Ready for the ultimate holiday cookie party?
On Dec. 10, join Dylan Dreyer as she hosts a marathon of "The Great American Holiday Cookie Swap" on the TODAY show's streaming channel TODAY All Day. Chefs from all 50 states (plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico) will be sharing a unique cookie recipe that represents their favorite state — and we've got all the recipes right here!
Fancy a buckeye from Ohio? Then don't miss Christina Tosi's tasty chocolate-peanut butter diamonds. Favor fruit in your desserts? Try David Rose's Georgia peach cobbler cookies with a bourbon glaze.
Throughout the event, TODAY All Day will be raising awareness for Feeding America.
About Feeding America
Feeding America is one of the country's largest organizations fighting food insecurity with over 200 member food banks feeding millions of people annually through over 60,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and various local organizations.
At the onset of the global pandemic, Feeding America's member food banks reported that demand was up 50%, on average, nationwide. According to the organization, nearly 34 million people, including more than 9 million children, are currently facing food insecurity.
The Great American Holiday Cookie Swap
Get ready, get set ... it's time to get baking!
Born and raised in New York, TV host Adam Richman is celebrating his home state and his Jewish heritage with a new take on hamantaschen. Though these cookies are traditionally made for the Jewish holiday of Purim, they are delicious any time of year and the apple pie filling makes them a perfect cookie to honor the Big Apple.
Fluffernutters are an iconic New England sandwich, so "Top Chef" alum Tiffani Faison is taking that classic combo of peanut butter and marshmallow and putting into a cookie.
Zoë Francois of "Zoe Bakes" allows the naturally sweet flavors raisins and maple to shine with her beautifully shaped holiday cookies. These cookies are a tribute to her favorite raisin biscuits from the 1970s.
"It wasn't Christmas without these cookies. My great Aunt Tillie would always bring them and we'd sit around the table after a big dinner and dip them in coffee," says Dylan Dreyer about her favorite anise-flavored Christmas treat.
"With some red food coloring and white chocolate chips, these cookies taste like sweet victory!" says avid sports fan chef Elijah Milligan, founder of Cooking for the Culture. "And we all know Philadelphia is one of the greatest sports cities in the world."
Delaware might be known as the “Small Wonder,” but these cookies are big, bold and full of personality, plus they pay homage to the state's blue and gold colors. Skyler Bouchard's fluffy, sweet corn cookies stuffed with a bright blueberry pie filling may taste like summer but they'll be a welcome treat at any winter gathering.
Every year, John Kanell loves decorating the Christmas tree with his family, so he's celebrating Connecticut with an edible centerpiece. This 3D treat may look difficult to put together, but with the right tools, everyone in the family will be able to make a little work of art.
This unique sweet originated in Portland, Maine. Traditionally made with mashed potatoes, Erin French's version uses mashed parsnips for a tasty twist. These sweet little rounds are packed with coconut and finished off with flaky sea salt.
"In New Hampshire, we spend a lot of time out in the woods," says Bearded Baking Co. founder Jon Buatti. "Whether it's a hike, a long walk in the foliage or just a bonfire in the backyard, these campfire cookies will bring you right back to being a kid roasting marshmallows over the fire with your friends and family."
This cookie recipe created by Bakers Against Racism founder Paola Velez pays homage to Rock Creek Park in the nation's capital city. Marshmallows represent white oak trees, the trails are represented by earthy walnut pieces and, of course, cherries (the city's official fruit) are sprinkled in for good measure.
Nick DiGiovanni celebrates his Italian roots with a classic cookie recipe he first learned from his grandmother. The brown butter brings an elevated, multilayered flavor to classic biscotti. Enjoy these cookies with breakfast, as an afternoon snack or with a post-dinner coffee.
"Louisville, Kentucky, my father’s hometown, is known for its wonderful desserts, bourbon and much more," says boxing champ and lifestyle expert Laila Ali. "I decided to combine the ingredients that my father loved to create a Louisville-inspired cookie. The smell of these cookies baking in the oven brings back so many memories."
Duff Goldman has been running Charm City Cakes out of Baltimore since 2002 and loves making this unique cookie that was invented in Maryland over 150 years ago. The Berger is a hybrid between a cake and a cookie that's piled high with fudgy frosting. This homemade version is the best of all worlds because it's like a frosted cake you can enjoy without a plate and fork.
"One of my all-time favorite desserts is my mom’s oatmeal raisin cookies. Truthfully, I enjoy these any time of year, not just the holidays. I’ve added some chopped pecans for a nice southern flair, but I promise you can’t go wrong with Betty Jo Melvin’s oatmeal raisin cookies," says TODAY's Craig Melvin.
