This was the first year I went all-out on holiday baking. I normally make one or two treats and have a full day of cookie decorating day with a friend. This year was different. My three-year-old son and I made over 11 dozen cookies and treats. It was a whole week’s worth of mixing, baking, cutting, and decorating, and it was wonderful.
Even though we had so many sweet treats in the house, we did not eat many Christmas cookies. There was the obligatory taste-testing, but other than a simple cookie platter for ourselves, we gave away the rest. We gave some to a few neighbors, delivery drivers, and curbside pickup workers.
These are all the cookies my son decorated with royal icing and sprinkles. Not bad for a three-year-old. He had fun with the icing tips, mixing colors with toothpicks, and adding sprinkles.
Easy Homemade Christmas Cookies
Since I don’t make baked goods often, I went with achievable and somewhat experimental Christmas cookie recipes. There are even a few options that are on the healthier side. Here’s what we made, including links to the Christmas cookie recipes and some of my own tips.
This is the first time I had ever made sugar cookies. And I made them straight from a bag of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix. I split the cut-out cookie recipe in half for the plain sugar cookies and used the rest for the lemon drop sugar cookies. It was the perfect amount of sugar cookies for our family of three to decorate with this royal icing recipe.
Lemon Drop Sugar Cookies
The base of this lemon sugar cookie recipe is a bag of sugar cookie mix using the drop cookie method. I split the drop cookie recipe in half and added the lemon zest from one lemon plus juice from half a lemon. The results were perfect! They had plenty of lemon flavor and were slightly chewy cookies.
Salted Caramel and Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake Mix Cookies
Did you know that you can make cookies with cake mix? I did not, but now it’s going to be my go-to for quick cookies. All you need to do is add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil, two eggs, and some mix-ins to a box of cake mix. Drop the cookies onto a cookie sheet with a silicon cookie mat and bake at 350º for 9-12 minutes.
These yellow cake mix cookies had 1/4 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 cup chopped caramel chunks mixed into the dough. Right when they came out of the oven, I sprinkled them with sea salt.
Spice Cake Mix Cookies
These spice cake cookies are made with the same method as the yellow cake mix cookies on this platter. To a box of Betty Crocker Spice Cake mix, I added 1/2 cup vegetable oil and two eggs. Dough balls were then rolled into a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. See this Spice Cake Cookie Recipe.
After my husband and I devoured a pricey tin of Williams Sonoma peppermint bark, I vowed to learn how to make my own. Since then, this is the one holiday treat that I make annually. It’s super easy and tastes wonderful. Get the peppermint bark recipe here.
Healthy Maple Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
These healthy oatmeal cookies use minimal ingredients and have a great flavor of maple pecan. I used this healthy oatmeal cookie recipe made with butter, maple syrup as the sweetener, and added chopped pecans. Each cookie is topped with a pecan.
Healthy Oatmeal Walnut Coconut Cookies
These oatmeal cookies are the same recipe as the maple pecan version, just using coconut oil, honey, and chopped walnuts. The coconut oil was just enough to give it a subtle coconut flavor. Find the healthy oatmeal cookie recipe here.
Dark Chocolate Coconut Almond Bark Recipe
This dark chocolate coconut almond bark was something I made up based on a combination of a few recipe ideas. Ingredients: 8oz dark chocolate, coconut oil, whole almonds, shredded coconut flakes.
First, roast whole almonds on a cookie sheet at 325º for 10-15 minutes. Prepare an 8″ X 8″ cake pan with parchment paper that goes up the sides, making sure it sits nice and flat on the bottom. Melt the 8oz of dark chocolate with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. See 3 ways to melt chocolate. Pour the melted dark chocolate into the cake pan and spread evenly to cover the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle the roasted almonds then shredded coconut over the top of the still-warm chocolate. You can gently push down on the nuts and coconut to press into the chocolate. Place the pan in the freezer to set. Once the chocolate is set, you can break it apart or cut it into chunks.
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Peanut butter + chocolate are a winning combination in this easy-to-make Christmas cookie classic. Peanut butter blossoms were my husband’s single request to add to our Christmas cookie platter. Our son called them “the ones with the chocolate dollop on top.” Here’s the peanut butter blossom recipe.
These are some of the easiest cookies to make (and eat). If you have leftover meringue powder from making royal icing, you can use that. Add flavor to these cookies by adding various mix-ins like vanilla extract, peppermint extract, crushed candy canes, chocolate chips, sprinkles, lemon extract, and more. Ours used this Vanilla Meringue Cookies Recipe.
The gingerbread cookies are one of my top favs on our holiday treat platter. I’ve made this gingerbread cookie recipe for several years now. They have a great ginger flavor and can be made soft and chewy or crispy. We decorated the cookies with royal icing.
We all got into the cookie decorating by each making a large gingerbread man. Last year my mom gifted me a set of vintage copper handmade gingerbread people cookie cutters, and they are so much fun to decorate.
I’m not sure if we’ll make this Christmas baking palooza an annual thing or not. We’ll see what next year brings.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones, however you celebrate!