Mhmm — the smell of freshly baked cookies is a treat on its own but biting into a warm cookie hot out of the oven is an experience out of this world. While many people try to avoid long hours in the kitchen, I love spending time creating and making up new recipes especially when it comes to cookies. There are so many ways to manipulate one recipe and end up with a completely different treat.

Whether they're crisp and crunchy or soft and gooey, cookies always remind me of the good old days when I didn't have to worry about college or the future. While you might think of Oreos or peanut butter cookies as you continue to read, there are so many amazing cookies from around the world that are worth trying. 


Algeria and Tunisia: Makroud/Makrout 

Makroud translates to diamond shaped. It is a sweet semolina based pastry filled with either dates, figs, or almonds. They can be baked like traditional cookies or fried until golden brown and are topped off with a honey syrup made from honey and orange blossom water. 

Egypt: Kahk

Kahk is an Egyptian dessert associated with happy occasions such as weddings and religious celebrations. Every cookie is molded into a circular shape to represent the sun and has a geometric design. While they may look like typical shortbread cookies when dusted with powdered sugar, kahk uses semolina flour and has a special surprise inside. The stuffing can vary from household to household but typical fillings include ground dates, ground walnuts, or ground almonds.

Malawi: Mbatata

Malawi, a small southeast African country, is known as the "Warm Heart of Africa" due to the friendliness and generosity of its people. It is only fitting that their traditional mbatata dessert are heart-shaped cookies. These soft and chewy cookies obtain their bright orange color from one very important ingredient — sweet potato, making these orange delights a healthy alternative to regular cookies. 

South Africa: Koeksisters

Koeksisters are more similar to donuts than cookies. These traditional fried South African twists are enjoyed cold and crisp unlike Spanish churros. The moment koeksisters come out of the oil they are coated with a layer of cold sticky syrup, which guarantees optimal absorption and the best end results. They are typically enjoyed with tea or coffee in the afternoon but I wouldn't judge you for wanting to eat these for every meal of the day.


China: Chinese Almond Cookie

Chinese Almond Cookies are a traditional Chinese New Year dessert that represent coins and are meant to bring good luck in the new year. These almond cookies have a strong almond flavor due to the addition of almond flour, almond extract, and sliced almonds. Instead of having a soft and chewy texture, Chinese Almond Cookies tend to be crispy due to the relatively high amount of flour in the recipe.

India: Nankhatai

Nankhatai are rich, buttery cookies that avoid using eggs, milk, or any leavening agent such as baking powder. The main star of the show is the ghee or butter so if you decide to make these on your own do not reduce the high amount of fat. There are two other important steps taken to make these cookies perfect. Each cookie is cut to allow it to grow as it bakes. Then before going into the oven, the cookie is chilled, which helps solidify the ghee or butter, giving nankhatai a flaky texture. These cookies have a distinct cardamom flavor that pairs nicely with the chopping pistachios used to decorate them. 

Indonesia: Nastar

Nastar, also known as Indonesian Pineapple Tart Cookie, is a popular dessert in Indonesia. It is enjoyed on many holidays such as Christmas, Chinese New Year, and Eid-al-Fitr. Nastar is a crumbly cookie with a citrusy pineapple filling. While the cookie i self is simple to make, the hardest and longest process is preparing the pineapple jam. Nevertheless, the time spent making the jam is worth every second once you give these cookies a taste.

Iran: Ghotab 

Ghotab may look like a savory empanada dusted with powdered sugar but this sweet pastry is quite different. Ghotab is a traditional Iranian dessert prepared any time of the year but most popular around the new year. Inside each ghotab is a spiced walnut-almond filling. The addition of cardamon and cinnamon into the filling gives ghotab an amazing aroma and a unique taste.

Iraq: Kleicha

Kleicha is known as the national cookie of Iraq. These pinwheel cookies have a flaky dough similar to puff pastry and are filled with a spiced walnut-date spread. Some recipes call for rosewater, which gives it a subtle undertone of floral flavor. Kleicha is typically enjoyed with hot tea or Arab coffee, which pairs nicely with the sweet cookies.

