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10 Delicious Cookie Recipes From Around The World

Who's ready for a cookie world tour? <hands up and waving wildly>

Erica Silverstein · about 1 month ago

  • cooking
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Katiebird Bakes

When Cookie Monster is at home, he gobbles up chocolate chip cookies — because they’re the most popular cookie in America. But when he travels abroad, he likes to sample traditional cookies from around the world. He’ll munch a maamoul in the Middle East, or savor a sylvana in the Philippines.

Interested in how the cookies crumble in countries around the world? Branch out in your at-home baking with these popular cookie recipes from around the world. (One surprising theme we couldn't help but notice in researching cookies from different countries: A noticeable lack of chocolate! But don't let that stop you from trying new tastes...Chocolate chip cookies sure aren't going anywhere here at home in the U.S.)

1. Alfajores (Argentina)

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Vintage Kitchen Notes

Alfajores are South American sandwich cookies filled with dulce de leche (caramel’s south-of-the-border cousin). They’re popular in Peru and Uruguay, but Argentina claims them as their own. Two versions compete for cookie supremacy: cornstarch shortbread alfajores rolled in coconut and vanilla cookies dipped in dark chocolate. Perhaps an Argentinian-style bake-off is the activity your weekend didn’t know it needed. 

2. Torcetti (Italy)

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An Italian in My Kitchen

These twist cookies from the north of Italy have a surprise ingredient: yeast. That means you’ll need to set aside time to let the cookie dough rise before you twist it into teardrop shapes, roll in cane sugar, and bake. This torcetti recipe from An Italian in My Kitchen claims these biscotti may be eaten for breakfast, so blame her when Mom or Dad complains that you’re eating cookies before school.

3. Mbatata (Malawi)

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Curious Cuisiniere

Sweet potatoes are a staple ingredient in Malawi, in southeastern Africa, so it’s not surprising that some inspired chef figured out how to turn sweet potatoes into cookies. Mbatata are soft and cakelike, flavored with cinnamon, and dotted with cookie-controversial raisins. (You either love ‘em or hate ‘em, amiright?) Honor Malawi’s claim to fame as the “warm heart of Africa” by cutting your mbatata cookies into heart shapes. 

4. Kolaczki (Poland)

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Polish Housewife

The Polish kolaczki are beloved throughout Eastern Europe — and soon will be at your house, too. Cream cheese dough meets jam filling to create these folded fruity, buttery cookies, traditionally served at Christmastime. (They may also remind you of a cross between a hamantaschen and a rugelach.) Make your own favorite filling flavor when you try this kolaczki recipe from the Polish Housewife.

5. Besitos de Coco (Puerto Rico)

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My Stay-at-Home Adventures

We think coconut kisses are the sweetest name for a cookie that is essentially a coconut macaroon. Besitos de coco are one of the most popular cookies in Puerto Rico, if not in all of Latin America, and everyone has their own version of this traditional dessert. The flourless coconut cookies are a great choice for family baking experiments because they need only three or four ingredients and have no tricky instructions.

6. Ghriba (Morocco

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Maroc Mama

Moroccans go nuts for ghriba, an almond cookie with a cracked, crunchy outside and chewy inside. Recipe variations are endless, and can sub in other nuts or sesame seeds and be rolled in powdered sugar. Maroc Mama has created gluten-free versions of the traditional cookies; the lemon vanilla almond ghriba is classic, but you can experiment with her pistachio rosewater or sesame ginger almond ghriba if you’re feeling adventurous.

7. Lebkuchen (Germany)

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Daring Gourmet

Lebkuchen might be the holy grail of cookies. The monks who invented the spiced nut cookies in 14th-century Nuremberg, Germany, used symbolic ingredients (including communion wafers) in their baking and claimed the treats had healing powers. According to the Daring Gourmet, lebkuchen can be a pain to make without access to German ingredients, but we’d do a lot for a dessert that’s dipped in chocolate yet supposedly healthy.

8. Maamoul (Middle East)

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The Delicious Crescent

Folks across the Middle East might not always agree on religion and politics, but they all share a love of maamoul cookies. The nut- or date-filled shortbread cookies are enjoyed by Christians on Easter, by Muslims for Eid and Ramadan, and by Jews on Purim and Hanukkah. Maamoul come in different shapes from flat discs to round balls. Try the Delicious Crescent’s recipe for date-filled cookies made with regular flour instead of semolina. 

9. Sylvanas (Philippines)

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Foxy Folksy

What do Filipinos sneak from the fridge when no one’s looking? Sylvanas. The cookie of choice in the Philippines, this sandwich cookie is a mix of meringue and ground cashews, with buttercream as the creamy middle, that’s rolled in cookie or cake crumbs. Sylvanas are best when chilled, and it’s hard to stop at just one. We recommend hiding them in the back of the fridge, or booby trapping the box to keep prying parents and siblings out of your sylvanas. 

10. Anzac Biscuits (Australia/New Zealand)

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Katiebird Bakes

Anzac biscuits are buttery, chewy oatmeal cookies with competing origin stories. All agree they date to WWI, when the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (initials ANZAC — get it?) was formed. Sources disagree as to whether the hardy cookies were invented to send to soldiers because they wouldn’t go bad on Navy transport ships, or whether they were made and sold by local families to raise money for the war effort. Either way, the iconic cookies from Down Under are decidedly delicious — even more so if you can score some of their secret British-baking ingredient: golden syrup.