The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (2024)

Indulge in mouthwatering cookie recipes from Midwest chefs and other recipe creators, Midwest Living readers, and the experts in our Test Kitchen.

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Lemon Shortbread

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (1)

No cookie celebrates butter better than a proper shortbread. Purists (or Ted Lasso fans) may raise an eyebrow at adding lemon, but we couldn’t resist a little citrus for fun.

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Salty Caramel and Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (2)

These cookies come with a friendly warning: Chewy caramel, toasted pecans and a flurry of sea salt will make you popular. Very popular. A product called caramel bits gives these cookies great flavor and chewy texture. Some supermarkets carry them, and they're widely available online. (Search for Kraft Caramel Bits.) Take care to follow recipe directions when baking: caramel bits melt quickly.

Easy Drop Cookies

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Macarons

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (3)

You can make these beautiful cookies at home—but use a digital kitchen scale for best results, because a precise ratio of dry and liquid ingredients matters with macarons, says Nathan Sivitz of Macaron Bar in Cincinnati. Want more help? Check out Sivitz's step-by-step guide and problem-solving tips.

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Honey Butter Thins

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (4)

We created these slightly chewy cookies for pairing with a mug of tea—and for that, they are simple and perfect. But when we tested the recipe, someone remarked with a wink that they’d also be great as an ice cream sandwich. Pick your pleasure.

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Lemon Sugar Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (5)

The light lemon flavor gives these sparkling sugar cookies a little special twist. Judy Kiburz Harrison's recipe won best-in-class at the Iowa State Fair.

Behind the Scenes at the Iowa State Fair Cookie Competition

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Peanut Butter Temptations

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (6)

Calling all peanut butter fans! These cookies offer double-the-PB compared to the classic peanut blossom cookie with a chocolate kiss on top. And they couldn't be easier.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprint Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (7)

These easy, nostalgic-tasting cookies are a favorite of Stephanie Simmons, the Wisconsin blogger behind Blue Bowl Recipes and author of the cookbook, The One-Bowl Baker. Use your favorite preserves—Stephanie likes raspberry.

Peanut Butter Dessert Recipes

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Black-and-White Cookies

These soft, vanilla-scented cookies—a Jewish deli and bakery staple—are delicious, and easier to frost than you might think. This recipe comes from Larder in Cleveland.

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Jumbo Chocolate-Cherry-Oat Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (9)

Sometimes it's fun to have cookies the size of your face—these are 5 inches in diameter! For smaller cookies that are still impressive, use a 1/3-cup measure to portion the dough for 15 or 16 cookies.

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Caramel Apple Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (10)

Chopped apple, pecans, apple juice, apple pie spice and more combine for a hearty, delicious cookie. The frosting and nuts add just the right touch of sweetness and crunch on top.

Our Favorite Fall Cookie Recipes

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Peanut Better Blossoms

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (11)

In her book Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland, Shauna Sever ramped up the nuttiness and opted for a creamy ganache filling in her take on this Midwest favorite.

Try Shauna Sever's Cracker Toffee

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Mood-Booster Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (12)

Slip yourself one of these insanely rich morsels, which fall somewhere between a truffle and a cookie, on those gray afternoons when only chocolate will do.

The Chocolate Cookie You Need for the Dark Days of Winter

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Blue-Ribbon Ranger Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (13)

Ranger cookies are made with rolled oats and cereal. Judy Kiburz Harrison won best-in-class at the Iowa State Fair for her version, which adds Beer Nuts for a peanutty twist.

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Gramma's Sugar Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (14)

Shauna Sever grew up thinking this beloved recipe was special to her family with its unique additions of vegetable oil, confectioners' sugar and cream of tartar. So you can imagine her bewilderment when she found this exact recipe in a vintage Illinois state cookbook. This recipe is in her book Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland as well.

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Mindy Segal's Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (15)

These to-die-for cookies use special chocolate and two kinds of salt, and they call for an overnight chill—and you can absolutely taste the difference. Because of the expense and time involved, we don't recommend them for any old weekend, but they are incredible for a homemade food gift or other special occasion. The recipe comes from Chicago chef Mindy Segal's cookbook Cookie Love.

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies I've Ever Eaten. Period.

