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Cookie Bake-Off Bonanza Finalists

  • Our judge was Alex Guarnaschelli, chef and host of the Food Network show, The Cooking Loft. She picked the Sumo Sweetie as our winner, saying that it had "great texture" and that the delicate almond flavor got a big taste boost from the "salt and fat from the sesame seeds." And the glaze has a secret ingredient (wasabi!) that gives the cookie its name. Congratulations to winner Stephanie!

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  • Popcorn on top of a chocolate chip cookie? This unexpected combo had judge Alex Guarnaschelli raising an eyebrow until she tasted them -- and loved them. She called this one the "mischief cookie."

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  • What looks like a simple, chocolate cookie turns out to hold a big surprise: an actual peppermint patty baked into each one! The minty goodness won our hearts; this one was a fave for many Parenting and Babytalk editors.

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  • If you like super-crunchy cookies and rich, roasted, nutty flavors, these surprisingly light cookies are for you. (They're great with tea or coffee.)

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  • Imagine two tiny, perfect carrot cakes, glued together with the creamiest of homemade cream cheese frosting. "Bliss" doesn't even begin to describe these.

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  • Looking for something super-easy and different? With crunchy chopped almonds on the outside and a moist chocolate interior, your friends will be impressed with this one. Just don't reveal the secret ingredient: devil's food cake mix.

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  • Tired of the same old chocolate chip cookie recipe? This drop cookie offers a melt-in-your-mouth combo of buttery, savory, and spicy flavors.

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  • There's no denying the chewy, chunky yum factor here. This soft cookie is packed with tons of chips -- chocolate, peanut butter, and banana.

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  • A spaghetti-and-meatballs-themed cookie? We have to admit, we didn't think this recipe would turn out as well as it did, but there was no denying the creativity here. The simple sugar cookie is topped with strawberry jam, white chocolate, cream cheese, and chocolate covered peanuts.

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  • Just when we had lost faith in those "kitchen sink" cookie recipes, these sunny little treats came along. There's a lot going on here -- ginger, pineapple, coconut, hazelnuts, and more -- but all the tastes work together beautifully. A great variation on chocolate chip.

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  • A simple almond cookie game-changer: throw in the zest of an entire orange! Easy to make, easy to love.

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  • This crispy, buttery cookie is an elegant, tea-time treat with an extra hit of sweetness. (And your kids can help you dip the ends in caramel).

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  • How do you turn a classic sugar cookie into a better-for-you snack? Use whole wheat flour! (Duh. Why didn't we think of that?) These addictive cookies have crunchy edges and a chewy center; taste-wise, your kids won't even notice the difference.

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  • These soft and sticky cookies have a real kick, thanks to the 7 spices competing for your attention.

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  • We loved the cookie hack in this recipe: if you're living in a dorm and don't have an oven, but you can't stand the thought of going without fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies, just make 'em on your stovetop! Hearty and moist, these cookies are brilliant and tasty.

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    Check out last year's Cookie Contest finalists
    Cocoa Drop Cookie Recipe from Alex Guaraschelli
    6 delicious recipes from Lauren Chattman's Mom's Big Book of Baking

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