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33 Cookies to Make When Your Pantry Is Bare

All of these basic cookie recipes use five ingredients or less but still have five-star flavor.

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Chocolate Caramel Wafers

To keep my holiday cooking quick, I’ve come to rely on fast recipes like this one. The crunchy-chewy tidbits are our youngster’s favorite.

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“I live in Missouri, but many family recipes come from New Zealand where I was born. My parents moved there when I was a year old, so I have a “Down Under” heritage. These special-occasion cookies bring back warm memories of my childhood, and I’m going to make sure they’re passed on to the next generation in my family…no matter where they live!” —Allen Swenson, Camdenton, Missouri

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Chocolate Almond Drops

“So much rich, chocolaty flavor, so little time! My trufflelike cookies are deceptively easy to make and look so elegant on a party tray.” —Betsy King, Duluth, Minnesota. File this one under sweet and salty snack recipes you’ll want to make over and over.

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Raspberry Coconut Balls

“My family loves Hostess Zingers, especially the raspberry flavor coated with coconut. So we came up with this treat to make for school bake sales. We can make about four dozen in 30 minutes, and they sell out fast!” —Pam Clark, Wheaton, Illinois

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Raspberry Almond Strips

Get ready to pour yourself a cup of tea, because you won’t be able to resist sampling one of these cookies. Almonds add taste and texture to the simple strips that are dressed up with raspberry pie filling. If the oven isn’t your thing, here are 30 no-bake recipes you can make tonight.

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Peanut Butter Cookies

“It is amazing how much flavor these simple peanut butter cookies without brown sugar have. I make them very often because I always have the ingredients on hand.” —Maggie Schimmel, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin.

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Tender Pecan Logs

“Folks always ask me to make these tender nutty logs. They’re not overly sweet and pair perfectly with a steaming cup of coffee or tea.” —Joyce Beck, Gadsden, Alabama

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Chewy Coconut Macaroons

“These chewy cookies are my husband’s favorites, so he requests them often. I like to make the macaroons on cold winter days and keep them in an airtight bowl on the kitchen counter. They never last long!” —Peggy Key, Grant, Alabama. Looking for more recipes? Here are 8 winning bake sale recipes.

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Mexican Wedding Cakes

“As part of a Mexican tradition, I tucked these tender cookies into small gift boxes for the guests at my sister’s wedding a few years ago. Most folks gobbled them up before they ever got home!” —Sarita Johnston, San Antonio, Texas

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Cranberry Pecan Cookies

“These are so tasty and simple to prepare! Each delightful little cookie is loaded with cranberries, nuts, and vanilla, giving them the taste of a treat that’s been slaved over.” —Louise Hawkins, Lubbock, Texas. Also, what’s so special about 350 degrees?

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Sweetheart Cookies

These rounds filled with fruit preserves were blue-ribbon winners at the county fair two years running.

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Buttery Almond Cookies

“My husband loves these cookies,” says Elaine Anderson of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. “They have an old-fashioned flavor that goes well with a cup of tea. Plus they’re simple to put together.” As simple as these easy bake sale treats anyone can make? You be the judge.

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Homemade Chocolate Shortbread

“This recipe has been in my files for a long time…probably from when I first learned to bake. Any chocolate lover will like these melt-in-your-mouth cookies. I make them year-round with variations. They’re even richer with a thin coat of icing or as a sandwich cookie with frosting in the middle.” —Sarah Bueckert, Austin, Manitoba

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Peppermint Puff Pastry Sticks

“I wanted to impress my husband’s family with something you’d expect to find in a European bakery, and these chocolaty treats are what I came up with. The flaky pastry melts in your mouth.” —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon.

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Buttery 3-Ingredient Shortbread Cookies

“With only a few ingredients, these butter shortbread cookies are so simple to prepare.” —Pattie Prescott, Manchester, New Hampshire

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Pumpkin-Spice Sugar Cookies

“I’ve been making these quick and easy cookies for over 20 years. They’re the first to go at our annual church bake sale.”—Paula Marchesi, Lenhartsville, Pennsylvania. Pumpkin spice is a fall baking staple—but here are 10 fresh pumpkin recipes you’ve never tried before.

