Inventing a truly great cookie requires a kind of genius. Baking talent Jacques Torres shares some of his best Christmas cookies with Food & Wine.

Like most French pastry chefs, Jacques Torres didn't quite get why Americans loved cookies so much. But when he opened his eponymous Brooklyn, NY, chocolate factory and store in 2000, he made it his mission to perfect the cookie, using top-quality ingredients and toying with size, baking time and texture. The latest results of his experiments: fudgy mudslides with dried cherries, chocolaty butter cookies and a new cookbook, Jacques Torres' A Year in Chocolate.