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40 Old World Cookies That’ll Take You Back

Expand your cookie arsenal with generational cookies that have come over from the Old Country.

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Jewish Chocolate Chip Mandel Bread

This traditional Jewish mandel bread recipe has been passed down in my family for four generations. It tastes wonderful with a cup of coffee, hot cocoa or milk. —Monica Schnapp, Irvine, California
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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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Baki's Old-World Cookies

My uncles have always called these "cupcake cookies" because of the unique, pretty way they're baked. My maternal grandmother mixed many batches. —Marilyn Louise Riggenbach, Ravenna, Ohio
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Ice Cream Kolachkes

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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Egg Yolk Cookies

These simple egg yolk cookies truly melt in your mouth. They’re thin cookies, just like my Grandma used to make. —Kathy Gagliardi, Holmdel, New Jersey
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Peppery Snaps

I love to bake, and spend most of my time at it. I have a job as a baker and keep my family supplied with baked goods. May father-in-law said he’d love a cookie that was “real snappy,” so I combined recipes to get this one.
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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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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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Swedish 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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Ginger Poppy Seed Cookies

Poppy seed and ginger pair up nicely in these popular treats. The refrigerated dough slices easily and bakes quickly.
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Apricot Pinwheels

I decorate my little spirals with vanilla icing, but they’re yummy without it, too. Dried apricots and lots of spice give the cookies Old World flavor. —Beverly Sadergaski, Saint Cloud, Minnesota
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Swedish Butter Cookies

It’s impossible to eat just one of these Swedish cookies. Naturally, they’re a favorite with my Swedish husband and children—but anyone with a sweet tooth will appreciate this treat. My recipe is “well-traveled” among our friends and neighbors. —Sue Soderland, Elgin, Illinois
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Chocolate Fruit N Nut Cookies

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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Italian Pignoli Cookies

Cookies are the crown jewels of Italian confections. I can’t let a holiday go by without baking these traditional almond cookies rolled in mild pine nuts.—Maria Regakis, Somerville, Massachusetts
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Rugelach

The crisp texture of these crescent-shaped cookies makes them a terrific treat to serve alongside a steaming mug of hot chocolate or coffee.
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Austrian 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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Finnish 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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Scottish Shortbread

My mother, who is of Scottish heritage, passed this shortbread recipe, along with other favorite recipes, on to me. When I entered this treat at our local fair, it won a red ribbon. —Rose Mabee, Selkirk, Manitoba
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Russian 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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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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Norwegian Chocolate Chip Cookies

My best friend, Amber, taught me how to make this classic Norwegian dessert. They are a great mash-up of a sugar and chocolate chip cookie. A pizza cutter is the best tool for cutting into slices after baking. —Bonnie Brien, Surprise, Arizona
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Dutch Speculaas

In Holland, it’s tradition to mold this dough into the shape of St. Nicholas and serve the cookies on Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas Day). —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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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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Italian 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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Finnish Christmas Cookies

"My friend bakes these cookies at Christmas," says Judith Outlaw of Portland, Oregon. "They're popular at cookie exchanges, but my friend's husband urges her not to trade any of them!"
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Italian Horn Cookies

My family has been making these delicate fruit-filled cookies for generations. They’re light and flaky, with the look of an elegant old-world pastry. —Gloria Siddiqui, Houston, Texas
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Dutch Treats

I was born and raised in Holland, where we used almond paste quite often in our baking. I created this recipe to capture the outstanding flavors of home.
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Crispy Norwegian Bows

I've been fixing these cookies for so long, I don't recall where the recipe came from. They're a "must" at our house.—Janie Norwood, Albany, Georgia
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Almond Chocolate Biscotti

My neighbors look forward to getting my gifts of these chocolate-covered cookies. I love that this chocolate biscotti recipe is such a cinch to make. —Ginger Chatfield, Muscatine, Iowa
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Orange Spritz Cookies

Brown sugar gives these spritz cookies a lovely light caramel tint. This variation has a rich buttery shortbread taste and texture with a hint of orange flavor. They are a delightful addition to my holiday cookie tray. -Sean Fleming, St. Charles, Illinois
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Holiday Kipferl Cookie

My family has been making the classic kipferl cookie on December 1 every year since I can remember. During the last two weeks of December, we make them with the addition of dried cranberries and toasted pecans for Christmas time. —Brooke Maynard, Poughkeepsie, New York
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Palmiers

It takes just two ingredients to make these impressive but easy-to-do French pastries, which are often called palm leaves. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Chocolate Linzer Cookies

Living in the town of North Pole, it's no surprise that I enjoy Christmas baking! My mom and I used to make these cookies together. Now that I am married and living in Alaska, I love to bake them for my own family. They remind me of home. —Heather Peters, North Pole, Alaska
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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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Chocolate Cannoli

Our version of a famous Italian dessert features a creamy filling dotted with chocolate chunks. The chopped pistachios are an attractive touch.—Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Chocolate Amaretti

These classic almond paste cookies are like ones you'd find in an Italian bakery. My husband and children are always excited when I include these goodies in my holiday baking lineup. —Kathy Long, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin
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Frosted Anise Sugar Cookies

These soft, cake-like cookies have a pleasant anise flavor that's distinct but not overpowering. I add red and green sprinkles for Christmas, but you could decorate them to suit any occasion.—Janice Eanni, Willowick, Ohio
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Cuccidati

The compliments make these Sicilian cookies worth the effort. It’s the best recipe for cuccidati I’ve found! —Carolyn Fafinski, Dunkirk, New York
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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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Anise & Wine Cookies

My grandmother did not speak English very well, but she knew the language of great food. These wine cookies are crisp and best eaten after being dunked in even more wine.—Julia Meyers, Scottsdale, Arizona

Rashanda Cobbins
When Rashanda’s not tasting and perfecting Taste of Home’s recipes, you’ll find this food editor sifting through our recipe collection, curating digital content or tracking the latest culinary trends. While studying for her bachelor’s degree in culinary arts, Rashanda interned in Southern Living’s test kitchen and later spent nearly a decade developing recipes and food content at ConAgra Brands. In her spare time, she loves scoping out local farmers markets and having picnics in the park.
Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an 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. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products for our Test Kitchen-Preferred program. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.