Can you Actually Name These Christmas Cookies From an Image?



By: Bambi Turner

7 Min Quiz

Image: Ashley / Moment / Getty Images

About This Quiz

If the holiday season sends visions of snickerdoodles and gingerbread men dancing through your head, you're certainly not alone in celebrating the sweet treats of the season. Cookies are a key part of Christmas traditions around the world. While there are plenty of chocolate chip and decorated sugar cookies from which to choose, these classic favorites represent just a tiny segment of the countless cookie varieties being baked, snacked on and given as gifts. 

But have you ever wondered just how these sugary snacks became such a universal part of the season, even by people living on opposite sides of the world? Well, like many other things, it mostly comes down to the economy. A couple of centuries ago, the average person couldn't pay the exorbitantly high prices for cookie ingredients like sugar, butter and many spices or seasonings. That meant cookies were a luxury to be enjoyed only on the most special of occasions. For many Christians (or for groups used to celebrating non-Christian holidays, like Saturnalia in December), Christmas ranked among the most special of days, and one that was certainly worth splurging on. That means our ancestors were busy forming delicious balls of dough and baking batches of cookies around the holidays, just like we do today in the days and weeks leading up to Christmas. 

While many people head straight to the tray holding their favorite cookie variety when they arrive at a holiday party, we bet you can't name all the variations found in this quiz!

In the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I had a chef on staff who was responsible for making this tasty cookie. Do you know what it is?

As early as the 14th century, recipes for gyngerbrede allowed bakers to create spicy toffee-like treats. It was Queen Elizabeth I who popularized the idea of gingerbread men by having her royal gingerbread maker craft the cookies to resemble visitors to the castle. By the 1800s, people around the world were crafting these spiced cookies for the holiday season.


The official cookie of Pennsylvania, what is this treat that is sometimes known as a Nazareth cookie?

People have been making simple sugar cookies for centuries, but the modern version of this treat was created by Moravian settlers in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. Sometimes known as Nazareth cookies, these holiday favorites are cut from dough that has been rolled thin, then baked to crispy, golden perfection. They may be served plain, topped with colorful sugar crystals, or finished with elaborate designs and holiday images spun from frosting.


History books give the credit for this recipe to Ruth Wakefield of Massachusetts. What is this classic creation?

Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie in the 1930s while experimenting with new dessert recipes for her family's Massachusetts restaurant, the Tollhouse Inn. She sold her recipe to Nestle in 1939, and generations of families have used it to make delicious treats for Christmas and year-round ever since.


Whether you fill them with fruit or sweet spreads, the basic recipe for this cookie is the same. Do you know its name?

Roll up a simple ball of sweet cookie dough, use your thumb to create a divot in the top, and you've got yourself a thumbprint cookie. Fill the void with Nutella, chocolate, fruit, or a piece of Christmas candy to create a sweet party favorite. This treat may also be known as a bird's nest or Polish tea cake.


What is this cookie, a recipe for which appeared in a 1916 publication by inventor George Washington Carver?

George Washington Carver was famous for his work with peanuts, and he even worked out a way to use this legume to make cookies. He included three different recipes for peanut butter cookies in a 1916 pamphlet he produced. By the 1930s, the widespread availability of commercial peanut butter had led Pillsbury to include peanut butter cookie recipes in its annual cookbook. And yes, even then, the directions called for pressing the tines of a fork into the dough to make those familiar lines.


Old school New Englanders might call them cry babies, but what is the more familiar name for this cinnamon treat?

Delicious snickerdoodles have been a part of holiday festivities since the 1700s. Some sources suggest that this cinnamon and sugar cookie comes from a German term meaning snail dumpling, as these treats were once baked in the shape of a snail. Others believe it is simply a made-up term whose origins are lost to the ages. Either way, one thing is for sure ... these cookies are tasty, no matter what you call them.


It's pretty much impossible to resist this cookie that is crispy on the outside but soft and chewy inside. Do you think you can identify it?

What's Christmas without a yummy chocolate crinkle or two or 10 to satisfy that sweet tooth? This chewy concoction is made with brownie or cake mix and has appeared in Betty Crocker cookbooks dating back to the first half of the 20th century.


It goes by many names depending on where you live, but it's delicious in any language. What is this holiday favorite?