Malaysia and Singapore: Kueh Tarts

Kueh Tarts, or Pineapple Tarts, are a popular treat in Malaysia and Singapore and similar to Indonesian Nastar cookies. While nastar cookies are stuffed with a pineapple filling, kueh tarts are a sweet and crumbly cookie topped off with a homemade pineapple jam. Making kueh tarts is not an easy and simple process but going through the long and arduous process of making these tarts is well worth the end result. 


Austria: Linzer

Linzer cookies are one of my favorite desserts of all time. They are a perfect balance of nutty and fruity. Originating in Linz, Austria, these delicious cookie sandwiches are nothing short of perfection. They use the same dough as their more popular predecessor, the Linzertorte. Instead of forming a crust as with the torte, the dough for the cookies is cut out into round shapes and baked. Then sweet jam is sandwiched in between two soft and buttery almond-based cookies. Sorry to say this but Oreos just can't compare. 

Italy: Pignoli

Pignoli cookies are flourless treats whose main ingredients include almond paste, sugar, eggs, and pine nuts. Popular all over southern Italy, these cookies are soft and chewy but have a nice crunchy texture from the pine nuts that decorate them.

France: Madeleines 

France is well known for their colorful macarons but those are not the only popular cookies. Madeleines are another traditional cookie eaten all over France and differ greatly from macarons. Besides being baked in a specific baking mold, Madeleines have a cakey texture and are soft. They are very light and if you love the taste of spongy vanilla cake, you should definitely give these a try.

Germany: Zimtsterne

Zimtsterne translates to 'cinnamon,' which is a key spice in these star-shaped cookies. They are usually eaten on special holidays such as Christmas. While they are often sold in almost every store around the holidays, zimtsterne cookies can easily be made at home during any time of the year. These cookies can last for a while without refrigeration and with time they become even chewier. These might be a great snack idea for your summer camping treat, if they ever make it past the kitchen door.

Netherlands: Stroopwafel

Stroopwafel taste similar to a ice cream waffle cone but have a nice caramel surprise stuffed in between the two wafers. They are a staple in the Netherlands and can be found on every street corner. While there is not one correct way to eat a stroopwafel, it is common practice to place a stroopwafel on top of a hot cup of coffee or tea to soften it up a bit. The hot steam melts the caramel in between the two wafers and makes the cookie ooey gooey.

Poland: Kolaczki

Kolaczki are a big part of my childhood. I remember popping two or three of these bite-sized cookies at a time into my mouth and trying to hide them from my family. Kolaczki are sweet cookies using cream cheese as the main ingredient in the dough, which gives them a flaky crust. Every cookie is baked with a filling that can vary from strawberry to blueberry to apricot jam, and even sweet cheese, but no matter the filling, the cookie always turns out tasting great.

Russia: Zefir

Zefir is not known to many people around the world but this dessert is very popular in Russia. They are light and airy fruit flavored marshmallows that are great for anyone with a sweet tooth. Zefir is not typically made at home because there is no need to spend time in the kitchen baking them when you can easily buy them at any grocery store in Russia. 

United Kingdom: Jaffa Cakes

The UK has an endless variety of biscuits. I'm pretty sure you have heard of Custard Creams, Hobnob, Viennese Creams, Jammie Dodgers, and Pink Wafers but I decided to focus on Jaffa Cakes because I believe they are lacking some attention. Jaffa cakes have a soft, spongy base on which a layer of fruit jelly sits and are coated with a layer of milk chocolate. Jaffa Cakes typically contain an orange flavored jelly but they do have seasonal and limited time edition flavors such as strawberry and blackcurrant. 

North America

Canada: Maple Leaf Creme Cookie

Maple syrup is very popular in Canada so it's no surprise that one of their most known cookies would include maple in it. Maple Leaf Creme Cookies are a well-loved snack all around Canada and can be bought in almost every grocery store. These little sandwiches have a sweet vanilla cream in between two crunchy maple syrup flavored biscuits. Biting into one of these cookies will certainly remind you of cozy autumn days. If you really want to try Maple Leaf Creme Cookies, you can easily order them online or head over to Trader Joe's. 

Cuba: Torticas De Moron

Torticas de Moron come from the town Moron, Cuba. Traditionally, they are prepared with lard but butter can be used as substitute. While these crunchy lime cookies are great on their own, they are often served with a little bit of guava paste on top to contrast the citrusy flavor from the lime.

