Parents who are ready to get creative with their kids in the kitchen, can ward off the winter blahs and busy bored hands with some holiday baking while the youngsters are on break from school. Here’s a list of a few favorite, kid-friendly Christmas cookie recipes. These are aimed at keeping the entire brood entertained while housebound because of the cold Chicago temperatures. And just think -- besides having cured bouts of boredom, the kiddos will also have tasty, hand-crafted presents for their loved ones come Christmas day.
Snow People Cookies
½ butter, softened
2 3-oz packages of cream cheese, softened
2-1/3 C of flour
1-1/4 C sugar
½ t baking powder
½ t vanilla
¼ t almond extract
1 bottle of cinnamon candies like Red Hots
Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups
Kids of all ages love take pleasure in making snow people, as each cookie can be as unique as the child making it! Teens and toddlers alike find these creations doable, fun and tasty.
To make the dough, beat butter and cream cheese for 30 seconds on medium speed in a large mixing bowl. Add half of the flour, all of the sugar, baking powder, egg, vanilla and almond extract to the bowl and beat well. Stir in the remaining flour. Little hands tackle rolling three different sized balls – a head (1/2 inch), a torso (3/4 inch) and a base (1 inch) — needed for each snow person’s body. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet in decrease sized with the sides touching, and press them slightly together. Ask the kids to make sure each snow person has a Hershey’s Kiss or halved Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup hat, two chocolate chip eyes and cinnamon Red Hot buttons on their bodies before placing the cookie sheets a 325-degree preheated oven for 18 minutes.
When the bottoms of the snow people are light brown, an adult should remove the trays from the oven and transfer each snow person to a wire rack. Then the creating begins! Icing adds flair to the snow people’s necks by becoming scarves or mouths or coats. After the snow people are decorated and dried, place them on wax paper and use an additional sheet of wax paper in between layers.
1/2 C peanut butter
1/4 C butter
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
9 cups Crispix cereal (any flavor)
1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
Small animal feeding dishes
Microwave for one minute peanut butter, chocolate chips and butter in an appropriate bowl, stirring occasionally to mix all ingredients. Stir in the vanilla after the mixture is heated. Pour nine cups of the cereal into a very large bowl and then stir the mixture into the cereal, coating the cereal thoroughly. Place the coated cereal into a large, clean paper bag, dump the powdered sugar into the bag and roll the paper bag so that it’s sealed. Little kids cannot wait to get their hands on the bag and shake it up so as to coat each piece with powdered sugar. After the cereal is coated, encourage your little ones to scoop the food out of the bag and place it in small feeding dishes so Santa’s reindeer can munch of a tasty snack during their long over-night journey around the world.
Rice Krispie Wreaths
3 T. butter
1 package (10 oz.) marshmallows
6 C. Rice Krispies
1 t. green food coloring
½ t. of mint extract
1 Twizzlers Cherry Pull-n-Peel
1 bottle of cinnamon candies like Red Hots
An adult melts butter in a large stove-top pan and then adds marshmallows, stirring until completely melted. Add the green food coloring. Stir in Rice Krispies cereal. After the adult mixes together the Rice Krispies and marshmallow concoction, the kiddos can begin forming their wreaths, which will be about the size of a medium sand dollar. After the wreaths are formed into a circle complete with a hole in the middle, they should be placed on wax paper to cool and maintain their new shape. While cooling on the wax paper, everyone picks a few wreaths and decorates them with ribbons of pull-n-peel Twizzlers or holly berries made from cinnamon dots. The result? A treat that looks as festive as it tastes!
1 package of sugar cookie dough
Various frosting colors including green
¼ C. of powdered sugar
Christmas Tree cookie cutters
Kids enjoy spreading out the dough with a rolling pin, pressing cookie cutter shapes into it, gathering their Christmas trees and lining the trees up across the pan. After the cookies have baked to a light golden brown (follow package directions), begin decorating the trees. Encourage your helpers to coat the trees with green frosting and then use their imaginations to make mini M&Ms become tiny ornaments, powdered sugar mimic snow and little gum drops turn into lights. The options for decorating the tree are endless after a trip down the candy aisle.
Hyacynth Worth waxes philosophical about motherhood, faith, marriage and raising two boys at Undercover Mother.