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Chocolate Amaretti

“With a hint of almond, these chewy treats are similar to those sold in Italian bakeries. My husband and children are always excited when I include these in my holiday baking lineup.” —Kathy Long, Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin. Here’s the most popular dessert the year you were born—a harbinger of fate, if we’ve ever seen one.

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I”t takes just two ingredients to make these impressive but easy-to-do French pastries, which are often called palm leaves.” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Brownie Crackles

“These chocolate chips and brownie mix cookies pack a rich chocolate taste while remaining simple to make. Rolling the dough in powdered sugar gives them their inviting crackled appearance.” —Ellen Govertsen, Wheaton, Illinois. (Don’t forget the secret ingredient for the best brownies ever.)

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Whipped Shortbread

“These whipped shortbread Christmas cookies melt in your mouth. Mostly I make them for the holidays, but I’ll also prepare them year-round for wedding showers and ladies’ teas.” —Jane Ficiur, Bow Island, Alberta

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Dipped Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

“You’ll love to give tins of these chocolate-coated cookies to your lucky friends. The shortcut holiday recipe is almost too simple to believe! Here’s how to make peanut butter cookies without eggs.” —Jackie Howell, Gordo, Alabama. You won’t even need baking soda for this one—or these baking soda-less cookie recipes, either.

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Colorful Candy Bar Cookies

“No one will guess these sweet treats with the candy bar center start with store-bought dough. Roll them in colored sugar or just dip the tops for even faster assembly. Instead of using miniature candy bars, slice regular size Snickers candy bars into 1-inch pieces for the centers. ” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen

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Mimosa Butter Cookies

“You can add many different flavors to butter cookies to make them your own. Try an alternate type of citrus zest, or add an alternate liquid to change things up.” —Sara Lark, Raton, New Mexico

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Snickers Cookies

“Though you wouldn’t know by looking, you’ll find a sweet surprise inside these Snickers cookies. My mother got this recipe from a fellow teacher at her school. It’s a great way to dress up refrigerated cookie dough.” —Kari Pease, Conconully, WA

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Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

“When my mother (who’s now a great-grandmother) gave me this no-flour, gluten-free peanut butter cookie recipe about 15 years ago, I was skeptical, because it calls for only three ingredients (and no flour?!). But since then I’ve never had a failure. For these gluten-free peanut butter cookies—3 ingredients are all you need!” —Maggie Schimmel, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Try out the rest of grandma’s classics!

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Shortbread Hearts

“These flaky cookies melt in your mouth. Dipped in chocolate, they look festive.”—Barbara Birk, St. George, Utah.

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Lemon Snowflakes

“You’ll need just four items to whip up these delightful cookies. Confectioners’ sugar highlights the cracked tops to give them their snowflake appearance.” —Linda Barry, Dianna, Texas. See how they stack up against these six other lemon-flavored desserts.

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Surefire Sugar Cookies

“You can invite kids to help make these easy treats. Sometimes I melt white coating instead of chocolate chips because it can be tinted to match the season.” —Victoria Zmarzley-Hahn, Northhampton, Pennsylvania

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S’mores No-Bake Cookies

“There’s no easier way to get that s’mores goodness in your kitchen. Mix these cookies together and chill till you’re ready to share.” —Taste of Home Test Kitchen. Definitely a more creative recipe in the bunch—like these cupcake ideas so crazy only a madman could invent them.

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Scottish Shortbread

“Scottish settlers first came to this area over 150 years ago. My mother herself was Scottish, and—as with most of my favorite recipes—she passed this on to me. I make a triple batch of it each year at Christmas, to enjoy and as gifts.” —Rose Mabee, Selkirk, Manitoba

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Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

“Baking peanut butter kiss cookies to share doesn’t get much easier than this. Stir together four ingredients. Bake. Top with a kiss. Done! Your family will love this Hershey’s peanut butter blossom cookie recipe.” —Dee Davis, Sun City, Arizona

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Chocolate Fudge Peanut Butter Cookies

“Kids will love making these easy cookies with mom, dad or the grandparents. They’re dense and rich and absolutely perfect for dunking!” —Elaine Stephens, Carmel, Indiana

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Confetti Cake Batter Cookies

“Mom and I took up cake decorating. Funfetti was our favorite cake, so we used the mix to make cutout cookies. Plain or decorated, they’re a fave at parties.” —Danielle DeMarco, Basking Ridge, New Jersey

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Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home