31 Classic Treats You'll See at Every Southern Cookie Swap

Chocolate Cutout Cookie
Photo: Iain Bagwell

There's no better way to ring in the holiday season than with a classic cookie exchange. The Christmas cookie swap has risen to fame for a few reasons—first off, it's shockingly easy to host, especially during the busy holiday season. Volunteer your home as a venue and worry no more: Each guest will bring a tin of homemade cookies to create a stellar potluck dessert display. It's the perfect occasion to show off Grandma's well-loved cookie recipes—and get a taste of your friends' own family traditions!Southerners know that bringing store-bought cookies to a holiday swap is not an option. Luckily, we have classic cookie options (and easy shortcuts) for even the busiest holiday host. From slice-'n'-bakes to Snickerdoodles, these all-star cookie recipes will be ready in no time. This year, think outside the box and try out a new cookie recipe that's guaranteed to become a family favorite. So scrub off that old cookie sheet and get to work. You'll want to make an extra batch of these festive cookies to keep for yourself.

01 of 31

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

The classic chocolate chipper, with a twist. Brown butter lends a savory depth of flavor to this sweet staple.

02 of 31

Spritz Cookies

Spritz Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Spritz Cookies

These vintage cookie press beauties have been around for as long as we can remember. This season, try your hand at homemade.

03 of 31

Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

Red-Velvet Cake Mix Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Red Velvet Cake Mix Cookies

With a deep red hue and studs of white chocolate, these cookies are dressed for the holidays. They're easy to make (hint: they start with a box of cake mix) and they're an ultra-festive addition to any party.

04 of 31

Chocolate Cutout Cookies

Chocolate Cutout Cookie
Iain Bagwell

Who said cutout cookies have to be boring? This chocolate dough seriously livens things up—plus, there are endless possibilities for decorations.

05 of 31

Kitchen Sink Cookies

Kitchen Sink Cookies
Jennifer Causey

Recipe: Kitchen Sink Cookies

The perfect recipe for the friend who's ready for a holiday pantry cleanout. With a few staple ingredients (chocolate chunks, rolled oats) and a few wild-card additions (corn chips, anyone?) you can throw just about anything into this cookie.

06 of 31

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookie

Cream Cheese Christmas Cookie
Southern Living

Recipe: Cream Cheese Christmas Cookie

The cookie oh-so-ready for the holiday season. Coat the rolls in red and green sugar crystals for a festive display.

07 of 31

Cheesecake Cookies

Cheesecake Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Cheesecake Cookies

These fluffy vintage cookies—topped with a glossy maraschino cherry—will certainly catch eyes on the buffet table.

08 of 31

Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Cherry Chocolates Recipe
Laurey W. Glenn

Recipe: Christmas Pinwheel Cookies

Grandma's favorite cookie never fails to please at our holiday soirées. Two different doughs are twisted together to create the signature pinwheel swirl.

09 of 31

Barbara Bush's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Barbara Bush Chocolate Chip Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Barbara Bush's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies

If you're looking for a classic cookie recipe with a twist, Barbara Bush's famous treats are guaranteed to impress.

10 of 31

Pecan Snowball Cookies

Pecan Snowball Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Snowball Cookies

Coated in powdered sugar, these shortbread "snowballs" are studded with buttery pecans for extra crunch.

11 of 31

Copycat Berger Cookies

Berger Cookies
Micah A. Leal

A Baltimore classic, reinvented. Try your hand at making a copycat of this traditional commercial cookie in your own kitchen this holiday season.

12 of 31

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Dog Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Victori Protasio; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Torie Cox

A torched marshmallow topping completes the fun effect of these chocolatey cookies. A dash of cayenne pepper livens up these cookies with a bit of spice to put the "hot" in hot chocolate.

13 of 31

Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Tassies

Pecan Tassies are a well-loved cookie with deep Southern roots. They're best described as a cross between miniature pecan pies and shortbread cookies. If you haven't tried this classic cookie, whip up a batch for this year's holiday swap.

