We’ve got five terrific new cookie recipes to add to your baking repertoire, the result of our 12th annual Holiday Cookie Contest, an event that starts our celebration in late October and ends in December amid a flurry of flour, butter and sugar. This year we sorted through 283 entries. (A big thanks to the bakers across Minnesota who shared their recipes and their stories.)

That initial elimination round yielded a microcosm of baking trends, invoking salted caramel and brown butter, exotic salts, high-percentage-cacao chocolate and savory items that ranged from bacon to zinfandel. Maple popped up all over the place, as did cornmeal. The number of gluten-free formulas hit an all-time high, as did the frequency of recipes acknowledging nut allergies.

After selecting 31 promising-looking entries, we headed into the kitchen and baked. And baked. And baked. Then we gathered nearly two dozen judges into a room, and we ate. And ate. And ate.

We also argued. (Politely. We are Minnesotans, after all.) But after a single nibble, a clear favorite emerged, followed by a handful of we-love-these-cookies-too (our euphemism for “finalists”).

And the winning cookie is Italian Almond Cookies, submitted by William Teresa of Minneapolis. The finalists are Tart and Sassy Cranberry Lemon Drops, Chocolate Peppermint Cookies, Espresso-Hazelnut Truffle Cookies and Macadamia Nut Tarts.

But to us, they’re all winners (and so are the bakers who make them!). Click on the links below for more on the winning cookie and four finalists, the bakers, our interactive Holiday Cookie Finder and much more.

Enjoy, and happy holidays.