If there’s one thing that’s clear about the holiday season, it’s that we’ve all got a License to Treat. This month is no time for dieting, but rather for enjoying the company of others—with a handful of cookies, obviously. The cookie exchange is de rigeur this time of year, thank heavens. So do the world a favour and join us. Bake a few, share with friends, bake some more, and be sure to keep your cookie jar stocked at all times.

These are the treats you want on hand for unexpected guests and keeping everyone grinning. FYI, in case it hasn’t occurred to you, there’s no better hostess gift, too! Keep a pretty box around for packing up the fruits of your baking labour, and you’ll never arrive empty-handed. Well, maybe you will. If you eat them on the way.

1. MUM’S WORLD CLASS CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES  The Brazen Cookie Exchange Mums: ChocolateChipCookies We’re all positive that Mom makes the best chocolate chip cookies in the universe. So what makes Sandi Allen’s mother’s cookies stand out? They’re simple, easy, and hearken to a simpler time. Clearly, when cookies are baked with a Mother’s Love, they just taste way better. We can’t wait to try these.

Get the Recipe: Canadian Blog House

2. NO-BAKE PEANUT BUTTER CRUNCHIES The Brazen Cookie Exchange: Peanut-Butter-Crunchies-620x349 You had us at ‘no baking’. Just kidding. This is a cookie exchange. But seriously, these make us want to pull them right off the Internet (so we are). Plus, there’s peanut butter, so protein, so they’re actually healthy. And, depending on the brand of corn flakes and other ingredients you use, they can be gluten-free, too. It’s a miracle on a plate.

Get the Recipe: Merry About Town

3. CHOCOLATE MINT COOKIES  The Brazen Cookie Exchange: Chocolate Mint CookiesSoft, fudgey, minty, oh my. These pretty little gobs of happiness want to have a party in your mouth. And your tastebuds are invited. Better whip up a double batch. Not only are they the perfect accent to any cookie tray but they’re also just what the doctor ordered for what we’re dubbing Netflix Cookie Night (Wondering what to watch while you munch? Watch these.).

Get the Recipe: 365 Days of Easy Recipes

4. LAVENDER SHORTBREAD COOKIES  Brazen Cookie Exchange: Lavender Shortbread Cookies These ain’t your granny’s shortbread cookies, that’s for sure. In fact, they’re so high falutin’ you might have to wear a fascinator as you nibble a corner with your Earl Grey. The fragrant purple lavender adds the je ne sais quoi that makes these little squares as giftable as it gets.

Get the Recipe: SugarLoveSpices

5. SUE’S SHORTBREAD COOKIES Brazen Cookie Exchange: Sues Shortbread Cookies We’re popping our cherry on this Christmas cookie classic. Is any holiday platter complete without a few of these rich treats? The best part? Use cookie cutters, sprinkles and other decorations to make each cookie unique, aka so there’s no way you can screw it up.

Get the Recipe: Ottawa Mommy Club 

6. PUMPKIN PECAN BISCOTTI Brazen Cookie Exchange: Pumpkin Pecan Biscotti Hang on. We need a moment to recover from this picture: We’re fireside. The snow is falling from the sky like spun sugar. We’re holding a steaming mug of coffee whilst dipping in some incredible nut-filled, chocolate-topped biscotti. We take a delicious, crunchy bite. Ok,we’re ready. What? Now we have to hold on?

Get the Recipe: Natural Girl Modern World

7. GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES Ginger Molasses Cookies Putting it out there that these are one Brazen Hubby’s favourites by far. Chewy, gingery, yum to the max. They’re the best, even without any chocolate. Making one batch for us, one for them. And another for us. Grab our stretch pants, would ya?

Get the Recipe: Natural Girl Modern World

8. VEGAN MERINGUE COOKIES Vegan Meringue Cookies Is it possible to make meringue without egg? Apparently so, and since dietary requirements are all the rage, you need this recipe now. We are intrigued, frankly. See ya. We’re off to create ourselves some airy bites of cloud.

Get the Recipe: It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken

9. ICE BOX CARDAMOM COOKIES Cardamom Butter Icebox Cookies Besides the fact that these cookies are delectable, wanna know the best part? You make the dough ahead of time, freeze it, and then when you’ve been caught with an empty cookie jar, you take them out, cut, and bake. You’ll never be without cookies again. Emergency averted. You’re welcome.

Get the Recipe: MBA Mama Musings

10. CHOCOLATE CINNAMON HEART COOKIES (VEGAN) Chocolate Cinnamon Heart Cookies We’ve fallen in love and we can’t get up. No, really. These are made with spelt flour so they’re actually healthy. And they have cinnamon, which is good for you. And chocolate, which is good for the soul. And they are shaped like hearts so they spell L.O.V.E.

Get the Recipe: Emma Eats

11. BLACK AND WHITE COOKIES WITH MARMALADE Black and White Cookies with Orange Marmalade Excuse me, Miss. Check these out. They’re the Colin Firth of cookies: sexy, highbrow, but with a hint of naughty hidden just below the surface. Take a bite to find a perfect contrast between the icing’s sweetness and the tartness of the marmalade. Make this cookie your destiny.

Get the Recipe: I Say Nomato

12. RED VELVET KRINKLE COOKIES (VEGAN) Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies Let’s lay our cards on the table. If you give us anything red velvet, we’re your friends for life. These melt-in-your-mouth morsels are ours, all the way. Especially because they’re like us: crisp on the outside and all soft underneath. We say keep them on hand at all times. There is no situation that can’t be saved by a pretty cookie.

Get the Recipe: It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken 12 delicious cookie recipes to make with love for your holiday cookie exchange Got a favourite cookie recipe? Share it with us on our Facebook page or in the Brazen Insiders. Do you need our home address? We take deliveries.

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