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Holiday Cookies from Around the World

Havreflarn! Pfeffernüsse! Chin Chin! Global culture never tasted so sweet.

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Baking with our families makes some of best holiday memories—but why stop with the familiar? This holiday baking season, make a few new family memories by exploring cookie recipes from around the world, making the most of your spice cabinet, and experimenting with new textures and tools.

Havreflarn (oat crisp cookies from Sweden)

We love the crispy, toffee-like edges of these sweet, lacy treats—and the fact that they’re made from only five ingredients. A traditional cookie dating back centuries, you’ll often find havreflarn drizzled with chocolate, sandwiched together with a chocolate filling, served alongside a few other Scandinavian cookies, or enjoyed solo with a mug during “fika,” the traditional Swedish coffee break.

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Naan Khatai (shortbread cookies from India and Pakistan)

We love these cardamom-spiced, eggless cookies as an unexpected start to the winter baking marathon. There are versions made with almonds, pistachios, and cashews—so feel free to sub in your favorite nuts or seeds to make them your own.

Pfeffernüsse (iced spice cookies from Germany)

Alllllllll the holiday spices in one cookie? Sign us up. The traditional blend of spices, known as lebkuchengewürz in German, combines ground cinnamon, star anise, clove, cardamom, ginger, and mace. For an extra-fragrant cookie, break out the spice grinder and start with whole spices.

Alfajores (dulce de leche shortbread cookie sandwiches from South America)

Popular in Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador, Chile, Paraguay, Peru, and Brazil, these South American sweets combine the joy of stamping out shortbread cookies with your trusty cookie cutter, smearing them with homemade or store-bought dulce de leche, and smooshing them together into sandwiches dusted with powdered sugar. Yum.

Chin Chin (fried Christmas cookies from Nigeria)

Served throughout West Africa in endless variations, these tiny, crunchy cookies will bring the whole family around the kitchen table to assemble the dough, slice it into long strips, cut it into squares, and fry it on the stovetop—a cookie-making method still used where many families don’t have an oven in the kitchen.

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