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13 Secret Ingredients for Irresistible Cookies

These unexpected foods make these treats even more delicious.

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Sour creamPicsfive/Shutterstock

Sour cream

Sour cream helped propel these Frosted Cashew Cookies to win an award at a county fair. Topped with delicious browned butter frosting, these cookies are a staple for Christmas and a treat in a lunch box.

Get the recipe for Frosted Cashew Cookies.

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Peanut butterMaraZe/Shutterstock

Peanut butter

These sweet little Fudge Puddles are perfect for an on-the-go treat. As if fudge isn’t delectable enough, the peanut butter in the dough compliments the chocolate and makes these cookies extra rich and delicious.

Get the recipe for Fudge Puddles. And don’t miss these 150 recipes for Christmas cookies.

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A group of dried cranberries.natushm/Shutterstock

Dried cranberries

Perfect for fall, these Iced Pumpkin Cookies combine the traditional—brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg—with flavors that are more unexpected. Dried cranberries add a sweet, chewy contrast, while the walnuts and granola provide some crunch.

Get the recipe for Iced Pumpkin Cookies.

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Corn FlakesHoliday.Photo.Top/Shutterstock


Looking for a cookie that you can sink your teeth into? These Holiday Cornflake Cookies are packed with marshmallows and Red Hots. Store-bought cornflakes provide plenty of crunch.

Get the recipe for Holiday Cornflake Cookies. Then check out the best Christmas cookie from every state.

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Graham crackersBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock

Graham crackers

If you need some treats to delight and keep your favorite little kids busy, look no further than these Fire Truck Cookies. Graham crackers form the base of these no-bake cookies. Top them with frosting, then let little hands use black licorice, red gumdrops and Oreos to create their own rescue vehicles.

Get the recipe for Fire Truck Cookies.

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coffee bean background Arabica coffee roastedRachenArt/Shutterstock


Chocolate and coffee sound like a perfect combination. For these Jumbo Chocolate Cutouts, brewed coffee paired with baking cocoa, molasses and cinnamon makes for an easy-yet-rich treat. Want to make them even more decadent? Sprinkle the cookies with powdered sugar.

Get the recipe for Jumbo Chocolate Cutouts. Plus, check out the surprising secret ingredient for super-fluffy pancakes.

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Sesame seedsRtstudio/Shutterstock

Sesame seeds

Cookies for breakfast? It’s OK if it’s one of these healthy Take-Along Breakfast Cookies. Made with whole-wheat flour, oats, wheat germ and raisins, these cookies provide a nice punch of protein to start the day. Sesame seeds sprinkled on top give them a delicate crunch and a nutty aroma.

Get the recipe for Take-Along Breakfast Cookies.

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marshmellowsBrent Hofacker/Shutterstock


These Whoopie Cookies look like they take a lot of time in the kitchen, but they just take about 30 minutes to prepare. Start with a box of devil’s food cake mix and shape the dough into balls. While they bake, whip together some cream cheese and marshmallow creme. Once the cookies are cool, sandwich the tasty filling in the middle and enjoy.

Get the recipe for Whoopie Cookies. If you’re more of a cookie traditionalist, you need these 32 chocolate chip cookie recipes.

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ZucchiniShcherbakova Natalia/Shutterstock


A recipe that calls for peanut butter may not seem like the healthiest option. But these Peanut Butter Drops have a secret: The recipe calls for sneaking some shredded zucchini into the batter. The veggie helps keep the cookies soft, moist and lower in calories than many other treats.

Get the recipe for Peanut Butter Drops.

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Butterscotch chipsP Maxwell Photography/Shutterstock

Butterscotch chips

Forgot you needed to bring a plate of treats? Here’s a quick cookie recipe to help you out. Start with a package of yellow cake mix and combine it with oats, butter, and an egg. The scrumptious part? Mix in some butterscotch chips or M & M’s and be out the door within 20 minutes.

Get the recipe for Cookies in a Jiffy. And don’t miss these vintage cookie recipes from Grandma.

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Sweetened condensed milkAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Sweetened condensed milk

Sometimes you need a cookie that’s going to appeal more to adults. Look no further than these Quick Coconut Macaroons. Made with just five ingredients, the cookies get their sweetness from shredded coconut and condensed milk. The best part? You can make them in under a half hour.

Get the recipe for Quick Coconut Macaroons.

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Ricotta cheeseGCapture/Shutterstock

Ricotta cheese

Ricotta cheese is synonymous with Italian food. While most people think of ricotta in savory dishes like lasagna, the creamy cheese is also what makes the filling of cannolis so delicious. Fortunately, you can savor the taste of ricotta in cookies as well. Using the cheese helps make these Italian Christmas Cookies moist and delectable. You’ll want to keep a whole batch for yourself.

Get the recipe for Italian Christmas Cookies. Plus, find out the secret ingredients that will make you a better cook..

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Cherry preservesKPixMining/Shutterstock

Cherry preserves

If you’re looking for a cookie to dunk in your tea, why not whip up some Cranberry Swirl Biscotti? These cookies blend sweetness with the tartness of cranberries and the secret ingredient: cherry preserves. You can also package up a batch, adorn them with a bow, and give them as a gift.

Get the recipe for Cranberry Swirl Biscotti. Next, check out these 14 Christmas cookie baking tips.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest