Belle Epicurean

Look for cognac chestnut macarons with dark chocolate chestnut ganache, anise shortbread, and eggnog almond sandies at this civilized pair of French patisseries (at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel and, new, at the gateway to Madison Park). Bûches de Noël, too!

1206 Fourth Ave, Downtown, 206-262-9404 and 3109 E Madison St, Madison Park, 206-466-1320; belleepicurean.com

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Cafe Besalu

Swiss and German delicacies abound at this Ballard stunner, but the Basel brunsli (flourless chocolate spice cookies with almonds) and läckerli (honey spice cookies with citrus and almonds) are crowd favorites this time of year.

5909 24th Ave NW, Ballard, 206-789-1463; cafebesalu.com

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Columbia City Bakery

You know it for its extraordinary breads, but this South End institution does up some mean almond raspberry thumbprints and boozy chocolate numbers, rich with dates and pecans and exhaling rum. And that’s just the tip of the spicy selection.

4865 Rainier Ave S, Columbia City, 206-722-9138; columbiacitybakery.com

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Dahlia Bakery

So it looks a bit like a cow pie: The chocolate truffle cookie from Tom Douglas swept our Christmas cookie taste-off last year for the sheer insanity of its richness. (Our number-three winner was Dahlia’s, too: delectable chocolate sandwich cookies with butter pecan filling.)

2001 Fourth Ave, Downtown, 206-441-4540; tomdouglas.com

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Larsen’s Danish Bakery

You betcha they have cookies, but Ballard’s Scandinavian epicenter does a raspberry kringle—a pretzel-shaped, almond-rich pastry—worthy of a thousand Christmas breakfast tables.

8000 24th Ave NW, Ballard, 206-782-8285; larsensbakery.com

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Macrina Bakery and Cafe

Swedish sugar cookies, Mexican wedding balls, and pistachio shortbread will be in this year’s cases and holiday cookie boxes at Leslie Mackie’s three legendary shops. (Pssst: The SoDo location’s best for Christmas cookie shopping; it’s equipped to handle the most foot traffic.) New in 2011 are fudgy chocolate cranberry cookies, moist and dark.

2408 First Ave, Belltown, 206-448-4032, 615 W McGraw St, Queen Anne, 206-283-5900, and 1943 First Ave S, SoDo, 206-623-0919; macrinabakery.com

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Sugar Bakery and Cafe

Peppermint bark shortbread, buttery snowflake sugar cookies, and Mexican wedding cookies are among the perennial top sellers at this First Hill bake stop.

1014 Madison St, First Hill, 206-749-4105; sugarbakerycafe.com

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Three Girls Bakery

Colorful Santa’s elves and pistachio-dried cranberry shortbread might catch your eye, but we think the adorable ginger folks from this Pike Place Market stalwart are the tastiest. In the Sanitary Market.

1514 Pike St, Stall 1, Pike Place Market, 206-622-1045

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