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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.