Chocolate, bacon and cherry soda? It works! Maria Kemp uses bacon candied in Cheerwine, a cherry soda that's been a North Carolina staple since 1917, to amp up classic chocolate chip cookies.
As a kid in Mississippi, Elizabeth Heiskell grew up with pecan trees all over her yard. When the pecans started to fall, her family would gather them up to sell or make a variety of tasty treats. These tassies celebrate the rich, buttery nut that's a staple in so many desserts.
Texans love their pecans. It's actually the official state nut. Even the pecan pie traces its origins all the way back to Texas. Tiffany Derry says her family's recipe is the perfect treat for the busy holiday season because it's fast and easy so it can feed a lot of eager partygoers.
Chef Jonathan Harrison uses the coconutty, citrusy and boozy flavors made famous by a dessert in Harper Lee’s "To Kill A Mockingbird" to make a decadent, cream-filled sandwich. This chewy, flavor-packed cookie features bourbon-soaked golden raisins, toasted pecans stuffed with a spiced eggnog buttercream.
The smell and taste of a great peach cobbler can make anybody happy says chef David Rose, who stands by the power of this classic dessert. He tops these fluffy cookies with peach-infused bourbon glaze.
Arkansas is known as the "Natural State" due in large part to its scenic landscapes studded with majestic pine trees. Lifestyle blogger Jennifer Maune makes pine cone-shaped gingerbread cookie sandwiches stuffed with a decadent chai cream cheese frosting to celebrate her home state.
Southern staple divinity, a nougat-like treat, is traditionally made with egg whites, but by swapping in aquafaba, also known as the liquid found in canned chickpeas, chef and restaurateur Danny Bowien makes this classic dessert totally vegan. "My mom would often add pecans from the tree in our backyard to her chewy squares, and when I make it, I add sweet, buttery pine nuts, too," says Bowien.
Chef Torrece Gregoire pays homage to two popular Virginia exports with her peanut and jelly thumbprint cookies. "Virginia is for peanut lovers and wine lovers," says the private chef.
No dessert speaks to South Florida more than the perfect Key lime pie. Chef Michelle Bernstein created her own signature recipe for this classic dessert at her first chef job and she still uses it today. Now you can enjoy tart and zesty Key lime curd without having to make a whole pie.
There’s no holiday season in Louisiana without sweet potatoes. Vallery Lomas' cookie recipe celebrates the sensational starch. The sweet potatoes add a muffin-like texture to the cookies, while the brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice accentuate their beautifully earthy flavor.
This recipe is a riff on the MoonPie, a chocolate-coated sandwich cookie from the Volunteer State. Maneet Chauhan combines a few of her favorite flavors from India, like warming garam masala and rose petals, to elevate this sweet sandwich staple.
On Mike Costello and Amy Dawson's farm, winter is the end of harvest season, which means preserves and canned goods are the stars of their kitchen this time of year. Buckwheat flour mixed into the dough adds a nice earthy flavor, while a sprinkling of maple sugar and finely ground black walnuts both add unique texture.
Chef Chef Marc Quiñones infuses the flavors of the classic Puerto Rican drink made with coconut and warming spices into a crumbly coconut topped with a creamy icing.
"When I was in high school, we had the best lunch around," says country legend Martina McBride. "The whole school rejoiced when we had no-bake cookies. I have added peanut butter to these over the years because I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate." Since there's no bake time, these sweet treats are perfect if you're on-the-go ... or on tour!
Oats, dried Michigan cherries, pistachios and Great Lakes maple syrup make this less sugary cookie recipe from David Burtka shine. Burtka, who loves making Christmas cookies with his kids, says these cookies are perfect for breakfast or as a dessert.
"Most of my family is from Ohio and I’ve always been a huge fan of buckeyes. But who doesn’t love the classic combo of peanut butter with chocolate? I’ve taken the traditional Midwestern treat and given it a little more texture with crisped rice and a silky topping," says Christina Tosi of her whimsical take on a Midwest staple.
These cookies are a one-bite take on warm Garrett's popcorn, a snack chef Lovely Jackson and her family would enjoy every year to kick off the holiday season in Chicago. These soft and chewy cookies play up the salty and sweet flavors found in the iconic cheese and caramel popcorn tins.
After sledding on her snowy backyard hill during Minnesota winters, Ariana Feygin and her siblings would all enjoy a big mugs of hot chocolate. Feygin says they loved using candy canes to stir the hot cocoa and always topped the mugs with plenty of marshmallows.
This cookie sandwich from Kelsey Murphy is a nod to two Hoosier state staples: a pork tenderloin sandwich and a sugar cream pie. Think maple-bacon doughnut, but in cookie form.
