During the holiday season in the United States, many would agree there isn’t a better treat to complement a glass of eggnog than a warm gingerbread cookie. The smell of cinnamon is a sweet reminder of holiday cheer and the warmth that comes with being with loved ones. And just as children in the U.S. leave out treats for Santa Claus, many other cultures leave out different types of cookies and other foods for Father Christmas. Cookies are part of holiday celebrations all around the world, but different cultures enjoy their own traditional cookies.
In Norway and other parts of Scandinavia, cone-shaped cookies called krumkake are baked to celebrate the holidays. In Spain, shortbread cookies called mantecados are flavored with cinnamon and anise, and in Belgium and the Netherlands, speculaas are cut and carved into intricate depictions of St. Nicholas and other characters from his stories.
We’ve rounded up 15 holiday cookies from around the world to inspire you to try something new when baking with friends and family this year. Read on, and consider paying homage to another culture with your gift bags of holiday cookies this season.
Additional reporting by Haley Willard.