tradition in our family. I entered these at the Iowa State Fair and took home a blue ribbon.—Kathleen Olesen, Des Moines, IA

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The Netherlands: Dutch Speculaas

These Dutch spice cookies taste similar to the windmill cookies we enjoy in the United States. In Holland, it’s tradition to mold the dough into the shape of St. Nicholas and serve the baked cookies on Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Day). —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Italy: Horn CookiesTaste of Home

Italy: Horn Cookies

My family has been making these delicate fruit-filled Christmas cookies for generations. Light and flaky, they have the look of elegant pastry. —Gloria Siddiqui, Houston, Texas

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Ukraine: KhrustykyTaste of Home

Ukraine: Khrustyky

This crispy, dainty pastry dusted with confectioners’ sugar has an eggy flavor similar to cream puffs. I honor my Ukrainian heritage by serving khrustyky on Christmas Eve as part of the traditional feast of 12 dishes. Each dish symbolizes one of the apostles. —Carol Funk, Richard, Saskatchewan

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Eastern Europe: Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot Cookies

Mandelbrot in Yiddish literally means “almond bread.” The twice-baked cookie made with oil and almonds dates back to 19th century Eastern Europe. There are many variations made of different dried fruits and nuts. My chocolate chip version is more modern-American. —Kimberly Scott, Kosciusko, Mississippi

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Malawi: Sweet Potato Spice CookiesTaste of Home

Malawi: Sweet Potato Spice Cookies

Shredded sweet potatoes, butterscotch chips, pecans, coconut and spices are creatively combined in a one-of-a-kind cookie that always brings rave reviews. —Ruth Shaffer, Elizabethville, Pennsylvania

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Norway: Sandbakkelse

Translated from Norwegian, the name of these cookies is “‘sand tarts.” They’re most attractive if baked in authentic sandbakkelse molds, which can be purchased online or in a Scandinavian import shop. Most any decorative cookie mold will do, though, and the interesting shapes will make these tarts the focus of your cookie tray. —Karen Hoylo, Duluth, Minnesota

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Sweden: Almond RusksTaste of Home

Sweden: Almond Rusks

Not too sweet, these nutty, crunchy cookies go well with a cup of hot coffee…and travel well in care packages, too!

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Mexico: Mexican Wedding CakesTaste of Home

Mexico: Mexican Wedding Cakes

As part of a Mexican tradition, I tucked these tender cookies into small gift boxes for the guests at my sister’s wedding a few years ago. Most folks gobbled them up before they ever got home! —Sarita Johnston, San Antonio, Texas

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Russia: PryanikiThe musical "Waitress"

Russia: Pryaniki

These old-fashioned honey cookies have a subtle honey-cinnamon flavor and a tender texture. This recipe has been a favorite in my family for years and now it can be one at your house, too. —Rochelle Friedman, Brooklyn, New York

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Mexico: Reganadas

My extended family shares a meal every Sunday. The aunts and uncles take turns bringing everything from main dishes to desserts like this traditional Mexican cinnamon cookie called reganadas. —Adan Franco, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Hungary: Walnut CookiesTaste of Home

Hungary: Walnut Cookies

As a child, I always looked forward to eating these goodies at Christmastime. Now I make them for my own family. —Sharon Kurtz, Emmaus, Pennsylvania

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Germany: Glazed PfeffernuesseTaste of Home

Germany: Glazed Pfeffernuesse

Our version of the classic German cookie is nice to have on hand throughout the holiday season. They stay fresh—and become more intense in flavor—when stored in an airtight container for weeks. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Greece: Koulouakia

Koulourakia are a traditional treat in Greece, where they are usually made for Easter and other celebrations. I enjoy making these buttery, golden Greek cookies to keep me in touch with my heritage. —Nicole Moskou, New York, New York

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Finland: Pinwheels

Finland: Pinwheels

When my sister was hosting an exchange student from Finland, she served these cookies I’d made to her guest. The young lady instantly recognized what they were. So I know they’re still being made in our ancestors’ country. —Ilona Barron, Ontonagon, Michigan

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Bolivia: Supspiros

Want to learn how to make meringues? These meringue cookies are super light and airy. They’re the perfect fat-free treat. —Jenni Sharp, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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Italy: Sprinkle Cookies

Of all the Italian cookie recipes I make, this is my favorite. These sprinkle cookies take some time, but, believe me, they are well worth it! My husband and I used to operate an Italian American restaurant, and this recipe goes back generations. —Gloria Cracchiolo, Newburgh, New York

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Germany: Chocolate Linzer Torte StarsTaste of Home

Germany: Chocolate Linzer Torte Stars

Wanting a treat that tastes like traditional linzer torte without the time commitment, I came up with these simple, sensational cookies. They have the nuts and chocolate with a filling of bright raspberry preserves—festive enough for any holiday gathering. —Edwina Gadsby, Hayden, Idaho

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Greece: KourambiethesTaste of Home

Greece: Kourambiethes

My daughter-in-law gave me this recipe. Her grandmother was born in Greece and bakes these cookies for special occasions, including Christmas.—Carol Dale, Greenville, Texas

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China: Almond Ginger CookiesTaste of Home

China: Almond Ginger Cookies

Think outside the box this season and enjoy these traditional Chinese cookies, each one topped with an almond slice. —Shirley Warren, Thiensville, Wisconsin

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Sicily: CuccidatiTaste of Home

Sicily: Cuccidati

The compliments are well worth making these Sicilian cookies—they’re the best recipe I’ve found! —Carolyn Fafinski, Dunkirk, New York

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Mexico: Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cakes

Mexico: Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cakes

These spiced balls are a yummy twist on a traditional favorite. Sometimes I add mini chocolate chips to the dough and, after baking, dip the cooled cookies in melted almond bark. —Joanne Valkema, Freeport, Illinois

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Eastern Europe: Apricot Raisin RugelachTaste of Home

Eastern Europe: Apricot Raisin Rugelach

Rugelach is a classic addition to holiday trays. The flaky, buttery pastry slices encase a spiced fruit and walnut filling. —Laurie Klett, Hamilton, Michigan

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Switzerland: ZimtsterneTaste of Home

Switzerland: Zimtsterne

During December, homes and bakeries in Switzerland are filled with the aroma of classic cookies like these “Zimtsterne.” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Italy: Strufoli

Italy: Strufoli

Many of our holiday traditions center around the foods my mother made while I was growing up. These cookies, which we called “Strufoli”, bring back wonderful memories. —Sue Seymour, Valatie, New York

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Austria: Nut CookiesTaste of Home

Austria: Nut Cookies

These are my family’s favorite Christmas cookies. If you arrange the slivered almonds in pinwheel fashion, the cookie looks like a poinsettia. —Marianne Weber, South Beach, Oregon

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Italy: Lemon CookiesTaste of Home

Italy: Lemon Cookies

Christmas wouldn’t be the same without my grandmother’s cookies. A plate full of these light and zesty cookies is divine!—Elisabeth Miller, Broadview Heights, Ohio

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Germany: Chocolate LebkuchenTaste of Home

Germany: Chocolate Lebkuchen

Having lived in Germany, I try to keep my German cooking as authentic as possible. This lovely lebkuchen recipe is a culinary Christmas custom. —Cathy Lemmon, Quinlan, Texas

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South Africa: Chocolaty Double CrunchersTaste of Home

South Africa: Chocolaty Double Crunchers

I first tried these fun crispy cookies at a family picnic when I was a child. Packed with oats, cornflakes and coconut, they quickly became a “regular” at our house. Years later, I still make them for my own family. —Cheryl Johnson, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an associate editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.

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