14 of 31

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Toasted Oatmeal Cookies
Linda Pugliese

Recipe: Butterscotch-Toasted Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies? Yes, for the holiday season! Grandma's secret recipe can easily beat out any chocolate chip competition.

15 of 31

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies
Southern Living

Recipe: Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies

If you're short on time (or supplies), this classic four-ingredient cookie will be your new go-to.

16 of 31

Red Velvet Thumbprints

Red Velvet Thumbprints
Hector Sanchez

Imprinted with a picturesque drop of white chocolate-cream cheese frosting, these cake-like, holiday-hued cookies are ready for any winter occasion.

17 of 31

Spiced Molasses Drops

Spiced Molasses Drops
Iain Bagwell

If you got caught up in last-minute holiday shopping and forgot about the cookie swap, call this recipe your saving grace. It's fast, easy, and, most importantly, still homemade.

18 of 31

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies pair rich dark chocolate with light powdered sugar to create a snow-dusted appearance and crackling texture.

19 of 31

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies Recipe
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mary Clayton Carl; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Fudgy Flourless Chocolate-Pecan Cookies

There are two types of people in the world: those that like their cookies crispy, and those that like them cakey. For all those in the cakey camp, these brownie-like cookies will have you bookmarking the recipe.

20 of 31

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

You'll want to make an extra batch of these bite-sized treats to keep at home. Your family will thank you later.

21 of 31

Peppermint Divinity

Peppermint Divinity
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe: Peppermint Divinity

It isn't a Southern cookie swap without a tin of these airy confections. Similar to meringues, these candies are made with a base of whipped egg whites. Baking these treats is the perfect mother-daughter holiday activity.

22 of 31

Dark Chocolate Sablés

Dark Chocolate Sablés
Iain Bagwell

Recipe: Dark Chocolate Sablés

Treats just as elegant as their name. The chocolate cookies are dipped halfway in—you guessed it—more melted chocolate for an extra-indulgent touch.

23 of 31

Pecan Sandies

Pecan Sandies
Micah A. Leal

Recipe: Pecan Sandies

This crumbly pecan shortbread will have you singing its praises at the next holiday party.

24 of 31

Butterscotch Cookies

Butterscotch Cookies
Micah A. Leal

Remember those butterscotch candies that Grandma always kept stocked in her purse? Imagine that nostalgia, distilled into a cookie.

25 of 31

Peanut Butter-and-Jelly Linzer Cookies

Peanut Butter-and-Jelly Linzer Cookies
Iain Bagwell

Linzer cookies were always a staple in Grandma's dessert spread, and they're still one of our favorite holiday treats. This PB&J version is oh-so-nostalgic.

26 of 31

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies
Caitlin Bensel

Recipe: Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

We grew up making big batches of these cookies in Grandma's kitchen. Now, it's time to pass on the tradition to the next generation.

27 of 31

Caramel-Stuffed Ginger Cookies

Caramel Stuffed Ginger Cookies
Iain Bagwell

Meet the cookies that really pack a punch of flavor. The caramel inside is perfectly melty, complementing the slight spice of the ginger dough.

28 of 31

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Brown Butter Snickerdoodles
pinterest.com

Recipe: Brown Butter Snickerdoodles

Cinnamon and sugar just burst with holiday cheer, and so do these Snickerdoodles. No holiday cookie swap is complete without a plate of these family favorites.

29 of 31

Apricot-Almond Thumbprint Cookies

Apricot-Almond Thumbprints
Hector Sanchez

Rolled in chopped almonds and topped with a dollop of apricot jam, these treats are nutty, sweet, fruity, and irresistible.

30 of 31

5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies

5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 5-Ingredient Sugar Cookies

Running late to the cookie swap? These pretty treats are as easy as can be. Best of all, they'll be ready in under an hour.

31 of 31

Pecan-Cranberry Shortbread

Red Velvet Thumbprints
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Pecan-Cranberry Shortbread

These substantial shortbread triangles are packed with the flavors of the season—cranberry and pecan—to create a surefire holiday charmer.

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