Here, four spices to use in your holiday cookies.

Chocolate-Cayenne Cocktail Cookies
Credit: © Quentin Bacon

At Oleana, Maura Kilpatrick is known for using Middle Eastern spices in her desserts. “We make our own spice blends like our Syrian spice with nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon and black pepper that we put in a blondie,” she says. “Then there’s dukka, which has coconut, hazelnuts, coriander and cumin. It’s actually pretty dessert-friendly.” In the future, she hopes more people will start taking similar risks with different spices. “Even if it’s something simpler like Aleppo pepper,” she says.

Here, four spices to use in your holiday cookies.

1. Black Pepper
These not-too-sweet waffle cookies pair unsweetened cocoa powder with black pepper for a deliciously grown-up treat.

2. Cayenne
Spicy cayenne pepper gives these tender chocolate cocktail cookies terrific heat.

3. Coriander
Chef Kevin Sbraga makes his linzer torte-inspired cookies with anise-and-coriander-infused raspberry jam.

4. Curry
These spicy, curried shortbread cookies are delicious as an hors d’oeuvre with a glass of Champagne or after dinner with ice cream or sorbet.