Each Dec. 4, the humble, beloved sweet treat—the cookie—is celebrated for National Cookie Day. And with the holiday season in full swing, families are already crafting up delicious seasonal delights—like jelly-filled hertzoggie in South Africa or cinnamon-flavored speculaas in the Netherlands—to leave out for Santa Claus, Papa Noel, Christkind, Sinterklaas, and other legendary holiday gift-givers.
This December, plan the ultimate international getaway to taste the sweet flavors of unique cookie offerings from across the globe and discover DoubleTree by Hilton’s diverse culinary experiences and countless dining offerings along the way. Sample delicious delights from Germany, Peru, Scotland, and beyond, before settling into the familiar flavors of a signature, warm DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie welcome upon check-in, at one of these DoubleTree by Hilton properties worldwide.
Try German Lebkuchen
German Lebkuchen - Photo Credit: anna.q/Shutterstock
Gingerbread lovers will delight in traditional German lebkuchen, a honey-sweetened cookie that’s a storied part of Germany's Christmas traditions. The history of lebkuchen dates to German monks in the 13th century and has steadily remained a popular snack for the holiday season. Kinder (children) in Southern Germany leave lebkuchen for Christkind, the figure they associate with gift-giving during the Christmas season. Christkind is a young, angelic figure dressed in a white robe with a radiant appearance who is known to make a gentle knock on the door or ring a bell on Christmas Eve.
Travelers seeking a different type of world-famous cookie during their visit to the bustling German city of Frankfurt should check into DoubleTree by Hilton Frankfurt Niederrad, where the region’s many museums, walking trails, shopping, and other attractions are all within easy reach.
Sample South African Hertzoggie
South African Hertzoggie - Photo Credit: AdrianP09/Shutterstock
Hertzoggie, jelly-filled cookies with a light coconut meringue topping, are one of the most popular confections in South Africa. Here, children supply their Santa Claus, who is often referred to as "Father Christmas,” with hertzoggie to help power this red-suited, jolly, bearded gift giver with the energy needed to deliver presents throughout the night. The cookies are also enjoyed during South African Christmas gatherings, which often include outdoor braais (barbecues) and the singing of carols.
Visitors to the dynamic port city of Cape Town can enjoy a cocktail with their cookies at the estreet bar at DoubleTree by Hilton Cape Town - Upper Eastside. Located near the base of Table Mountain with views of Devil's Peak, the hotel is a short walk from local attractions and offers a free shuttle to the waterfront.
Delight in Dutch Speculaas
Dutch Speculaas – Photo Credit: Sara Winter/Shutterstock
Speculaas, uniquely cinnamon-spiced biscuits that originated in the Netherlands, make for a delightful treat to enjoy with coffee. Made with intricate imprints or designs, Dutch speculaas are traditionally associated with the celebration of Sinterklaas, based on the historical figure of Saint Nicholas, during his feast day on Dec. 6. Sinterklaas is an elderly man with a long white beard who wears a red bishop's robe, who is believed to leave gifts in shoes or stockings along with poems, often written in a humorous or teasing style.
To sample speculaas, visit charming Amsterdam and explore the city on foot, by bike, or by tram during a stay at DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station. Here hungry adventure seekers can snack on sweet treats while enjoying canal views through floor-to-ceiling windows, and city panoramas at the Rooftop Bar, LuminAir.
Feast on Peruvian Alfajores
Peruvian Alfajores – Photo Credit: EDP Photography/Shutterstock
In Peru, alfajores are popular confections made from two delicate and crumbly cookies sandwiched together with a rich and creamy dulce de leche caramel filling. These delicious delights are generally relatively small, making them a perfect bite-sized holiday treat to leave out for Papa Noel, which translates into “Santa Claus” in Spanish. Local bakeries often dust alfajores with a coating of snow-white powdered sugar, giving these treats a wintery look that’s perfect for seasonal snacking during a South American holiday getaway.
For a warm-weather oceanside retreat, consider booking a room at the waterfront DoubleTree Resort by Hilton Hotel Paracas - Peru, which faces Paracas Bay and is located five minutes from the town center. Located next to the Paracas National Reserve, the hotel boasts a scenic pool that makes for the perfect spot to enjoy a sweet treat.
Snack on Scottish Shortbread
Traditional Scottish Shortbread – Photo Credit: Robyn Mackenzie/Shutterstock
Scottish shortbread is an iconic Scottish dessert that has been enjoyed for centuries. Known for its rich, buttery, and crumbly texture, as well as its simple yet indulgent flavor, this classic treat is particularly popular during the holiday season and is an integral part of Scottish culinary traditions. Scottish children leave out these snacks for Father Christmas who, like in many parts of the world, travels in a sleigh pulled by reindeer to deliver presents each Christmas Eve.
Visitors can shop for shortbread along Edinburgh’s famed Royal Mile, which is easily accessed from the historic DoubleTree by Hilton Edinburgh City Centre, built in 1892. Guests can grab a complimentary cookie before heading out to explore nearby Edinburgh Castle, Princess Street shopping, the Grassmarket, and Edinburgh Old Town.
Taste Japanese Kuri Kinton
Japanese Kuri Kinton - Photo Credit: Hanasaki/Shutterstock
Kuri kinton is a traditional Japanese confection that’s enjoyed during the New Year's holiday season. Made from sweet chestnuts and sugar, the name "kuri kinton" roughly translates to "chestnut gold mash" due to its shiny appearance, which many believe resembles a pile of gold. People eat kuri kinton on New Year’s believing it may increase financial luck, wealth and fortune.
After snacking on kuri kinton, savor a warm cookie upon check-in at DoubleTree by Hilton Kyoto Higashiyama. A celebration of Kyoto culture, the hotel is located just across the Gojo Ohashi Bridge, near Kyoto Station and UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Enjoy Austrian Linzer Cookies
Austrian Linzer Cookies - Photo Credit: Madeleine Steinbach/Shutterstock
Linzer cookies are a popular and classic Austrian dessert made from a buttery and crumbly almond-based dough that’s filled with raspberry or blackcurrant jam. Charming in appearance, these cookies have a small, decorative cutout in the center that allows the jam to peek through and create a colorful contrast. But while good girls and boys may leave cookies out for Saint Nicholas, naughty kinder may find themselves visited by the menacing Krampus, a horned, anthropomorphic figure with hooves, fur, and a long, pointed tongue, who makes his appearance on Krampusnacht, celebrated on Dec. 5.
To savor the best of Austria, stay near Vienna’s stunning Schönbrunn Palace, which is just a five-minute walk from DoubleTree by Hilton Vienna Schonbrunn. Here, travelers of all ages are rewarded with warm cookies after a day full of exploration through the sparkling “City of Music.”
The DoubleTree Chocolate Chip Cookie Official Recipe
Copycat recipes have been shared online for years, but now has Hilton released the official version to create at home.
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