Every year, we have a baking day in our home where the kids join me in the kitchen and we fill Christmas cookie boxes with soft Christmas cookies and other fun treats. This is something we all look forward to and I do a few things to help make it an enjoyable experience.
This is a day we all look forward to. The music is turned up, the fire is on, Hallmark movies are playing, and we bake away in the kitchen all day.
It might seem stressful to have a day dedicated to baking with your kids, but with a little bit of preparation, it’ll be such a wonderful memory.
I have shared many tips for preparing for Christmas so you don’t feel overwhelmed by the season and baking day is one of those days you need to prepare for.
If you use these simple tips to get your kitchen ready, you won’t feel like it’s a burden. It’ll be such a fun day that you look forward to each and every year.
Where did Christmas cookie baking day come from?
The idea of baking dozens of cookies around Christmas time stretches back to the time of The Great Depression.
Mothers wanted to give their kids an opportunity to be generous even during the hardest of times, so they baked cookies to share.
How to prepare for Christmas cookie baking day
There are several things you can do to prepare for Christmas cookie baking day.
These tips have come about after several years of doing a baking day with my kids and they help tremendously.
- Pick the perfect recipes for your baking day a couple of weeks in advance
- Gather your baking supplies ahead of time
- Make sure you have your cookie containers for gifting or storing cookies
- Before baking day, make the cookie dough, roll it into cookie dough balls, flash freeze them, and then put them in a ziplock with the baking temperature and time written on the the plastic storage bag
How do you freeze cookie dough
Freezing dough, breads, and meals is a quick trick I use all of the time to help alleviate the stress of days that are busy and full, such as a baking day.
You can do the same with cookie dough!
Cookie dough freezes so well and it makes cookie baking day so much smoother when the dough is already ready to go.
Whether your kids help you make the actual dough by putting ingredients in the mixing bowl. Or, whether they simply roll the dough into balls for you, they will have a great time helping in whatever way they can.
- Make cookie dough. You can make the cookie dough all at once, or make one type of cookie dough each day. I made my cookie dough at the beginning of December when I had some extra time. I made a different cookie dough each day.
- Roll cookie dough into 1 inch balls. Roll each dough into 1 inch dough balls and place on a parchment lined cookie baking sheet that will fit in your freezer.
- Freeze cookie dough balls. Freeze your cookie dough for an hour or until hardened.
- Label Ziplock and Put dough balls in Ziplock. Label a ziplock with the baking time and temperature. Put the frozen dough balls in the ziplock and keep in the freezer until baking day.
How do you bake frozen cookie dough?
Baking frozen cookie dough is quite easy.
While your oven preheats, put a piece of parchment paper on your baking sheets and allow your cookie dough balls to sit and thaw on the cookie sheets.
When the oven is preheated, your dough balls will be ready to bake.
It isn’t unusual to have to add a minute, or two, to the baking time when baking frozen dough balls.
Watch your cookies and test for doneness.
How do you know if cookies are done baking?
To test your cookies, press the outer edges of your cookie. If they feel firm, then they are ready to be pulled out of the oven.
If they are soft, give them another minute or two of baking time.
The Best Christmas Recipes for Kids
Getting kids in the kitchen is a great thing to do.
It creates the best memories that they hold on to for years and it helps them know how to run a kitchen.
The best recipes for kids are those that use normal ingredients because they get to learn how to use everyday ingredients they will have in their own kitchens one day.
Each of the Christmas cookie recipes I use produce a soft cookie every time.
They are cookies that require rolling the dough into a ball, which is a great task for any child.
I also love that they have different flavor profiles so everyone in your family, or on your block, will be happy to get a Christmas cookie box delivery.
Peppermint Mocha Cookies
If you are a chocolate lover, this cookie is for you.
It has a deep flavor profile and is soft and chewy.
I love the half-dipped cookie look because it offers two cookies in one!
The crushed peppermint garnish is both festive and tasty.
We have been making these cookies for several years and they always turn out to be a huge hit for the chocolate lovers.
Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Lemon crinkle cookies aren’t necessarily the cookie you think of when you think of Christmas, but they add such a great juxtaposition to the other cookies people make.
The bright, fresh taste is a nice surprise in amongst the rich flavors of most Christmas cookies.
This cookie ends up being everyone’s favorite by the time the season is over because it’s soft, chewy, and you don’t grown tired of it.
Christmas Ginger Cookie
Behold, the Christmas ginger cookie.
I know what you’re thinking, ginger isn’t a flavor that you think you like, but I promise this cookie is downright delicious.
This cookie happens to be my favorite of the three.
The ginger-molasses flavor paired with the sweetness of the sugar makes this cookie the perfect Christmas cookie.
What to include in Christmas Cookie Boxes
Every one of my kids has a job when it comes to packing our Christmas cookie boxes.
I prefer the cookie boxes that have a clear window on the front so they can see the cookies inside.
It is also a good idea to get decorative baking paper to go inside so your cookies have something to sit on. If you can’t find any, use a parchment paper instead.
Along with our Christmas cookies, we include chocolate covered almonds, chocolate covered oreos, and chocolate covered pretzels in our cookie boxes.
Other Cookie ideas for your Christmas Cookie Boxes
- The BEST Chocolate Chip cookies
- Christmas Sugar Cookies
- Chocolate Dipped Oreos
- Chocolate Dipped Pretzel rods
- Shortbread Cookies
- Homemade Fudge
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Snowball Cookies
Easy tasks for kids in the kitchen on baking day
- Measure ingredients and let your kids dump them in the mixer
- Kids can easily roll raw cookie dough into dough balls
- If your recipe involves rolling dough balls in sugar or powdered sugar, this is a great task for children
- Children love dipping cookies and pretzels in warm, melted chocolate
- Adding sprinkles to cookies is a great task for kids
- Have kids fill the Christmas cookie boxes with several of each of the cookies
Tips for Cookie Baking Day
- Be sure to use cookie recipes that you have tested or know to be delicious. There’s nothing worse than gearing up for cookie baking and then have the recipes fall flat. Test the recipes or get them from a trusted source.
- Use parchment paper on your cookie sheets. This makes clean up extremely quick and easy.
- Make sure your eggs and butter are room temperature, unless otherwise specified. Having room temperature eggs and butter gives way to more “rise” when your cookies bake.
- Take inventory of your ingredients and make certain that you have enough for all of your cookie recipes.
- If you are doing a baking day for the first time, be sure to save new recipes that were a hit for next year. Write notes on the recipe that will help you when you make them again.
- This might be the most important tip of all. Plan an easy dinner idea for your cookie baking day. A pot of soup that can be simmering on the stove or takeout pizza is a good option for days like this where you will be in the kitchen for most of the day.
Frequently Asked Questions about Baking Day
This depends on what type of cookie you are making.
Most Christmas cookies should be made within 24 hours of gifting to ensure they are fresh and boasting their fullest flavor.
If you are making dryer cookies, such as shortbread, those maintain their integrity for longer, up to 3 weeks.
You can keep most raw cookie doughs in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before baking
Yes! You can freeze baked cookies for up to two months.
Bake your cookies and allow them to cool completely.
Place them in a ziplock freezer bag with the date they were baked written on the bag and store them flat in the freezer for up to two months.