This funky fudge represents the dairy farming days from Jennifer Barney's childhood growing up in Wisconsin. This recipe isn't just adorable, the tasty spots have different flavors! The cream cheese makes the white fudge slightly tangy, while the chocolate spots shine through.
Gooey butter cake is a classic and famous St. Louis dessert that embodies the sweetness of Missourians. These creamy and indulgent cookies are tender, rich and have a slightly gooey center. Sarita Gelner loves making this chew cookies with her favorite kitchen helpers: her daughters.
"Scotcheroos are the quintessential Iowa celebration treat," says "Top Chef" alum Kevin Scharpf of Brazen Open Kitchen. "Growing up, you could almost guarantee that there’d be scotcheroos at any potluck or gathering of people that required snacks or treats. This Scotch-a-rookie recipe is a reimagined version of the popular dessert, with just a little twist."
This cookie recipe from pastry shop owner Angela Garbacz highlights two grains that are native to Nebraska: sorghum and corn. The unique flours in this recipe yield an incredibly tender cookie that is more similar to a brownie in texture.
In North Dakota, the cuisine is heavily influenced by different cultures, including Scandinavia. These little waffle cones, or krumkake, originally hail from Norway. They might look fancy, but if you can make waffles, you'll be able to make these adorable cookies.
Chris Hanmer first tried a variation of this cookie at the first Ritz-Carlton where he worked. Adding a hint of spice and acid from the cherry to the salty, buttery cookie lends a kuchen-like quality to this delicate sandwich cookie.
The Southwest and West Coast
Rolling the cookies in sanding sugar gives classic snickedoodles a festive upgrade in a twist on one of Savannah Guthrie's favorite cookie recipes. Adding cinnamon directly into the dough also amps up the flavor in every bite.
Every year, chef Marie Yniguez and her family bake up a big batch of these delicately spiced cookies, which just happen to be the state's official cookie. Modified by Yniguez's aunt, this recipe will make sure you have plenty of these little treats to go around.
This cookie pays homage to the Beehive State with homemade honeycomb candy that brings in a little fiery kick, thanks to a cayenne. The honeycomb can be made ahead of time and used to flavor a variety of cookie dough bases, including chocolate chip, peanut butter or sugar.
When it comes to sweet treats, what happens in Vegas, really happens in Vegas! These fun and festive casino chocolate chip cookies will add a little Sin City flair to any party. If you've never worked with fondant before, don't worry, chef Angela Sweetser says practice makes perfect.
Californians love their citrus trees. That's why these cookies are the perfect California-inspired holiday cookie recipe, says blogger Gaby Dalkin. The lemon extract really bump up the flavor and turn a traditional sugar cookie into a totally magical treat.
This decadent Linzer cookie is inspired by the best of the Treasure State, says chef and TV host Eduardo Garcia. Mountain huckleberry jam is sandwiched between pine nut-infused biscuits, all topped with a confetti of wildflowers and precious metals (represented by edible silver), making for a truly unique cookie.
Wyoming native Antonia Armenta celebrates the Cowboy state with her fully loaded cookies. Use up your favorite mix ins but don't skip the brown butter as it adds a delightful richness and delicate nuttiness to this new take on a classic.
Washington produces over 50% of America’s apple crop, so it's no surprise that Nerdy Nummies host and Seattle native Rosanna Pansino grew up enjoying them every winter. It just isn't Christmas in her house without some type of apple treat baking away in the oven or mulling on the stove.
"These cookies dusted with powdered sugar remind me of the gorgeous 14,000-foot mountain I live next to in Colorado," says "Top Chef" alum Brother Luck. "We prepare these at my restaurant every holiday season to celebrate the falling snowflakes." The recipe has been adapted from Luck's grandmother, who called them "Ranger Cookies."
Velvety, sweet chocolate chunks and salty, crunchy kettle chips make the perfect salty and sweet flavor combination in food blogger Taylor Durand's cookie recipe.
Candied hazelnuts melt right into these decadent chocolate chip cookies, adding toffee textures and a caramelized flavor to an otherwise simple recipe from Michelle Lopez. It's an irresistible combination that honors one of the top crops in Oregon.
In Alaska, mother-daughter chef team Kirsten and Mandy Dixon live pretty far from any stores, so they make their own graham crackers and marshmallows for these wonderful cookies. The decadent cookie sandwiches are then dipped in chocolate and sprinkled with some local flair.
The perfect mixture of chewy, squishy, dense and sticky, these coconut and rice flour cake bars (a cousin of Filipino bibingka) called butter mochi are one of the most beloved island desserts out there. Chef Sheldon Simeon adds chocolate to the traditional recipe, and tops his little squares with creamy peanut butter frosting, popping candy and colorful sprinkles.