It’s that time of year again! I love our annual pilgrimage around our neighborhood with plates of cookies or loaves of bread. As a teenager, I often made most of the baked goods my family shared with the neighbors. I wasn’t that concerned about finding easy cookies to make. I was more interested in making enough of them that we kids got to eat our share. Now, I get excited about meeting new people who’ve just moved in, or reconnecting with a neighbor we haven’t seen much of throughout the year. Sometimes we’re only able to visit for a few moments. But those few moments are so special.
Maybe it’s just my imagination, but at Christmastime I feel like the whole neighborhood becomes not only friendlier, but also safer. Everyone learns to recognize each other, so we know the difference between a break-in and Mrs. Mabel locking herself out of her house. With some neighbors, that’s (unfortunately) the only time of year we see each other. With others, Christmas cookies have just been a start to a great relationship.
As much fun as sharing Christmas goods is, some years it’s overwhelming to think of making that many special treats. Last year, with a new baby in the house, was one of those for me. I began the search for easy cookies and treats–things to make that wouldn’t exhaust me so I was too tired to walk around the neighborhood afterwards! I knew there had to be some cookies that were mouthwateringly good and yet incredibly simple to make. Here are some of the recipes for easy cookies or cookie bars that I’ve collected:
Super Easy Cookies to Share with the Neighbors
Cake Mix Snickerdoodles
I made these incredibly easy cookies last year as part of my cookie plates and they were quite the hit with one older gentleman in particular. 🙂 He told David he was lucky to have me as his wife. I had to laugh, since these cookies are certainly not the mark of the amazing housewife. You can find versions of the recipe on the websites for Duncan Hines or Betty Crocker.
– 1 white or yellow cake mix
– 1 egg
– 1/2 c. melted butter
Mix dough, form into balls, and roll balls into a cinnamon-sugar mixture. (Betty Crocker’s has 2 TB sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon.) Alternatively, you could use red-and-green sprinkles for a Christmasy look. Bake for around 12 minutes at 350.
Three-Ingredient Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
This recipe for the easiest cookies ever gets bonus marks for being gluten-free. Our next-door neighbor has celiac disease, so if he’s not allergic to peanut butter, I want to make these for him. The recipe comes from the Genius Kitchen collection.
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 cup white sugar, minus 2 TB
- one egg
Mix, roll into small balls, and press with a fork to make the normal peanut butter cookie pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Blonde Brownies (Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars)
I like to make some bar cookies to mix in my cookie plates. They don’t look like perfect cookies, but they’re usually very moist and they’re so much faster to bake because you just make a big pan and then cut them into squares. This is the recipe we served on our dessert bar at our wedding. I still use it often.
For an extra splash of flavor, add a teaspoon of almond extract.
Slice and Bake Easy Cookies
What attracted me to this recipe was the sheer number of possible variations on it. It takes a little more time to mix together than, say, the 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies. But with one basic recipe you can have citrus cookies, nut cookies, butter cookies, chai cookies–whatever you can dream up, you can add to this recipe.
– 2 sticks (8 ounces; 230 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
– 2/3 cup (80 grams) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
– Pinch of salt
– 2 large egg yolks, at room temperature
– 1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla or almond extract
– 2 cups (280 grams) all-purpose flour
That’s the basic recipe. For all the many variations, go to the Smitten Kitchen website. Don’t just read her suggestions; read the comments for lots more ideas!
Easy 5-Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies
These might not measure up to your very favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe, but when you’re pressed for time, these will work just fine as delicious yet easy cookies. This basic recipe comes from Baker Bettie.
Cake Mix Fudge Crinkle Cookies
Who can resist the lure of the crackling fudge cookie? These super easy cookies are some of my husband’s favorites. Hmm…maybe this year we’ll just do several cake mix cookies. 🙂 Way to make it easy! Although this year I don’t have a newborn as my excuse…
Seriously, though, these cookies are good every day of the year, newborns in the house or no. Here’s the 5-ingredient recipe on the Betty Crocker website.
Easy Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies aren’t my thing unless dipped in hot cocoa or bedecked with chocolate. These cookies CAN be decorated with chocolate chips or chocolate mint, though, so that makes them ok. Sugar cookies are also a staple at Christmas time. And this recipe is very easy. Just glam the cookies up with some colorful sprinkles!
Basic Butter Cookies
Speaking of dipping into hot cocoa, I can’t forget the delectable taste of a butter cookie soaked into the chocolate. Here’s an easy recipe from Epicurious.
Lazy Cookie Bars
Yes, I have to admit it. This recipe has cake mix, too. But there are M&Ms! Yumminess! This incredibly easy bar cookie recipe (you don’t even have to shape these!) comes from Cookies and Cups.
German Spice Cookies
These fairly easy cookies look absolutely scrumptious. If you’re not a fan of raisins, a test cook says the cookies turn out just fine without them.
Have fun and let me know how your cookies turned out! 🙂 Especially let me know if neighbors start talking about your housewifely skills when you use a cake mix! Haha! Happy baking!