Guatemala: Champurrada

Champurradas are flat, crunchy Guatemalan cookies that are made for dunking. They are typically enjoyed with a warm cup of coffee or tea, similarly to Italian biscotti. These cookies have a unique taste and sandy texture due to the incorporation of corn flour. 

Mexico: Mexican Wedding Cookie

The ingredients to Mexican Wedding Cookies are very straightforward and familiar — pecans, flour, sugar, butter, salt, vanilla, and cinnamon — but the taste of these treats is anything but simple. Taking the time to toast the pecans makes a big difference in the end because it adds a stronger pecan flavor. These little snowballs are soft, buttery, crunchy, and great for any party. Plus, the addition of powdered sugar and cinnamon really takes these cookies to the next level.

United States: Chocolate Chip Cookie

Good old American chocolate chip cookies. You already knew these were going to be on the list. These cookies are an American staple, probably even more popular than apple pie. Chocolate chip cookies can be chewy, moist, crunchy, soft, crisp, chewy in the middle and crunchy around the ends, or even cakey. The best part of these cookies are the chocolate chips that run through out it.


Australia: Anzac Biscuit

These cookies might look like American oatmeal cookies but they are quit different. Anzac biscuits have a distinct flavor due to the incorporation of coconut flakes and golden syrup that acts as a binder. The texture of Anzac cookies can range from super chewy to extra crispy. These cookies are made from ingredients that wouldn't spoil quickly because originally they were made for Anzac soldiers during the war. Later, Anzac cookies became very popular and became a staple treat in Australia. 

Fiji: Coconut Cookie

If you love coconut, you need to try these cookies. They are perfectly crunchy and taste like a tropical vacation. With only 7 ingredients, they are a simple treat to put together in less than an hour from start to finish. Make them at home and enjoy a bit of Fiji at home.

New Zealand: Afghan Biscuit

Chocolatey, nutty, creamy, and crunchy. Now that's my type of cookie. Afghan biscuits are not super sweat due to the low sugar to butter ratio but the sweet chocolate icing makes up for this. Each cookie is topped off with a walnut half that brings a nice crunch to the cookie. There are many theories as to why these cookies are called Afghan and it is not really known which story is the real one.

South America

Argentina: Alfajores

Alfajores are popular in many Latin countries and for good reason. These cookies use corn starch to give them a lighter texture than regular shortbread cookies and have sweet, sticky dulce de leche sandwiched between two biscuits. For the finishing touches, each cookie is rolled in coconut flakes to add a hint of tropical flavor. The moment you bite into an alfajore, it melts in your mouth and leaves you wanting more.

Brazil: Brigadeiros 

Brigadeiros are rich, chocolately fudge balls, similar to truffles and a traditional Brazilian dessert. With less than 5 ingredients, brigaferios are an easy treat to whip up in a matter of minutes. While chocolate sprinkles are the most common topping, brigadeiros can also be rolled in nuts, coconut shavings, or powdered sugar. 

Chile: Cuchufli

If you ever visit Chile, you are most likely going to spot cuchufli cookies being sold in almost every supermarket, street stand, local business, and corner. These crunchy cigar-shaped cookies are filled with sticky and gooey dulce de leche then coated with a layer of delicious chocolate. 

Peru: Rosquitas de Manteca

If you want to bring a little bit of Peru into your home, you need to try Rosquitas de Manteca. These crispy, bite-sized cookies take time to make but the second you bite into them, you while realize the time spent making them was all worth it. Rosquitas de manteca contain a unique ingredient in them that really makes these cookies stand out — aniseed. Whether you sit down and eat they with a cup of tea or nibble on them on your way to work, there is not wrong way to enjoy Rosquitas de manteca.

There are so many amazing cookie varieties around the world from crunchy and sandy to soft and chewy. Every culture and country has their own unique spin. While some cookies might call for everyday all-purpose flour, other cookies incorporate corn flour to give them a unique texture and then there are those that avoid flour completely. In many cultures, cookies are not solely enjoyed as an afternoon snack, they are eaten to celebrate a holiday or other happy occasions that bring the family together. Hope you get the chance to try some of these amazing treats next time you're traveling or make them at home if you just can't wait any longer.