It's easy to see why people call this powdered sugar-coated sphere a snowball cookie, but did you know it's also known as a Russian tea cake, Mexican wedding cookie, or even simply as a butterball? Whatever you call it, this cookie typically contains butter, sugar, flour and finely chopped nuts. It is rolled in powdered or vanilla sugar for added sweetness.


If you add nuts to this cookie, you've got yourself a pecan sandie, but what is the nut-free version shown here called?

This Scottish native is known as shortbread. It originated in medieval times, when cooks would bake leftover bread dough a second time to create a crumbly nibble. Over time, sugar and butter became the dominant ingredients, and a Christmas cookie classic was created.


Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" would have liked this cookie. What is it called?

You'll think you're in Oz when you taste this yummy creation! Rainbow cookies originated in Italy, as evidenced by their red, white and green color scheme that mimics the Italian flag. The cakey layers are made of almond paste, resulting in a very dense texture. Fruit spreads separate the layers, and the entire thing is dipped in chocolate for the perfect finish.


You won't believe the history behind the cookie shown here, but first, see if you can correctly identify it.

Freda Smith of Ohio came up with peanut butter blossoms for the 1957 Annual Pillsbury Bakeoff competition. While Smith was a finalist, her recipe didn't win. We don't know who won that year, but we do know that it wouldn't be Christmas without Freda Smith's delicious peanut butter and chocolate cookies.


Perfect for Passover because it contains no flour, what is the name of this coconut creation?

Created by Italian monks in the 1500s, the coconut macaroon is a giant pile of sweetened coconut held together by egg whites and baked so that it's crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. To impress Christmas party guests even more, feel free to dip the bottom (or even the entire cookie) into melted chocolate.


New Englanders might call this cookie a Joe Frogger, but what is its more widely known name?

In the 1700s, Joe Frogger, a fisherman from Massachusetts, would take molasses cookies to sea because the molasses syrup kept them fresh longer than other baked goods. His recipe spread, and by 1884, molasses cookies were included in a cookbook published by the Boston Cooking School. Today these treats are flavored with spices and often topped with sweet white icing.


Do you think you can choose the correct name for this cookie, which perfectly balances sweet and tart flavors?

The white chocolate chips and bright red cranberries perfectly capture the colors of Christmas, bringing to mind images of freshly fallen snow, red holly berries, or even Santa's cheery red suit. The best thing about this Christmas cookie is that the addition of cranberries not only gives it a tart flavor, but it also makes it feel like a healthy snack choice because hey, it's fruit, right?


This cookie shares its name with Ohio State's sports teams, and also with a common tree in that state. What is it?

Ohio is famous for a dessert known as a buckeye, a peanut butter and chocolate wonder inspired by the nuts that fall from the state's many buckeye trees. Some folks take this concept up a notch at Christmastime, transforming the candy into a chocolate cookie or brownie with a smooth peanut butter center.


It's a traditional Portuguese treat known as suspiros, but what is the American name for this classic cookie?

People in Portugal have been enjoying the wonders of suspiros for years, but it wasn't until immigrants brought these treats to New England in the 1800s that Americans got in on the trend. Made from delicate, whipped swirls of egg whites, sugar and salt, these meringue-like creations are known as snowdrops in the U.S.


This cookie's name comes from a German term that means "to squirt." Can you guess what it is?

Spritzen are a feast for the eyes as well as for the taste buds. Very popular in Scandinavian countries, these cookies are made using a press that pushes the dough into a seasonal or festive shape. They're made with plenty of butter and sugar for a flavor similar to shortbread.


Name this Bavarian treat known for its anise flavor and stamped design.

The springerle originated in Bavaria in the 1400s. Initially made for the holiday, Julfest, these cookies were designed to represent a sacrifice to the gods by poor people who couldn't afford to sacrifice livestock as the rich could. They can be round or square and feature designs stamped on the top using carved rolling pins or specialty molds.


Known for its crescent shape and costly ingredients, name this cookie with Sicilian roots.

The iconic Italian Christmas cookie originated in Sicily hundreds of years ago. Once available only to the rich because of their expensive ingredients, which include both almond paste and pine nuts, these cookies feature a crescent shape and a yummy amaretto flavor that's perfect with coffee or cocoa.


