Biscuits. Galletas. Keks. Koekje.
No matter where you are in the world, there is a word for your favorite to-go-sized delicacy. Derived from the Dutch version of the word (koekje), cookies in America go all the way back to a New York funeral in 1703. 800 of them were made for the service.
December 4 is National Cookie Day— just in time to kick off the holiday baking season. You can snag plenty of delicious deals from the likes of Mrs. Fields and Insomnia Cookies. If you wake up early enough, you might just be able to get your hands on a free Pepperidge Farms cookie kit. Supplies are limited, so the offer is open on a first-come, first-served basis. Sign ups begin Friday morning 8 a.m. EST/ 5 a.m. PST.
Skilled baker or not, making cookies is the ideal winter activity. For one, it gives a nice break from looking at a screen. In fact, it can help alleviate stress. From the comforting aromas to the rhythm of mixing, whipping up a batch of cookies can be relaxing. And while chocolate chip is a tried and true favorite for a reason, why not mix things up a little? Scroll below to learn more about cookies from around the world and bring these international recipes into your very own kitchen!
The Philippines: Puto seko
Chances are you already have most of the ingredients for this disc-shaped treat. Total time comes in at 40 minutes, with just 10 minutes of preparation. You’ll need the standard butter, eggs, salt, flour, baking powder and sugar. Also be sure to have cornstarch ready to go!
Mexico: Wedding cookies
The term “Mexican wedding cookie” didn’t actually appear in American cookbooks until the 1950s, which was coincidentally when “Russian tea cakes” began disappearing from these books. The recipes for the cookie and tea cake are almost identical, which fuels speculation that “Mexican wedding cake” was a replacement term due to tensing Cold War relations. In fact, food historians tie Mexican wedding cakes all the way back to medieval Arab baking. And yeah, they’re called wedding cookies, but their likeness to snowballs make them perfect for December!
Russia: Honey spice cookies
If you’re looking to spice up your afternoon tea, Russia’s honey spice cookies pair well, offering a nice bite to the sweetness. These glazed treats are centuries old and making them homemade is far worth the effort. Store-bought just can’t compare. The cookies are softer when made at home and rich with vanilla and nutmeg flavors. What’s more, bake extra batches and they can be stored in the freezer for months.
Malawi: Sweet potato cookie
Finding the perfect balance between healthy eating and desserts, this East African cookie is loaded with antioxidants and has a cake-like texture. Many recipes suggest shaping your dough into hearts to honor Malawi’s legacy as the “Warm Heart of Africa.” If you aren’t a big fan of chocolate, the sweet potato cookie is a fusion of the best of both worlds— a savory, yet sweet delicacy.
Poland: Fruit-filled Kolaczki cookies
Delectable holiday classics like to throw together dairy and fruit, such as Kolaczki. These Polish cookies make good use of what’s already in your refrigerator; you’ll just need to buy your choice of filling (raspberry, apricot, prune, you name it!). For a citrus twist, add lemon juice to the filling, and polish off your cookies with confectioner’s sugar dusted over the top.
This classic German cookie seems like a not-so-distant relative of Kolaczki. The jam-filled cookie is worth making several batches of— they get better each day they sit in a tin box. What’s more, the recipe is pretty easy to navigate. All you need is butter, confectioner’s sugar, flour, an egg, some salt and raspberry jam. Be sure the jam is seedless!
Native American cornmeal cookie
Corn is a staple American crop, so it’s no surprise it was eventually made into a cookie! No this is not cornbread. Vanilla and brown sugar sweeten the grainy treat. You’ve also got the usual suspects here: butter, an egg, flour, baking powder and salt. Enjoy!