Nothing feels, looks, smells and tastes more like Christmas than Christmas cookies. And when you’ve got little ones, baking treats is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. The best Christmas cookies for kids are those that are easy to make, since they encourage collaboration as well as creativity. We’ve searched far and wide for fun and festive recipes that promise a jolly good time (and yummy results), especially for families—and here they are: 12 days of Christmas cookies that will delight the senses of young and old alike. Bake a few or tackle them all!
1. Gingerbread Men Cookies
Start off your 12 delectable days with the most quintessential of Christmas cookie recipes—the gingerbread man. This one’s a charmer, complete with sweet ’n simple smiles and a button-up “suit.” They’re almost too hard to eat (almost!). Chances are they’ll disappear fast, thanks to Sally’s Baking Addiction’s pleasingly chewy recipe, with just the right amount of spice.
What you’ll need: Unsalted butter, sugar, molasses, eggs, vanilla extract, all-purpose flour, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and cloves.
How to make them: Click on the link to get the details on creating a thick, slightly sticky dough. (Heads up, you’ll need to chill it for at least three hours to create the ultimate cookie texture—but trust us, it’s worth it.) After baking, bring your gingerbread men (and ladies!) to life, with eyes, smiles, buttons or bowties.
2. Christmas Wreath Cookies
Here’s one of the best Christmas cookies for kids who like getting their hands into messy, sticky things. First Year Blog’s fun, no-bake wreaths are so easy, you’ll have extra time to send out those Christmas cards.
What you’ll need: Mini marshmallows, butter, green food coloring, corn flakes cereal, mini red M&M’s and Twizzlers.
How to make them: Melt the marshmallows and butter. Add the food coloring. Grease up your hands with some oil and mix the corn flakes into the goo. Mold into wreath shapes, and then pop on the red candies. Chill in the fridge for about half an hour before serving.
3. Polar Bear Cookies
More no-bake, easy Christmas cookie recipes? Sign us up! Edible polar bears don’t get any cuter than these, courtesy of Noshing With the Nolands. They’re a fun after-school activity for kids, and they make for a terrific Christmas cookie swap—except you won’t want to share them!
What you’ll need: Double stuffed sandwich cookies (like Oreo cookies), white chocolate candy melts, different colored M&Ms and black icing.
How to make them: Plunge those Oreos into the melted white candy and lay them out on a sheet of parchment. Unmelted white candies become muzzles, and candy-coated chocolates create ears and noses. Dot your eyes with the icing. Let the bears rest awhile before serving in order to dry completely. Beware: Like real polar bears, they prefer cooler climes and can get a bit bent out of shape under warm conditions.
4. Stained Glass Cookies
Liv for Cake’s wondrous stained-glass sugar cookies also double as ornaments to hang on your Christmas tree. Don’t be intimidated. These creations combine everyone’s favorite Christmas cookies—the sugar variety—with melted hard candy to create a stained-glass effect that’s actually super-easy to make. Reach for this recipe if you’re looking for the best Christmas cookies to wow your guests.
What you’ll need: Flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, ornament-shaped cookie cutters, wooden skewer, knife and sanding sugar (or pulverized hard candies) in a variety of colors.
How to make them: A few ingenious cut-outs in the sugar-cookie dough and a cleverly timed addition of candy produce the most glorious effects. Get the recipe details by visiting Liv for Cake. Take note: The dough will need to be chilled for a bit, so tell the little ones to be patient!
5. Grinch Cookies
As they tell it In Whoville, the Grinch’s small heart grew three sizes on Christmas day, and these unique Christmas cookies for kids from Tasty Ever After celebrate just that (and are a way more fun spin on the classic thumbprint recipe). We plan on serving our kiddies a batch while showing that classic cartoon (and maybe our other favorite Christmas movies, too!).
What you’ll need: Unsalted butter, sugar, kosher salt, egg, vanilla extract, green food coloring, flour, round cookie cutter, small heart cookie cutter, raspberry jam and Grinch-green sugar sprinkles (or powdered sugar).
How to make them: Blend the first six ingredients, adding just a few drops of food coloring. Mix until the color is even (no streaks!). Add the flour and chill for at least half an hour before stamping out two batches of circle cookies, one with the heart cut out in the middle, and one as is. If you’re using the sprinkles, now is the time to top the cut-out batch with them. Bake, let cool, add jam to the non-heart cookies and assemble. Sprinkle on powdered sugar if you didn’t use sprinkles.
6. Melted Snowmen Oreo Balls
If you love Oreos, then you’ll want to work these treats into your 12 days of cookies. You’ll be using the popular everyday sandwich cookie inside and out for this ingenious project dreamt up by The Girl who Ate Everything.