You've seen pine nuts in salads and pasta, but in a cookie? What is this dessert that features tiny pine nuts as a key ingredient?

Who knew that the prime ingredient in pesto could also make for a wonderful Christmas cookie? Sicilians, that's who. They're the ones who came up with the pignoli, a cookie made from almond paste, sugar and pine nuts. Typically free of flour, this treat is not too sweet and takes its name from the Italian term for pine nuts.


A traditional part of German Christmas celebrations, pick the correct name for this heart-shaped cookie.

Way back in the 1400s, Emperor Friedrich III won the hearts of his people by giving out hundreds of Lebkuchen to children in his kingdom during the holidays. Today, many German families make these heart-shaped cookies, which are similar to gingerbread, as a way to celebrate Christmas.


Ideal for dipping in a hot drink, this cookie has been around since the days of ancient Rome. Name this holiday treat.

People have been chowing down on biscotti for hundreds of years. Once consumed primarily because its hard texture meant that it traveled well, this cookie later became a treat even among non-travelers as people began dipping it in sweet wine or espresso. Today, it's just right for dipping in a cup of hot cocoa after you've finished opening your presents on Christmas morning.


Do you know the name of this cookie, which takes its name from a city in Austria?

Named for the city of Linz, Austria, Linzer cookies have been around since at least the 1650s. Very much like what we would call a thumbprint cookie today, they are made from butter, almonds and spices. Black currant jam was once used as the primary filling, but many people now use raspberries instead, especially outside of Europe.


What is this spiced cookie, which people have been enjoying at Christmas since the 14th century?

Given that gingerbread men have been around since the 1300s or so, it's no surprise that gingersnaps also have a long history. While they contain many of the same spices and ingredients as gingerbread men, they are thin and crispy, rather than soft and chewy like their human-shaped counterparts. Created in Britain, these cookies are now eaten all over the world, but their traditional spiced flavor is mainly associated with Christmas.


Do you think you can identify this delicate, lacy cookie that is known for having a toffee-like flavor?

Named after the city of Florence, Italy, Florentines are not only delicious, but they are also easy on the eyes thanks to their lacy appearance. Made from caramelized sugar and nuts, Florentines were invented around the 1500s. Modern versions may use traditional almonds and nuts, though some stick with other options, like fruit or chocolate, for added sweetness.


These cookies originated in Moravia, but they are absolutely huge in Texas thanks to Czech immigrants. Do you know what they are called?

The kolache has European roots, but was brought to Texas by Czech immigrants in the 1800s and has since become a popular treat in the U.S. This croissant-like pastry features folded dough containing a sweet surprise. The filling may consist of simple nuts or poppy seeds, as well as jam, chocolate, or other delicious options.


No pepperoni here ... just holiday cookie magic. Can you ID this Italian creation?

There's a reason the pizzelle cookie has a name that reminds you of pizza; both are inspired by the Italian term for "round and flat." Unlike pizza, however, the pizzelle contains no tomatoes or cheese. Instead, this thin and crispy waffle-like cookie is made of sugar, flour and spices. It is typically pressed in an iron and traditionally featured patterns and even the crests of wealthy families.


Known as a rosette in Sweden, can you name this crispy fried cookie that's sweetened with sugar or cinnamon?

Move over chocolate chips! South Americans celebrate the season with bunuelos. These crispy creations are made by dipping metal forms coated with dough into bubbling hot oil. Once the dough forms a delicate design, it's pulled from the oil and sweetened with a glaze, a sprinkle of sugar, or even a side of chocolate frosting for dipping. The Swedish version of this treat is called a rosette, and it's surprisingly similar to its southern cousin.


Its name comes from an Arabic term meaning "luxury," but what is the sweet sandwich cookie shown in this image?

A Latin American Christmas isn't complete without alfajores. These crumbly cornstarch-based cookies are stacked together with a dulce de leche filling for a flavor no one can resist. This cookie was developed by the Moors, who eventually passed it to the Spanish, who took it to South America during the age of colonization.


Created in the Piedmont area of northern Italy, these cookies are also called lady kisses. What is their traditional name?

Is there any sweeter way to celebrate the holiday than with a pair of hazelnut cookies separated only by a layer of chocolate ganache? If there is, we haven't found it. These tiny cookies get their name from the fact that the two layers come together like a pair of lips puckered for a kiss. Baci di dama roughly means lady kisses in Italian.


