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10 Crazy Recipes for Your Holiday Cookie Exchange

Bourbon? Butter? Bacon? These cookies have it all.
Bourbon? Butter? Bacon? These cookies have it all.
Heather Christo

The season for cookie-exchange parties is in full swing, and though you can always whip up a batch of iced sugar cookies or Nestlé Tollhouse chocolate chip cookies, showing up with the same cookie as someone else can feel a bit like wearing the same dress as another guest to a party. Ensure a "who baked it best?" moment doesn't kill the holiday spirit at your friendly exchange by bringing one of these ten unique cookies.

Bourbon Maple Bacon Pecan Cookies

Bacon desserts have become commonplace over the past few years, but this flavor combo is so on point that we'd be remiss to leave the recipe out. Pair with a hot toddy for the perfect late-night winter snack.

No one will believe the secret ingredient is garlic.
No one will believe the secret ingredient is garlic.
Gilded Fork

Garlic Brittle Cookies

Are you one to work garlic into every meal you cook? Check out this unique cookie recipe, in which a subtle note of garlic is toned down with chocolate chips and walnut brittle.Real garlic fanatics must try a savory-sweet cookie too, which took home first prize in the 2009 Gilroy Garlic Festival Cookoff. The award-winning Spicy Garlic Butter Cookies with Garlic Goat Cheese & Honey, which feature roasted garlic and cayenne pepper, can be served as an appetizer or creative dessert.

Potato chips update this classic cookie.
Potato chips update this classic cookie.
Spoon Fork Bacon

PB&J Potato Chip Thumbprint Cookie

Thumbprints are a classic Swedish pastry called hallongrotta, but here they go all-American with peanut butter, jelly, and potato chips. These will be a hit at a kids' party, but they're also a dream come true for anyone who craves salty-sweet snacks. With a peanut butter cookie dough base, the result is a soft cookie, but rolling them in crushed potato chips provides a contrasting crunchy texture.

 

This recipe is easily adapted to feature other fruits and vegetables.
This recipe is easily adapted to feature other fruits and vegetables.
Baker Bettie

Zucchini Jalapeño Cookies with Sweet Lime Glaze

If you suffer from an addiction to all things sweet and spicy, this will be your new go-to cookie recipe. A riff on carrot cookies with orange glaze, this simple cookie base uses zucchini and jalapeño for a unique twist. To make the most of the winter season, bake up another unusual cookie with shredded butternut squash and dried smoked chile peppers, like ancho or chipotle.

Pinata Cookies

This is a fun (albeit time-intensive) way to make sugar cookies exciting. And just like a real piñata, these are hiding a stash of candy that will surprise both kids and adults. At Christmas, piñatas are shaped to signify the Star of Bethlehem; Sur la Table just so happens to have the perfect cookie cutter to use to adapt this recipe for the holidays. Or, use a simple square or circle to make gift packages, as suggested by Hungry Happenings. Fill with mini red and green M&Ms or crushed candy cane pieces.

Cookie Confidential has made other wacky cookie flavors like hot wing and sriracha mango.
Cookie Confidential has made other wacky cookie flavors like hot wing and sriracha mango.
cookingchanneltv.com

Philly Cheesesteak Cookie

This savory, meat-studded cookie one-ups bacon cookies with beef jerky. If you make your own jerky, whip up a batch of these for truly original gifts for your friends. In order to nail the taste of Philly, this recipe includes paprika, pepper flakes, grated cheddar, and dehydrated onions. Then they're topped with tomato cream cheese frosting -- though we recommend a dab over a full-on slathering.

Gluten-free with avocado? It'll be your secret.
Gluten-free with avocado? It'll be your secret.
The Londoner

Triplechocofudge Avocado Cookies

Ooey, gooey, and delicious, these fudge cookies are decadent yet don't have any flour, oats, or butter. Instead they rely on avocado and two handfuls of your favorite chopped up chocolate bar to have all the flavor your expect of a sinful dessert. They're gluten-free and nut-free, making them an excellent option for everyone to enjoy.

 

Grand prize winner in the Martha Stewart Cookie Contest
Grand prize winner in the Martha Stewart Cookie Contest
The Cooking Photographer

S'mores Cookies

It seems like anything that uses marshmallow and chocolate gets associated with the campfire classic, but rarely do soft-baked cookies also deliver on the promise of graham cracker flavor. This recipe will not only make addictive cookies complete with luscious ganache topping, but they will also impress with a beautiful visual presentation.

Pie, meet cookie.
Pie, meet cookie.
Smitten Kitchen

Apple Pie Cookies

There are many ways to bake mini apple pies, but this extra-adorable variety doesn't require any specialty pans or presses and is surprisingly simple to make. The main component is a soft pie dough, which is rolled out and cut into 2-inch circles. The pieces are assembled into a flat hand pie, with a spoonful of filling sandwiched in between. The resulting cookie has all the flaky tenderness of a traditional pie in the convenient size of a cookie.

Sweet Potato Spice Cookies

Sweet potato makes an irresistibly delicious pie filling, so why not cookies? Plus they're packed with vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, iron, magnesium, potassium, and carotenoids. In this cookie, shredded sweet potato is mixed with everything but the kitchen sink: orange juice, butter, brown sugar, coconut, pecans, oats, butterscotch chips, and warm spices like nutmeg.
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