23 Delicious and Impressive Recipes for Your Next Cookie Swap

These recipes taste as good as they look.

three variations of lamington thumbprint cookies
Photo: Chris Simpson

Hosting or attending a cookie exchange (or swap) party is a time-honored holiday tradition. You bake a few dozen of your favorite cookies and get to take home several different types of treats in return. Gathering friends and family together for one of these parties is also a great chance to catch up, build community, and get creative in the kitchen.

Whether you are a veteran of the cookie swap or a first timer, there are a range of recipes in this collection right for you. Those who are going to their very first cookie exchange should know the unwritten rule of these swaps: First and foremost, the cookies should not only taste good, but they need to have a polished presentation, too. Save the homely-looking cookies for Santa's plate and go for the gold with any of the recipes here.

01 of 23

Stained-Glass Sugar Cookies

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies
Romulo Yanes

You'll dazzle your cookie swap recipients with these surprisingly easy sugar cookies which can be created in several stained-glass-inspired colorways.

02 of 23

Chocolate-Peanut-Butter-Caramel Cereal Bars

chocolate-peanut-butter-caramel cereal bars topped with flaky sea salt
Nico Schinco

Different and delicious, these bar cookies look like a million dollars but are easy to make—and no-bake to boot. The base is crispy rice cereal and marshmallow; then comes a layer of peanut-butter caramel and a chocolate-shell topping.

03 of 23

Tropical Fruit Biscotti

tropical fruit biscotti
Alpha Smoot

A departure from traditional Italian biscotti, this twice-baked treat has bright pockets of papaya and candied ginger that flavor every crunchy bite.

04 of 23

Noel Nut Balls

holiday handbook 2011 noel nut
Joseph De Leo

Whether you call them snowballs, Russian tea cakes, Mexican wedding cookies, or noel nut balls, no cookie collection would be complete without this melt-in-your-mouth confection.

05 of 23

Bacon Potato-Chip Chocolate Cookie


With bacon and potato chips in the mix, these sweet-and-salty treats really need no further introduction and will be the talk of this year's cookie swap.

06 of 23

Meyer-Lemon Shortbread Wreath Cookies

meyer-lemon shortbread wreath cookies
Mikkel Vang

These wreath cookies look spectacular arranged on a platter. The best part? This on-theme Christmas cookie is made from buttery shortbread dough and is painted with a bright lemony glaze.

07 of 23

Hazelnut Tri-Color Cookies

hazelnut tri-color cookies
Alpha Smoot

Do you love a good baking project? Look no further than these festive layer cookies inspired by the rainbow cookie. Containing three layers of raspberry, pistachio, and hazelnut cookies, there's no denying that they'll take most of an afternoon to make—but the payoff is worth it.

08 of 23

Iced Chocolate Waffle Cookies

Iced Chocolate Waffle Cookies

Is your waffle maker underused at the moment? Spread this cinnamon-spiked chocolate batter on the grates and wait for it to turn into crisp cookies with a design that will make people wonder how you pulled it off!

09 of 23

Lamington Thumbprint Cookies

three variations of lamington thumbprint cookies
Chris Simpson

These modern thumbprint cookies have a chocolate-dipped bottom and a cheery jam center. Needless to say, they'll please a lot of different palates.

10 of 23

Martha's Tahini Cookies

tahini cookies
Mike Krautter

For a nut-free treat that offers seriously good flavor, try these sesame-laced tahini cookies. The seeds add extra crunch and a nice presentation, while the tahini paste in the dough works to infuse the cookies with its signature flavor.

11 of 23

Cacao Cookies

Cacao Cookies
Gentl + Hyers

If you are a fan of the subtle flavor of milk chocolate, you'll love these lightly spiced cacao cookies. They're decorated with a coconut milk glaze and toasted coconut.

12 of 23

Snowmen Shortbread Cookies

shortbread snowmen
Joseph De Leo

Move aside, gingerbread people! These snowman shortbread cookies will steal the show with their pretty powder-white coating and tender, buttery crumbs.

13 of 23

Gingerbread-Espresso Crinkle Cookies

gingerbread espresso crinkle cookies
Mikkel Vang

Espresso powder and a mix of both fresh and dried ginger work together to expertly spice every bite of these deliciously caffeinated cookies.

14 of 23

Crushed Peppermint Chocolate Cookies


It couldn't be easier to decorate these sweets. All you need is crushed up peppermint candies. The cookies have a rich, deep-chocolate flavor thanks to Dutch-process cocoa powder.

15 of 23

Lime Sandwich Cookies

lime sandwich cookies
Ren Fuller

These unique treats deliver a burst of sunshine through the lime custard that is sandwiched between two tender sugar cookies.

16 of 23

Fruitcake Cookies

fruitcake cookies
Louise Hagger

Unlike most regular fruitcakes, these classy cookies won't be accidentally left in the cupboard. Studded with candied cherries and dried papaya, then dipped in a dark chocolate fondant and garnished with edible gold, they are unforgettable.

17 of 23

Gingersnap Palmiers

Gingersnap Palmiers

Easy, but impressive, too, these snappy spiced cookies use store-bought puff pastry for the dough. To jazz up the plain puff, a homemade ginger syrup and spiced sugar are painted on before baking.

18 of 23

Peppermint Spritz Cookies

peppermint spritz cookies
Louise Hagger

Spritz cookies are a fun, easy, and festive way to get into the holiday spirit. With a peppermint-flavored dough and a wreath-shaped cookie press, these treats will look especially cute in a tin with other holiday-themed spritz.

19 of 23

Pecan Linzer Cookies

Pecan Linzer Cookie with Cherry Filling
Romulo Yanes

They're like ruby red jewels—and these gems will definitely stand out on a crowded cookie table. The buttery pecan dough that is used to sandwich the jam in these cookies is as memorable as their decorations.

20 of 23

Brussels Cookies

Chris Court

These cookies are a homemade (not to mention gourmet) dupe for Pepperidge Farm's Brussels cookies. The dough yields a crisp, buttery cookie studded with hazelnuts and oats, which are then sandwiched between melted bittersweet chocolate.

21 of 23

Coconut Chip Cookies

Bryan Gardner

This recipe yields a thin, crisp, and buttery cookie that will become an instant favorite in your repertoire. The whopping 4 cups of rich, coconut flakes melds wonderfully with the buttery brown sugar cookie dough.

22 of 23

Crisp Sugar Doily Cookies


If you are an experienced baker who loves to make intricate cookies, this is the recipe for you. It's a fun project that calls for punching intricate shapes out of the dough with aspic cutters.

23 of 23

Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

chocolate gingerbread cookies
Joseph De Leo

Is it the combination of fresh and ground ginger or the chunks of semisweet chocolate that make this cookie a favorite of our food editors? Maybe it's both—and the subtle flavor of molasses, all spice, cinnamon, and cloves in this egg-free, irresistible treat.

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