What you’ll need: Cream cheese, Oreo cookies (finely crushed), white chocolate candy melts, mini Oreos, icing in a variety of colors and sprinkles.
How to make them: Mix cookie crumbs with cream cheese. Shape into balls, then freeze for 20 minutes. Dip the cookies in the warmed, liquid melts and chill until they set. Decorate, then chill some more (about an hour) until everything firms up. Yum!
7. Christmas Magic Cookie Bars
The real magic of these easy Christmas cookies from One Little Project? How quickly they disappear! These are also the best Christmas cookies to make when you don’t feel like shopping for ingredients—just about any sweet treat you’ve got in the cupboard can be thrown into the mix, and you’ll end up with something tasty.
What you’ll need: Graham cracker crumbs, sweetened condensed milk, butterscotch and chocolate chips, coconut flakes, nuts (optional) and red and cream M&Ms.
How to make them: Simply put, you’re creating layer upon layer of sugary goodness and popping everything in the oven until golden. Visit the folks at One LIttle Project for the details—we promise your little elves will approve.
8. Snowman Cookies
Because you can never have too many snowmen! These kids Christmas cookies are as fun to make as they are to eat. Amber, who created these dapper dudes for her blog Crazy Little Project, has an adorable Santa version too, if you want to mix it up.
What you’ll need: Butter, sugar, egg, milk, baking powder, nutmeg, vanilla, flour, vanilla frosting, Pull ‘n’ Peel Twizzlers, M&Ms, candy eyes and mini chocolate chips.
How to make them: Use the first eight ingredients to make the sugar cookies. Bake, then smear frosting on top. Now that you’ve created your canvas, the kids can go to town with the candy decorations.
9. Homemade Peppermint Oreos
These delish peppermint-flavored Christmas cookies from The Girl Who Ate Everything are the best Christmas cookies from a portability standpoint. Think of them as a festive homemade Oreo and Thin Mint in one.
What you’ll need: Devil’s food cake mix, eggs, vegetable oil, cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, peppermint extract and Christmas-colored sprinkles or crushed candy cane.
How to make them: Make the batter, then roll it into balls. Flatten and bake. While they’re cooling, blend together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and peppermint to create the filling. Sandwich it in between the cookies and roll the sides in sprinkles.
10. Christmas Sugar Cookie Truffles
No need to turn on the oven to make these yummy, soft Christmas cookies from If You Give a Blonde a Kitchen. With minimal ingredients required, these are the best Christmas cookies to make on the fly. School bake sale slip your mind? A batch of these beauties will save the day!
What you’ll need: Store-bought sugar cookies (we swear, this isn’t cheating!), cream cheese, white chocolate candy melts, Christmas-colored sprinkles.
How to make them: Stick the cookies into the food processor and crush them into a fine crumb. Throw in the cream cheese. Take the batter out and shape into balls; chill for 15 minutes. Dip and roll them in the melted white chocolate, top with sprinkles, then chill again to stiffen.
11. Snowflake Sugar Cookies
These delightful snowflakes, courtesy of What Should I Make For, turn your kitchen into a winter wonderland, whether you celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. Make extra so you can reserve a few for stringing up—they perk up a vase of decorative branches in a jiffy.
What you’ll need: Flour, baking soda, salt, unsalted butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, snowflake cookie cutters and royal icing (or make your own with confectioners sugar, meringue powder, cream of tartar, vanilla) and food coloring (optional).
How to make them: Make the sugar cookie batter, chill, then stamp out the snowflake shapes. Poke a hole with a skewer if you plan on stringing them. Bake, let cool, then decorate with royal icing. It hardens as it dries, so you can layer the blue on top of the white (or vice versa) without your design running. Don’t be too worried about precision—just have fun! After all, no two snowflakes are the same!
12. Christmas Tree Meringue Cookies
Looking for something cute to top a holiday cake? These are the best Christmas cookies for that. Surprisingly easy to make, you’ll have enough in your batch to simply pop into your mouth straight as well. This recipe uses almond extract, but you can swap out for any flavor that that tickles your tastebuds.
What you’ll need: Egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, almond extract (or whatever kind you like), green gel food coloring, piping bag with star tip, sprinkles in various colors, star sprinkles and frosting (you choose the flavor).
How to make them: Whisk together the first three ingredients in a bowl over boiling water on the stove. Add extract. Whisk until the egg whites look really white, then add coloring. With the magic of kitchen chemistry, you’ll soon get stiff peaks. Place in the piping bag and pipe them into trees on a parchment paper-lined tray. Top with sprinkles and bake for two hours. Then let it sit in the oven with the door slightly open for two more hours (hey, good things come to those who wait!). Use the frosting to top each tree with star sprinkles.
Published November 2017