Updated: Dec 9, 2020
If you enjoy the tradition of making homemade holiday cookies for your family, friends, and neighbors, here are some leveled-up recipes for you to really impress this year!
Cake Mix Sandwich Cookies
These cookies may look familiar if you've followed me for a while and that's because I used a similar recipe for our Halloween cookies! These cake mix cookies are so easy to make, so soft and delicious, you really don't need to make them into sandwiches for them to be leveled up, but why not!?
For the Cookies
(this makes 24 individual small cookies or 12 cookie sandwiches)
1 box of Betty Crocker Super Moist Butter Pecan cake mix
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup chopped pecans
2-3 tablespoons of flour
non-stick cooking spray
Simply mix the cake mix, eggs, oil, and vanilla together until all the mix is incorporated. Add the pecans and continue to mix. Because this mix is 'extra moist' (sorry y'all) it was very sticky and I found myself needing to add 2-3 heaping tablespoons of flour. It still looked pretty sticky so I sprayed my hands with non-stick spray and was able to need it into a cookie dough ball.
Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees and form your cookies. I used a round tablespoon to measure out and insure that my cookies were similar size (which is necessary when you want to make sandwiches.) I then rolled them into balls and pressed down with my fingers. Lastly, I flipped them over so the tops would be really smooth. Make sure your cookie sheet is lined with parchment!
These cookies did slightly spread as opposed to the ones I made at Halloween with white cake mix so make sure you space them out on your cookie sheet.
Bake them for 5-7 minutes. They will come out very soft. They will stay soft but once they are cool you can pick them up without them flopping over. I transfered mine to a cooling rack and then made my butter cream filling. Make sure your cookies are completely cool before you fill them and feel free to keep them in the refrigerator while you wait!
For the Buttercream Filling
(for 10 cookie sandwiches + extra for your cake balls later)
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 cups of powdered sugar
3-8 tablespoons whole milk
The amounts of powdered sugar and milk depend on the softness of your butter, the humidity in your house, and the consistency in which you want your frosting. It's pretty cool here so my "room temperature" butter wasn't very soft. I used 3 cups of powdered sugar and 5 tablespoons of milk.
Add your room temperature butter, salt and vanilla to your stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and creamy.
Add in your powdered sugar 1 cup at a time and mix until fully incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides and bottom to be sure everything is mixing.
Add your milk in 1 tablespoon at a time and mix on medium-high until incorporated. Stop when you've reached the consistency you are looking for.
Match up your cookies in pairs of similar sizes.
Add your buttercream to a disposable piping bag.
Pour your Sprinkle Pop Sprinkles into a small bowl.
Pipe a thick circle onto one cookie and press the other cookie on top gently. Holding the cookie on top and bottom, dip the side into the bowl of sprinkles and rotate until it is fully covered. If your buttercream is too soft and squeezes out, refrigerate your cookie sandwiches for 5 minutes before adding the sprinkles.
You can serve these cookies at room temperature or cold but keep them covered in the fridge for prolonged periods of time. Eat within 3 days. The cookies on their own would probably last a week in a bag on the counter top.
Cake Pop Ice Cream Cones
I love how these cake pops turned out and how they really look like ice cream! Imagine how your guests would react when they see these beautiful ice cream cones sitting out on a dessert table and wondering if you are a crazy person!
8-10 flat bottom ice cream cones
1 box of white cake mix
1/2 cup oil
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup vanilla buttercream (left over from sandwich cookies)
white chocolate morsels
1 teaspoon shortening
Make your cake per the instructions on the box. I baked my 1 box of mix in 2 8-inch pans and let them completely cool in the refrigerator.
Once your cakes are cool, crumble them up into as fine of pieces as you can. Add in your buttercream (or any frosting you have), first mixing with a spoon and then kneading with your hands to create a cookie-dough-like consistency.
Form you cake balls and line them up on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Make sure they are big enough that they will look nice on top of your ice cream cones. Use the excess to fill your ice cream cones to the top. I was able to make 8. Refrigerate all of these for at least 15 minutes.
Melt your white chocolate on a double boiler and add 1 teaspoon of shortening. (Don't ask me how to get smooth melted chocolate as it is impossible for me and you can see that these finished cones do not have a smooth finish. It just happened to work out ok with this recipe and I am not overly-emotional about it at all....)
Pour your Sprinkle Pop Sprinkles into a small bowl. Dip the top rim of each of your ice cream cones in the melted chocolate and let them sit for 1-2 minutes. Then dip each cone into the sprinkles.
Put a dab of melted chocolate onto the top of the ice cream cone (where your cake filling is) and place your cake ball on top. Holding your cone, dollop a spoon full of white chocolate on top of the cake ball and smooth it around with the spoon making it look like scooped ice cream.
Line your finished ice cream cones up on a cookie sheet (one that fits in your fridge) and add sprinkles on top. I save the big pretty one for this! Refrigerate your cones.
The chocolate dries pretty hard on these, I accidentally knocked a couple over in the refrigerator and they were completely unharmed. You can definitely leave these out at room temperature for a reasonable amount of time and I suggest you have them out for at least 20-30 minutes before eating so that the chocolate isn't too hard to bite into!
I think I just might have to add these to the list of desserts that I customize for every holiday and occasion. These would be so gorgeous in any color combination!
Don't forget to follow me on IG @carlyrhill and tag me if you try any of these DIYs this Christmas!