Holiday baking doesn’t have to be difficult! Try out these 6 easy Christmas treats to bake with your kids.
Baking Easy Christmas Treats
Oh, Christmas baking with children. It has such a whimsical reputation. Christmas picture books always show families baking together. TV Commercials show happy, well-groomed mothers pulling beautiful sugar cookies out of the oven for ecstatic children, who are drinking eggnog. And yet, when I bake with my children my watch alerts me that I’m in distress based on my pulse. And no children, ever anywhere, like eggnog.
Baking and being with children are two totally separate, fully-consuming experiences that, not unlike last year’s failed Christmas “smoothies,” do not always blend. But having fun while baking Christmas treats with kids is possible when we choose carefully what we bake.
Children get excited about the familiar: choose recipes that include known snack items, also, children have shorter attention spans, so when baking with them, choose recipes that move quickly to the fun of decorating.
Christmas White Chocolate-Dipped Rice Krispie Treats
The brilliance of baking this Christmas treat with kids is that she gives you absolute permission/if not instruction to go ahead and buy the store-bought Rice Krispie Treats. This way your kids just unwrap, dip, and sprinkle with festive colors. Does this count as baking, you may ask? Yes. You are decorating something filled with sugar, that you will soon eat. That’s baking.
Christmas White-Chocolate Dipped Rice Krispie Treats
- 1 package Rice Krispie Treats (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 lb. white (or dark) candy melts (OR substitute for following ingredient)
- 1 24 oz. package of white (or dark) bark coating
- 2 tbsp shortening
- Christmas sprinkles
- Dip desired amount of each Rice Krispie Treats into candy coating. Let excess drip back into container to prevent waste. Sprinkle with Christmas sprinkles until desired amount is reached.
- Place treats on wax paper and let sit until coating has begun to set.
- Store in an airtight container (lasts for up to 2 weeks).
Chocolate Dipped Fluffernutter Ritz Cookies
Do your children know what Fluffernutter is? Do they know that this was a legitimate sandwich option for us in the late 80’s? It’s time they learn. Baking this Christmas treat with kids is filled with the familiar: peanut butter, Ritz crackers, marshmallow fluff, but also integrates once again the sacred acts of dipping and sprinkling.
Again, no oven needed. Yes, this might be considered a “no-bake” Christmas treat, but, again, this totally counts as baking with your kids.
White Chocolate Peppermint Popcorn
A perfect Christmas treat for kids to hand out to bus drivers, teachers, and neighbors, children will once again appreciate working with familiar items such as the ever-gourmet microwave popcorn, M&M’s, and peppermint candy canes. This recipe also involves crushing and drizzling which are active tasks for active little people. You could also make baking this Christmas treat with kids strictly about the process, as the kids (and you), in the true spirit of Christmas, might eat it all before it can be given away.
Rolo Pretzel Reindeer
Baking this Christmas treat for kids produces all the things: Dessert, candy, snack (because of the pretzels), use for old halloween candy. My kids love placing (smashing) the Rolo (or Hershey kiss) onto the pretzel.
In case you just don’t have time for eyes and antlers, or your inner Grinch has taken over (there’s space for us all at the table) don’t sweat the reindeer look. Simply get some red and green M&M’s, Rolos, or Hershey Kisses (which can be easier to find in the old Halloween bags) and make this basic version happen. They don’t have to know there was a Reindeer option. And in July, just switch the color of M&Ms. You will instantly have an Independence Day treat and be a genius.
Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies
This is a more of a roll up your sleeves Christmas cookie adventure, but do not be afraid! For this Christmas treat to bake with kids, make the dough and frosting the night before. That way, you can jump into the fun part when your little people wake up. Gingerbread tastes like Christmas in so many ways, it’s hard to imagine skipping it entirely.
Gingerbread Christmas Tree Cookies
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter (softened)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar firmly packed
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup dark molasses
- 3 cups all-purpose flour (more for dusting)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tbsp egg whites (room temp)
- 1/4 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 5-6 drops green food coloring
- colored sprinkles
- In large mixing bowl, whisk the butter, sugar, and applesauce until texture is smooth. Add the egg and molasses, mix in thoroughly.
- In another large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and spices. Add this mix to first mixture. Stir well until evenly mixed in. Using your hands, lump dough into large ball (dough should be a little sticky).
- Placing flour on your hands so the dough doesn't stick to you, divide the dough ball into two halves. Flatten each half, then cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for around 2 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. after dough has chilled. Dust the surface of your working area thoroughly with flour before rolling out the dough. Work one half of dough at a time, keeping the other in the refrigerator in the mean time.
- Dough should yield at least 60 tree cookies depending on thickness.
- Roll dough out to 1/8-inch thickness, sprinkling flour on top of the dough if consistency is still sticky. Trim any stray edges off to square the dough, then cut into 3 1/2 inch strips. Shape strips into triangles.
- Place raw cookies 1-2 inches apart on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
- Mix lemon juice and egg whites. Mix in the powdered sugar and add drops of green food coloring until color is as desired.
- Add more powdered sugar if icing seems thin. Add drop of lemon juice or water. if icing seems thick. Pour into piping bag and decorate cookies after they've cooled.
- After decorating with icing, quickly add the sprinkles before icing hardens.
You can use this same recipe to make Gingerbread people. Children love to decorate them, but I enjoy the sweet whimsy of these little Christmas trees, the lack of cookie cutters and the need for only green frosting.
Santa Hat Cookies
Baking these Christmas cookies with kids, yes, requires homemade frosting. But you can make up for it with the use of store bought dough. And what is Christmas without red gel food coloring?
Again, the presence of mini-marshmallows and sprinkles is significant in this Christmas treat for kids, as is the overall cuteness that is pretty hard to mess up. Also, the recipe makes 48 Christmas cookies, read: both class parties can be covered with one batch. Get on it!
Yes, you can do it! You can bake with your kids and make sweetness and memories. Choose the right Christmas treat to bake with your kids and you might just start an easy, enjoyable Christmas tradition. Yes, those ARE possible, Elf on the Shelf.