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Coconut Macaroons

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (16)

In all our years of testing, we've rarely found a cookie recipe as crazy-simple as this reliable crowd-pleaser. These cookies taste great au naturel—but dipping the bottoms in chocolate adds easy decadence (and looks eye-catching on a cookie tray).

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Pie Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (17)

At Sister Pie in Detroit, they make these buttery, buttercream- or ganache-filled sandwich cookies from scraps of dough leftover from making pies. You can do the same, storing them in the freezer until you have enough. Or just make a fresh batch of pastry—it's worth it! The recipe comes from cafe owner Lisa Ludwinski's debut cookbook, Sister Pie.

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Lindsay's Chocolate Cafe Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (18)

This cookie, from the former Lindsay's Chocolate Cafe and Coffee House in O'Fallon, Missouri, wowed us with its flavor-packed lineup of ingredients. "These are the best chocolate chip cookies I have ever had! " says one of our website reviewers. "These are wonderful with a glass of cold milk while the cookie is still warm!"

6 Best-Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Miss Rosa Lee's Oatmeal Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (19)

Nothing fancy here; this is the perfectly chewy lunchbox classic, pebbled with walnuts and plump raisins. A combination of vegetable oil and butter ensures a chewy texture and rich flavor. This recipe comes from Patty Pinner's cookbook Sweets.

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Sandbakkels

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (20)

Sandbakkels means "sand tarts" because the cookies (which, flipped over, can double as tiny shells to hold cream and fruit) have such a fine, crisp texture. Find them in Shauna Sever's book Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland.

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Double Chocolate-Cherry Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (21)

Carol Schneider of Wausau, Wisconsin, brought home a blue ribbon when she entered these cookies at the Wisconsin State Fair. The recipe combines white and semisweet chocolate with dried cherries and walnuts.

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Apricot and Orange Blossom Kolacky

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (22)

This tender pastry cookie, a cousin to Jewish rugelach, has Polish origins. In her book Midwest Made: Big, Bold Baking from the Heartland, Shauna Sever's apricot filling nods to Hungary.

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Triple-Flavored Big-Batch Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (23)

Chocolate chips, peanut butter and oatmeal pack these easy drop cookies from a Door County, Wisconsin, bed-and-breakfast. Because this recipe makes so many cookies, you might want to freeze some dough for future use.

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Molasses Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (24)

Crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside: This spice cookie has it all. It's a state fair prizewinning recipe from Catherine Blackwood of Columbus, Ohio.

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Polvorones

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (25)

Polvorones are Mexico's crispy, airy answer to shortbread (you may know them as Mexican wedding cookies). Midwest food writer Shauna Sever coats them in cinnamon sugar for a churro-like effect.

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Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (26)

"I love caramel, nuts and chocolate," says the Mandan, North Dakota, reader who sent this recipe to a Midwest Living cookie contest. Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights were one of the highest-rated cookies in the contest.

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Honey-Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (27)

Chicago chef Myk Banas created these utterly delicious and subtly sophisticated cookies.

Delicious Recipes With Honey

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Valencia Delights

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (28)

Orange and chocolate: a cookie match that tempts everyone to take seconds. This recipe comes from Jill Drury in Milwaukee, who loved to bake cookies with her grandmother. "For the longest time I couldn't decide which cookie I liked best, until one day Grandma had me mix my favorite flavors: chocolate and orange," she says.

Favorite Family Holiday Recipes

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Awesome Chocolate-Peanut Blowout Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (29)

What makes these cookies so awesome? "Special ingredients," says the Marion, Ohio, reader who contributed the recipe, which includes chocolate and peanut butter. "I like them because they're decadent yet so easy to make."

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Strawberry-Coconut Thumbprints

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (30)

Linda Roberts of Rapid City, South Dakota, tops her buttery cream cheese, coconut-coated cookie with fruit jam.

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Marjorie's Chocolate Chip Cookies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (31)

Marjorie Johnson of Robbinsdale, Minnesota, won one of her 2,500 state fair ribbons with this recipe. It's also part of her cookbook, The Road to Blue Ribbon Baking.

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Peanut Butter Munchies

The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (32)

A Hanover, Kansas, reader sent the recipe for these chocolate cookies with peanut butter centers to a Midwest Living cookie contest. A judge described them as "regally rich chocolate with a peanut butter kick."

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The Midwest's Best Cookie Recipes (2024)
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