What's the common name for these cookies, which are made by layering different colors of dough and rolling them into a tube before slicing?

Pinwheels are a great way to bring color to your holiday dessert spread, and they're surprisingly easy to make. Just layer different colors of dough on top of one another, roll into a tight tube, then chill in the fridge. Slice into circles and bake to create cookies that are bright, colorful and, most importantly, delicious!


These fun creations are popular enough that they've made it into the Betty Crocker cookbooks of the 21st century. What is this creative sweet treat?

Frosty the Snowman has been around for decades, but it wasn't until the '00s that melted snowman cookies became a common Christmas staple. Made using a simple sugar cookie as a base, they're frosted with cookie icing and topped with a marshmallow to represent the sad snowman, then decorated with accessories like stick arms, eyes and even a top hat made from a peanut butter cup or chunk of chocolate.


This cookie is sometimes called an elephant ear, but do you know its more traditional name?

A product of France, palmiers are now a part of Christmas celebrations around the world. Made from puff pastry rolled into the shape of a palm leaf, the creation is then coated in sugar and cooked until the crystals caramelize. The result is a unique treat that's buttery, flaky and just right for pleasing guests at your holiday party.


Many cultures have a version of these round spicy cookies, but do you know what they are called in much of the U.S.?

Pfeffernusse are native to Germany, but were made popular in the U.S. by the Mennonites. Made from flour, cloves, sugar and plenty of spices, these flattened dough balls are also known as pepernoten among the Dutch, and may simply be referred to as pepper nuts or spice balls.


What is this cookie that was created in Poland and whose name means "little twists" in Yiddish.

Rugelach look a bit like the flaky French croissant, but they are quite different. Created in Europe, these traditional treats made from rolled triangles of dough have long been a part of holiday celebrations. They are often made with cream cheese or sour cream and may be filled with chocolate, cinnamon, nuts, fruit, seeds or countless other ingredients.


It roughly translates to "small oven" in French, but do you know the name of this classic sweet treat?

Back when all baking in Europe was done in huge brick ovens, chefs would use the hours that the oven was cooling down after baking bread to prepare more delicate goods, such as petit fours. These cookie or cake-like creations are as beautiful as they are delicious. Designed to be eaten in one or two bites, they consist of marzipan, fondant, fruit and buttery crusts, and come in countless varieties to please any palate.


Basically a lighter form of shortbread, what is this cookie that is made without eggs or baking soda?

Do you want to give guests at your holiday party a cookie that melts in their mouths? Try making meltaways, which consist of ingredients like butter, cornstarch, sugar, vanilla and flour. Unlike your standard sugar cookie, they require no baking powder or eggs, which gives them an unusually light texture and consistency. For extra flavor, add fruit, pecans, peppermint or chocolate to this classic recipe.


Created in Bavaria as vanillekipferl, can you name these traditional cookies shaped like a crescent moon?

German vanilla crescents are made using butter, flour, vanilla and sugar, as well as a healthy amount of walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts. Formed into crescents, they are rumored to be a symbol of Hungary's victory over Turkey in battle hundreds of years ago. Because the butter used in this recipe must be at just the right consistency to maintain the crescent shape, these cookies are notoriously difficult to make, and they might not be the best choice for novice bakers.


Trader Joe's makes cookies and jars of sweet spread inspired by these traditional European windmill cookies. Do you know what they are called?

Speculaas are traditional holiday cookies in Belgium and the Netherlands. They are known for their windmill design. Thin and crispy, these cookies are traditionally made with plenty of spice and were also made in designs reminiscent of the holidays, including images of Santa. If you want to try this treat and can't get to Europe, try Trader Joe's version. They not only made a speculoos cookie, but they also sell jars of cookie butter inspired by this classic recipe.


Would you like a Christmas cookie that's folded like a taco or rolled like a taquito? Then you need these traditional European treats.

French tuile cookies are very thin and crisp for the perfect Christmas crunch. These round cookies are curved or curled up to form a cigar shape, which may be called a pirouette. Both shapes make the cookie ideal for use as a garnish in ice cream or with a slice of cake. The Spanish have their version, which is known as a tejas. The French and Spanish names for this treat come from the word "tile," and they are inspired by the curved shape of the cookie.


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