By Stephanie Rubesh and Christopher Werner

Holiday cookies come in all shapes and flavors, but only the best ooze cheer while tasting good too—buttery and indulgent but not absurdly sweet.

To find out which local treats fit that bill, we asked a bunch of bakeries to submit a Christmas cookie of their choice (some brought in a couple). The ones that chose to participate are represented here. A panel then sampled them blindly, taking notes along the way and voting for their favorites at the end.

While our team of 12 tasters would say few samples topped the treats they remember from their childhood (we set the bar high around here), and that some would have benefited from more butter, we did find several worthy of your cookie platter. Find out which bakeries are making those winners in the slideshow, and be sure to holler if we left out your favorite seasonal sweet.

All photos by photographer Lucas Anderson.