10 Recipes to Game-Change the Cookie Swap

Pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith turns holiday tradition on its head by devising these 10 clever cookie recipes that'll elevate your baking game this season.

Caribbean Gingerbread Kidz

This extra-spicy version of classic gingerbread is flecked with candied ginger and crushed caramel candies, which lend texture to every bite. 

Get the Recipe: Caribbean Gingerbread Kidz

Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Peppermint

Part cookie and part brownie, these dark chocolate rounds deliver the best of both desserts with their fudgy, tender interior. The second dose of chocolate comes in the form of a crushed peppermint cream filling.

Get the Recipe: Double Chocolate Fudge Cookies with Starlight Peppermint Cream

Pecan Sticky Bun Cookies

The best part of this cookie (besides the ease of frozen puff pastry) is that every element can be made ahead and then baked at a moment's notice, which means you're never too far from freshly baked sticky buns.

Get the Recipe: Pecan Sticky Bun Cookies

Chocolate Chip Gingersnap Chai Cookies

In this exotic recipe, the classic gingersnap cookie takes inspiration from Indian cuisine with the additions of cardamom and ground chai tea. Bake the cookies a day or two ahead of time: The chai flavor intensifies the longer they sit.

Get the Recipe: Chocolate Chip Gingersnap Chai Cookies

Candied Apple Rugelach

Flaky and jam-packed with caramelized apple flavor, these are an inventive take on the classic crescent-shaped Jewish pastries. They're particularly suited for sweetening a group gathering, as they are like miniature apple pies in cookie form.

Get the Recipe: Candied Apple Rugelach

Toasted Hazelnut Filled Dulce de Leche Cookies

Homemade dulce de leche is a wonderfully rich sidekick to these nutty linzer cookies, but feel free to fill them with your favorite fruit jam instead for a speedy alternative.

Get the Recipe: Toasted Hazelnut Filled Dulce de Leche Cookies

Eggnog Shortbread

These thick cookie wedges employ all of eggnog's familiar flavors in a crumbly Scottish shortbread. Warm spices and dry milk powder give the shortbread richness while a bourbon glaze adds a festive spiked twist. 

Get the Recipe: Eggnog Shortbread

Pomegranate Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Raid the pantry like Hedy does to customize these soft coconut cookies that can be made en masse and then frozen for later enjoyment. They gain fruitiness and a pink hue from a star anise-spiced pomegranate reduction.

Get the Recipe: Pomegranate Chocolate Chip Macaroons

Pumpkin Pie Cookies    

There's no need to share your favorite fall pie with others when these single-serving bites are around. Best of all, the recipe yields extra pumpkin filling, which is perfect for spreading on scones, pancakes and doughnuts.

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Cookies

Burnt Ends

Thin and crunchy like brittle, this cookie is inspired by the best part of a brownie (the crisp edges). It's laced with bits of toffee and bacon, and it makes a decadent dessert when sandwiched with marshmallow fluff or banana jam.

Get the Recipe: Burnt Ends