How many different cookies can there really be? You start with many of the same ingredients — flour, sugar, butter, eggs — and yet there seems to be almost infinite ways to combine them.

That's what we've found during our 11 years of the Taste Holiday Cookie Contest, which has become our own beloved December tradition, one that has brought more than 2,300 recipes over time for us to sift through. Each fall we start out wondering whether we will see anything new and, to our surprise and delight, year after year, we do, by the dozens. In part, that's because cookies follow trends, just as fashion does — brown butter, sea salt and maple were big in this year's entries.

Our judges went in a different direction, though, and chose finalists with a more homespun feel, and yet the winning Cappuccino Flats have been around for 30 years, despite their sophisticated chocolate-coffee profile.

You can find all the winners and finalists from more than a decade of contests, with color photos galore, in the new edition of our e-book, "The Cookie Book," along with a few extra recipes that happen to be our favorites. At $2.99, the new tablet-only edition is a holiday bargain. Find it at or buy it from iTunes, Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

No e-reader? You can also find all the past contest recipes in an easy-to-search archive in our Cookie Finder. See you in the kitchen.
Meanwhile, click on the links below to meet our bakers, see their winning recipes and more.