Healthy Holiday Kids' Treats

Whether looking for the perfect teachers' gift or the perfect late-night snack for a persnickety Santa, your kids will enjoy preparing treats for everyone on their list—not to mention themselves.

Iced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Iced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies

With nutty, caramel notes from browned butter and a fair bit of salt to balance the flavors, these cookies will become an instant favorite. You can roll out the dough right after combining all the ingredients—no chilling required. Look for pearlized sugar in gourmet markets or craft stores. Let the kids sprinkle the coarse crystals over the icing to give the cookies a sparkly, jewel-like appearance.

View Recipe: Iced Browned Butter Sugar Cookies

Gingerbread People Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Gingerbread People

For a whimsical presentation, arrange these cookies in a lunch box lined with colorful packing paper. Use a variety of cookie cutter sizes to create "families." If you don't want to cut the dough into shapes, roll it into two logs, cover, chill, and slice into 1/8-inch rounds. Refrigerate the dough up to three days, or freeze up to one month.

View Recipe: Gingerbread People

Popcorn Brittle Recipes

Photo: David Prince

Popcorn Brittle

While replacing the nuts in brittle with popcorn certainly removes a lot of fat, it also results in a wonderful hybrid--part caramel corn, part brittle. The brittle is crunchy and sweet, with just a hint of saltiness. Editors suggest keeping the kids out of the kitchen until the mixture has cooled and set. Once it is ready to go, let them at it!

View Recipe: Popcorn Brittle

Chocolate-Hazelnut-Meringue Kisses Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringue Kisses

Piping cookies from a pastry bag is a lot of fun, and the work goes quickly. But kids might enjoy the no-fuss option of dropping level tablespoons of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet instead. Whichever method you choose, these kisses are ideal when enjoyed alongside a cup of hot cocoa.

View Recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Meringue Kisses

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

These chewy treats use toffee bits for a crunchy twist on the classic oatmeal cookie. After you and your little elves make a batch, cuddle up on the couch with a glass of milk and enjoy while you watch your family's favorite holiday movie.

View Recipe: Oatmeal Toffee Cookies

Chcoolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

With a double shot of chocolate and hazelnut flavors, kids and adults will rave over these filled cookies. The espresso powder is optional, but it intensifies the chocolate flavor.

View Recipe: Chocolate-Hazelnut Thumbprints

Ginger-Lemon Pinwheel Cookies Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Ginger-Lemon Pinwheel Cookies

Creating these swirly cookies isn't as involved as it may appear. Kids will enjoy helping you roll the dough and will marvel at their scrumptious creations once they are pulled from the oven.

View Recipe: Ginger-Lemon Pinwheel Cookies

Frosted Pumpkin Cake Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Frosted Pumpkin Cake

Easy and delicious, this sheet cake is a no fuss option that will be one of the first things to go on any casual holiday dessert table. No matter how messy your sous chefs are, rest-assured, the frosting is too delicious to worry about aesthetics.

View Recipe: Frosted Pumpkin Cake

Peanut Butter Pie Recipes

Photo: Lee Harrelson

Peanut Butter Pie

Mary Frances Noveh from River Ridge, Louisiana, sent us this dessert recipe, which first appeared in December 2001. She noted it was like a "peanut butter and chocolate candy bar." If your kids love candy bars—and who doesn't—then this sweet treat might be the perfect addition to your holiday dessert spread. Several tasters in our Test Kitchen enjoyed serving this pie frozen.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter Pie

Peppermint Stick Hot Chocolate Recipes

Photo: Jeff Kauck

Peppermint Stick Hot Chocolate

After the kids have enjoyed their mug full and are tucked in bed awaiting Santa's arrival, consider adding a little mint liqueur such as peppermint schnapps or creme de menthe to give this kid-favorite a grown-up flair. 

