The Best Cookie Cookbooks

It's time to move beyond the basics

Want a cookie? If it's lunchtime, maybe. If it's the holidays, definitely. These seven cookbooks will provide all the inspiration you need to bake the best cookies possible—during the holiday season and beyond.

① Cookie Advent Cookbook, by Barbara Grunes and Virginia Van Vynckt ($17)

For those who want their cookbook to be an interactive game: Each day, from December 1 to Christmas Eve, you open a window on the book's cover to reveal a new cookie, then turn to the recipe inside and enlist your oven to bring it to life. Even if you miss a few days, there's always next year—or an impromptu celebration in March. All months have at least 24 days.

② Christmas Cookie Swap!, by Oxmoor House ($20)

Don't be the one who brings store-bought cookies to the cookie swap. Spiced sorghum snowflake cutouts and sugar cookies decorated like snow globes are much more impressive. And if you don't celebrate Christmas, there are plenty of nondenominational goods as well, because there's never a bad time for tiramisu layer bars, bourbon shortbread truffles and peanut brittle blondies.

Photo: Courtesy of Oxmoor House

③ Dorie's Cookies, by Dorie Greenspan ($35)

Greenspan is—and always has been—a delight, and her latest cookbook exudes the same joy that she does. Get ready to tackle 170 of her best and most creative cookies. There are Triscuits in rugelach dough, Old Bay in slice-and-bakes and, of course, a handful of chocolate chip cookie recipes for the purists.

④ Cookie Love, by Mindy Segal ($25)

Chicago's reigning dessert queen delivers with her ode to all things cookie. There are helpful secrets on how to make your cookies taste better than anyone else's, like by infusing sugar with citrus or lavender, or making your own butter. And, of course, there are recipes, too, like malted milk spritz cookies and PB&J thumbprints that'll steal your heart.

⑤ One Girl Cookies, by Dawn Casale and David Crofton ($22.50)

This collection of recipes from the Brooklyn bakery of the same name is nostalgic baking at its finest. Words like old-fashioned and classic pepper the pages, along with aunts' and grandmothers' proprietary recipes. If you choose only one cookie to bake, let it be the raspberry coconut oat bars. And don't underestimate the power of salt when you do: The authors say, "Some would liken it to bottle rockets in your mouth." 

⑥ Payard Cookies, by François Payard and Anne E. McBride ($30)

Traditional French goods like sablés, palmiers and florentines line the pages of this pastry master's latest book, and offer an alternative to the typical holiday cookie roster. Even if you don't understand the French names of some recipes, useful headnotes and glamorous cookie close-ups tell you all you need to know.

⑦ The Gourmet Cookie Book, by Gourmet Magazine ($18)

This book brings you the best cookie recipe of every year from 1941 to 2009, the life span of the sadly defunct magazine. So not only is it a diverse collection of treats, it's also a dissection of America's baking trends, like honey cookies that triumphed during the World War II sugar ration. And if you needed further proof that what's old is cool again, check out the speculaas cookies from 1971, which fit right in with free airplane snacks and sweet Trader Joe's spread.