Plan your own Baking Day with friends and family where you bake cookies and make candy for the holidays together. Share the costs, the work, and spoils so everyone leaves with a boat load of Christmas treats. It might be your new favorite tradition!

An overhead shot of gingerbread man cookies on a black cooling rack.

In the Midwest, people love to get together to make cookies and candy for the holidays. When I was growing up, it was always my mom, grandma, aunt, my mom’s aunt, and my sisters and me (I was young and only helped with taste-testing).

They would choose a dozen or so cookie and candy recipes and split the cost of the ingredients to make double or triple batches of everything. Then, they would get together one day and mix, bake, and frost with reckless abandon.

They shared they work and they divided their spoils. Everybody went home with an equal share of all the treats after having completed 20% of the work. It’s a day of fun, cookies, and life-long memories!

Ready to plan your own epic Baking Day?

Table of Contents
  1. Choose your crew
  2. Choose your date
  3. Choose your recipes
  4. Make your shopping list
  5. Make your game plan
  6. Consider refreshments
  7. Rolled cookies
  8. Molded cookies
  9. Waffle cookies
  10. Drop cookies
  11. Pressed cookies
  12. Bar cookies
  13. Slice-and-bake cookies
  14. Homemade candy

Choose your crew

A group of 3-4 people works best. Fewer than that means you won’t be able to crank out 10-12 recipes in a day. More than that and you’ll have too many cooks in the kitchen!

Talk to your brothers and sisters, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends, anyone who likes to bake. You’ll also need a host: The person who will host the Baking Day extravaganza.

Choose your date

You’ll want to plan a full day to get through all your recipes. Weekends are often a solid choice for everyone involved.

Choose your recipes

Aim for 2-3 recipes per person. For a group of 4, you might be able to knock out 12 recipes in a day. It depends on everyone’s comfort level in the kitchen and whether you are making brand-new recipes or old family favorites.

You’ll probably want a mix of cookies and candy and different styles of making them (some rolled cookies, some drop cookies, some slice-and-bake cookies). If you choose 8 candy recipes that involve manually dipping small things in chocolate, you won’t have a lot of fun.

Make your shopping list

Once you’ve chosen all the recipes, make a list of everything needed to prepare all the recipes on your list. Use my handy shopping list template if that helps you.

Also verify who has cookie cutters, sprinkles, take-home containers, and anything else you may need for the big day. If the host only has a couple of baking sheets, ask others to bring some to supplement (just keep track of whose is whose).

Make your game plan

Look over the recipes you’ve chosen and try to choose a logical order for execution. Consider what kitchen equipment you have and which recipes will need it. Some recipes require that the dough chill for 2 hours or more, so start with those recipes (or divide them up so multiple people can get started at the same time).

If a recipe is extremely intensive, such as preparing royal icing and frosting cookies with intricate decorations, perhaps give that person fewer recipes overall. Try to divide the recipes in a fair manner so that everything can accomplished efficiently and joyfully.

Consider refreshments

No matter how many master bakers are in your crew, Baking Day always takes all day. That’s why it’s called Baking Day!

Ideally, plan an easy slow cooker soup or stew for lunch (or order takeout). My aunt’s corn chowder was always our go-to: it’s hearty, filling, and the perfect antidote to the endless treats you’ll be sampling all day!


Rolled cookies

Christmas Sugar Cookies
These frosted Christmas Sugar Cookies are my grandma’s best recipe, so buttery and sweet! A family favorite. No Christmas is complete without them.
VIEW RECIPE
Frosted sugar cookies decorated for Christmas on a baking rack.

Molded cookies

Thumbprint Cookies
Tender-crisp and buttery, these Thumbprint Cookies can be filled with any jam you love. A class at Christmas, they shine like gems on your cookie plate!
VIEW RECIPE
Thumbprint cookies on a cooling rack.

