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Christmas Cookies from Around the World

Our list of recipes of Christmas cookies from around the world is grouped by country, region (e.g. Scandinavia), and culture (e.g. Latin America). Some American states lay claim to “their” state cookie. There is even a country that no longer exists: Yugoslavia. See What’s Missing, below.

People and cultures are highly mobile; these categorizations are far from perfect. Several recipes are widely made by Americans of German descent, passed down by German great-great-grandmothers, but the recipes seem unknown in Germany today. Also, see Note on Spelling, below.

A note on spellings and other variations

Spellings for Christmas cookies from around the world very widely and I have often provided two versions of the same recipe with varying spelling. People submit recipes with different spellings, but more importantly, they search for recipes with different spellings.

English spellings of foreign words can be troublesome. How to turn the Greek κουραμπιέδες into English??? It can variously be Kourabies, Kourabiedes, or Kourabiethes…even بسكويت (kurabiye) from next-door Turkey.

Polish Chruściki, Chrusty, Faworki, Krusczyki, Angel Wings are all roughly the same thing, influenced by which village your great-great grandmother came from and how her English descendents made sense of this foreign word. You may see a photo and argue that NO, those aren’t Polish..they are Norwegian Fattigmann or Poor Man’s Cookies, or Swedish Klenät or Rags n’ Tatters, or Italian Chiacchiere (except when in Rome where they are Frappe or Cioffe or Trieste where they’re Crostoli) or Italian-American Bow Ties. All with only slight variations, and I have only scratched the surface here. WOW!!

It is similar with ingredients. If one recipe uses orange zest and you KNOW they are supposed to have lemon zest because that was the recipe handed down to you, understand that the other variation originated in the next village over from your great-great grandmother’s.

The beautifully varied complexities of cuisine, culture and language are strange and wonderful. It’s all good.

What’s missing from our Christmas Cookies from Around the World?

Some countries/regions/cultures more recipes here than others simply because Christmas cookies are a bigger tradition there, but many are underrepresented here. I post the (well-written) recipes that people send me. If your region/culture needs an improved presence here, please submit a recipe and photo to share your cookie heritage with the world!