11 Easy Holiday Treats for Kids to Make This Season
Is there anything as special as spending time with your kids during the holiday season? You can create memories doing just about anything, but nothing is as warm and familiar as a bout of holiday baking. Watching the little ones frost a cookie while singing along to their favorite Christmas tunes, or relishing the brief moment of silence as everyone tucks into a cupcake; these moments all happen while huddled around the kitchen table, and they can quickly become holiday traditions for your family in no time at all.
Kids love helping in the kitchen—from stirring wet ingredients to whisking homemade frosting, they can have a small (and supervised!) hand in baking prep. And the real fun happens when you watch them decorate cookies, cakes, and cupcakes using everyday kitchen tools under a watchful eye. Not all classic holiday recipes are simple enough to have kids gathered in the kitchen, but this curated collection of sweet and savory treats are all straightforward enough for anyone to manage. While some of the following recipes are best made together as a family, you can rest easy knowing that most of these ideas are kid-friendly in nature. It may be the one time that you let their creativity shine in the kitchen, after all!
A few of these ideas may already be tradition in your household, such as sipping on homemade hot chocolate by the fire, or making gingerbread to leave out for Santa at midnight. Others may seem novel in their own right, and aren't exactly meant to be eaten, like our project for stained-glass cookie ornaments that you can actually hang inside. We even have a snowflake-themed dinner idea in our snowflake quesadilla recipe. Whichever direction you choose, these easy recipes and projects don't require a shopping trip or days on end—get the whole family started on these fun holiday treats right now.
This snowman is made from fresh vanilla ice cream and coconut—but his eyes, mouth, and buttons are fashioned from licorice candies. We didn't use an actual carrot for his nose (it's marzipan) but did use a toasted marshmallow for his hat. To make these snowmen, you will need three ice-cream scoops in varied sizes. Shoestring licorice cut into small pieces can also be used for the buttons, eyes, and mouth.
Stained-Glass Cookie Ornaments
Sugar cookies turn magical when their centers are cut out and filled with chopped hard candies. As the dough bakes, the candy melts into a dazzling stained-glass window, creating a colorful confection.
Homemade Hot Chocolate
Hot-chocolate mix is a wintertime staple. A homemade version is delicious and natural—containing only cocoa, sugar, and salt—and especially economical compared with store-bought mixes.
With these snowflakes, only the cheese melts. Fold a flour tortilla in half, then in thirds. Snip out shapes, unfold, and use as the top of a quesadilla.
Holiday Icebox Cookies
Icebox cookies are really just extra-pretty sugar cookies. Before baking, the dough is flattened, rolled into logs, chilled, and sliced—steps kids can have fun doing themselves with your supervision.
Kids can help every step of the way when making these festive cupcakes, from mixing the batter and frosting the tops to creating the snowmen's plump marshmallow figures and affixing their candy eyes, noses, and hats. Set up an assembly line for the perfect afternoon project!
These yuletide mice have bodies made from dollops of airy Swiss meringue to delight all your holiday elves. Small black nonpareil candies for the eyes are sold in candy stores.
Gingerbread Cookie Trees
A dessert grows in your kitchen when you stack a series of ever smaller cookies to form a tannenbaum, and top it with a star-shaped cookie. Cream cheese frosting between pairs and confectioners' sugar dusted on top create a sweet snowfall.
Christmas Tree Cupcakes
Serve this snowy dessert throughout the holiday season. Cupcakes are shaped like trees, covered with snowy frosting, and sprinkled with sanding sugar. Save some sugar to create beds of "snow" for serving. If you like, you can also make mini gingerbread stars to decorate the tops of the trees.
Children's Hand Cookies
Older children can use their hand to outline the cookies, drawing around it on the dough with a skewer and using a knife tip to cut along the line. If your child can't participate, make a pattern from a manila folder. Translucent parchment works well for the heart stencil; it will allow you to see the shape of the cookie through it.