Snickerdoodles

Soft, chewy, crackly, and rolled in cinnamon and sugar, these Snickerdoodles are impossible to pass up. You don’t have to chill the dough either, so you can go from zero to Snickerdoodle in under thirty…

40 minutes

Waffle cookies

Pizzelle
An easy Pizzelle recipe for the classic Italian cookie, lightly sweetened and flavored with vanilla or anise. All you need are 6 ingredients and 1 pizzelle maker!
VIEW RECIPE
Pizzelles stacked on a cooling rack.

Drop cookies

White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies
When it's time for dessert, White Chocolate Cranberry Cookies are always the first to get gobbled up. Mix white chocolate and tart dried cranberries in buttery cookie dough that's easy to make ahead, freeze, and bake later.
VIEW RECIPE
Cranberry cookies with white chocolate on a gray plate.

Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Your new favorite chewy, soft chocolate chip cookies. Under-bake them slightly so they come out with crispy edges and soft centers. Plus all the info you need to freeze cookie dough for later. I think…

30 minutes
Peppermint Cookies
A gorgeous plate of red velvet, cream cheese-frosted Peppermint Cookies is exactly what Santa’s hoping for. Leave some of his favorite Christmas cookies out this year, and maybe, just maybe, there will be a little something special under the tree.
VIEW RECIPE
Peppermint cookies on a white platter.

Pressed cookies

Spritz Cookies
My mom’s classic Spritz cookies recipe is the only one you need! These tiny cookies are crunchy, sweet, and perfect with a sprinkle of colored sugar.
VIEW RECIPE
Spritz cookies on a red plate.

Bar cookies

No Bake Peanut Butter Bars
People go wild for my grandma's no-bake Peanut Butter Bars! They only take 5 ingredients and 10 minutes (plus chilling time) to make, and they take just seconds to disappear.
VIEW RECIPE
No bake peanut butter bars on a white platter with a knife.

Slice-and-bake cookies

Cherry Almond Biscotti
This easy Cherry Almond Biscotti is delightful dunked in coffee or enjoyed on its own. Sweet maraschino cherries and salty almonds liven up this classic Italian cookie.
VIEW RECIPE
Cherry almond biscotti on a plate.
Fruitcake Cookies
Two Christmas dessert favorites, fruitcake and Christmas cookies, unite in this slice-and-bake cookie recipe. Customize this homemade Christmas cookie recipe with your favorite dried fruits, nuts, and liquors.
VIEW RECIPE
Fruitcake cookies on a cooling rack.

Homemade candy

Christmas Crack
You'll love this salty, sweet, crunchy, chewy saltine cracker candy, sometimes known as Christmas Crack, and you can make it in 15 minutes with just 5 ingredients!
VIEW RECIPE
A stack of Christmas crack on a plate.

Peppermint Bark

Homemade Peppermint Bark makes a special gift or a lovely addition to any dessert table. This famous recipe for two-toned chocolate bark studded with crushed peppermint candy is easy to make and will become a…

5 hours 15 minutes
Oreo Cookie Balls
The ultimate Oreo Cookie Balls recipe is right here, waiting to be rolled into your family’s holiday cookie line-up.
VIEW RECIPE
The ultimate Oreo Cookie Balls recipe is right here, waiting to be rolled into your family’s holiday cookie line-up. These no-bake beauties get drizzled with a homemade Salted Caramel Sauce, but you can change them up in a million different delicious, chocolatey ways.

Rolo Pretzel Candies

It takes just 3 ingredients to make these super-simple Rolo Pretzel Candies! Perfect for your last-minute candy-making needs this holiday season. It’s not too late to make candy! With just pretzels and caramel-filled Rolos, you…

1 hour 30 minutes
Puppy Chow
Also known as muddy buddies, this classic Midwestern dessert is my go-to no-bake treat for bake sales, parties, and food gifts. If you like peanut butter cups, you'll love this easy dessert recipe.
VIEW RECIPE
Puppy chow on a beige platter.

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Meggan Hill

I’m the Executive Chef and head of the Culinary Hill Test Kitchen. Every recipe is developed, tested, and approved just for you.

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Comments

  1. I cannot get anything to come up when I try to get recipe for Christmas crack. I am very familiar with eating this at Christmas with certain friends but do not have a recipe for it. When I try here it says “page not found”.