Add international flair to boring holiday cookie exchanges with these recipes

Baking in the kitchen with kids this time of year is a delight. Cookie exchanges are popular during the holiday season. Consider making a batch of one of these holiday treats from around the world for your next exchange, and let kids of all ages assist with the prepping (and eating!).

French Butter Cookies

French Christmas cookies, or sables, are similar to the traditional sugar cookie and are decorated with icing. Preschool and elementary children can mix the dough and create fun holiday shapes using cookie cutters while toddlers can help with frosting the cookies.

Italian Sprinkle Cookies

Italian sprinkle cookies are first formed into round balls and baked, then dipped in a sweet glaze and topped with sprinkles. Older kids can be responsible for dipping the cookies in the glaze once they are removed from the oven, while younger kids can top with sprinkles.

Swedish Gingerbread Cookies

Swedish gingerbread cookiesLove ginger snaps? Then you’ll want to give Swedish gingerbread cookies, or pepparkakors, a whirl. These spiced cookies—usually cut in the shape of hearts, stars or flowers—are crispy, brown and delicious plain or decorated.

German Glazed Pfeffernüsse

These classic German Christmas cookies feature molasses and honey with a variety of spices. Like Italian sprinkle cookies, these cookies are shaped into balls and baked, then dunked in a confectioners’ sugar glaze.

Finnish Pinwheels

Finnish pinwheelsThese Finnish cookies are made with a filling of prunes, dates, water, sugar and butter, then wrapped in a dough and shaped into pinwheels.

Chocolate Mexican Wedding Cookies

Cocoa and pecans add flavor and crunch to these cookie balls. For variation, chocolate lovers can add mini chocolate chips to the dough or dip cooled cookies in melted chocolate.

Chinese Almond Cookies

These cookies are enjoyable to celebrate Christmas or the New Year—the Chinese New Year, that is. Use almond flour, almond extract and slivered almonds to intensify the flavor.

Linzer Cookies

Linzer cookiesPopular in Austria, these pastry-like treats are actually two layered cookies covered with jam or a fruit spread. Small children can dust the cookies with powdered sugar before serving.


Krumkakes, or Norwegian waffle cookies, are made using a waffle iron with patterns. They can be rolled into cones, eaten plain or filled with whipped cream.

Angel Wing Cookies

Angel wing cookies, or bow tie cookies, are popular Christmas treats in Poland. The dough is twisted in knots and fried, then tossed with powdered sugar or drizzled with honey.