View Recipe: Peppermint Stick Hot Chocolate

Hello Dolly Bars Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Hello Dolly Bars

These bar cookies are also known as seven-layer bars. They can create a sticky mess in the pan, so it's crucial to line it with parchment paper. Because the milk needs to seep into the graham cracker crumbs, don't pack the crumbs too tightly in the bottom of the pan. Kids will enjoy helping you build the layers for these quick and easy bars.

View Recipe: Hello Dolly Bars

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

A kid-favorite flavor combination comes together in these adorable preserves-filled cookies. Use your family's favorite type of jam or preserves and you will have a winning holiday cookie.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

These moist bars feature the seasonal pairing of peppermint and chocolate. They're sure to be a hit with everyone—children included—at your holiday party.

View Recipe: Peppermint Cheesecake Brownies

Low-Cal Chocolate-Cherry Heart Smart Cookies Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Chocolate-Cherry Heart Smart Cookies

This reader recipe was developed by Marcie Dixon of Arlington Heights, Illinois, who recommends using bittersweet chocolate instead of milk chocolate for these decadent cookies. "Not only does it have less sugar," she said, "but it has a deeper flavor, too." We think these cookies will be divine when stored in a beautiful tin and gifted to your children's favorite teachers.

View Recipe: Chocolate-Cherry Heart Smart Cookies

Swedish Almond Cardamom Stars Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Swedish Almond Cardamom Stars

Don't substitute marzipan for the almond paste, because it's a bit to sweet for this buttery, lightly spiced cookie. Kids will love dressing these yummy stars with icing and you will love enjoying them as a simple dessert on a busy evening.

View Recipe: Swedish Almond Cardamom Stars

Fig-Walnut Sticky Buns Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Fig-Walnut Sticky Buns

These sweet rolls start with our all-purpose Bakery Dinner Rolls dough. We think they're delicious enough to garner our highest rating for taste and we are sure you're family will agree.

View Recipe: Fig-Walnut Sticky Buns

Christmas Sugar Wafers with Vanilla Frosting Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Christmas Sugar Wafers with Vanilla Frosting

Freezing the dough before baking makes for an extra-crunchy version of these holiday staples. The simple icing is a great way for your kids to show off their decorating creativity and spread holiday cheer.

View Recipe: Christmas Sugar Wafers with Vanilla Frosting

Sugared Cranberries Recipes

Photo: Randy Mayor

Sugared Cranberries

Because of the contrast between the tart cranberries and sugary coating, the flavor of this snack pops in your mouth. You might handle steeping the berries in hot sugar syrup, but after the cranberries have cooled in the refrigerator overnight, let the kids roll them in the superfine sugar. For gift-giving, package in parchment-lined tins.

View Recipe: Sugared Cranberries

Gingerbread Cookies Recipes

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Gingerbread Cookies

Kids of all ages will delight in this traditional holiday treat. Get a head start by baking cookies up to four days ahead and storing in an airtight container. Frost one day before serving; after frosting is set, pack cookies in airtight containers between layers of wax paper.

View Recipe: Gingerbread Cookies

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins Recipes

Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins

Many holiday recipes are made for dinner, but these playful muffins are perfect for a breakfast or brunch. Kids will love biting into an enchantingly peanutty whole wheat muffin and finding a pocket of sweet, fruity jam hiding inside.

View Recipe: Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins


Photo: Johnny Autry


When baked in holiday shapes, these cookie-cake hybrids become more fun. They are good to have in the mix because decorating is simpler: Just dust with powdered sugar. Make and chill the batter up to a day ahead.

View Recipe: Madeleines

Gingerbread People

Photo: Johnny Autry

Gingerbread People

If you want to dress up the cookies, use red hot candies for buttons and currants for eyes; press those into the dough cut-outs before they're baked.

View Recipe: Gingerbread People

Mini Almond Cupcakes

Photo: Johnny Autry

Mini Almond Cupcakes

Kids will love decorating these cute little confections. Feel free to tint the icing to a variety of festive shades.

View Recipe: Mini Almond Cupcakes

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