MoneySavingMom.com
FREEBIE LIBRARY!
Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

Ask the Readers: Do you have any frugal Christmas Cookie recipe ideas?

Today’s question is from Jessica:

I love giving homemade Christmas goodies out to friends and neighbors, but sometimes the ingredients can really add up to be a lot of money. When I’m already spending plenty of money this time of year, it can sometimes be hard to fork over the extra for specialty ingredients.

I wanted to get ideas from other MoneySavingMom.com readers about what Christmas goodies they find to be the most frugal to make and give. I’d love to be able to keep up this tradition with minimal damage to my pocketbook. -Jessica

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Money Saving Mom® readers? Read the submission guidelines and submit it here.

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!

97 Comments

  • I make ginger snaps that are so delicious they’ll melt your brain. The ingredients are all pantry staples, so they’re super frugal:

    http://thenonconsumeradvocate.com/2012/12/katys-ginger-snaps-aka-heroin-cookies/

    So very, very good.

    Katy

  • Kelly says:

    I really like this one from Semihomemademom: http://www.semihomemademom.com/2012/01/cinnamon-stick-cookies.html

    I could really use some of the frugal ones, too!!! I am in the same boat.

  • While not a uniquely Christmas cookie, my family and friends always love PNB cookies… and I have yet to find an easier/cheaper version than this one:

    1 cup peanut butter
    1 egg
    1 cup sugar

    Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.

    You can multiply it as many times as you want and spruce it up with Christmas-colored sprinkles, M&Ms, or just put them in a cute bag with a ribbon!

  • Lisa J says:

    Festive rice krispy treats are good. Stir in colorful sprinkles at the end, just before putting the mixture in the pan/tray. Also, there are some simple fudge recipes that are made from just a few ingredients and can be cut into fairly small portions, yielding quite a bit.

  • Sarah says:

    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/cinnamon-sugar-cookies/Detail.aspx

    Very delicious and this recipe has only a few ingredients and make 5 dozen cookies!

  • Megan says:

    I enjoy making candies that feel special, but aren’t very expensive. One year we made chocolate dipped pretzels (let them “drip” on a cooling rack w/ waxed paper underneath). I’ve chocolate-dipped pretzel rods, too, which make a fun addition to ice cream (I’m from Central PA and mixing salty and sweet is a popular PA German practice). I’ve also made caramels (the main ingredients are sugar and cream, both of which are typically on sale this time of year), marshmallows (if you have a quality stand mixer), and – perhaps my favorite! – peppermint patties. The patties are made of powdered sugar and a bit of corn syrup and dipped in chocolate. The only pricey bit is the $4 bottle of peppermint extract, but that will last you for a good long time. Have fun!

  • Jessica says:

    I had the same problem last year. I had a list of about a dozen people who were anxiously awaiting my christmas cookies, and almost no money to make them. Reluctantly, I decided to utilize my coupons and a sale at Target to get a good deal on some pouches of Betty Crocker cookie mix. To my surprise, my recipients loved their cookie! Some even said they were the best yet! The particular favorite was the peanut butter cookies (I placed a chocolate kiss in the middle of each to give them a special touch). Just goes to show that it is the thoughtful ness of a gift of baked goods that is far more impressive than the “fanciness” of the product.

    • Kristi says:

      My mother used the betty crocker mix, rolled the cookies into balls, and then rolled them in chopped peanuts. She said she got more compliments on them than any other cookie.

      • Deb says:

        I have to agree, the Betty Crocker pouches are as close to homemade as you’ll get from a packaged mix, and with a doubled $.50/1 coupon, they’re definitely budget-friendly. The peanut butter are actually better than any I’ve made from scratch, and the oatmeal are really good as well. The only cookies I make from scratch anymore are Toll House chocolate chip.

    • Deb says:

      I have to agree that the Betty Crocker cookie mixes are REALLY good! The peanut butter ones taste better than any I’ve ever made from scratch (they make a soft, chewy cookie). The oatmeal and double chocolate are also really good. And there are a few $.50/1 printable coupons out right now that make them a good deal. The only cookies I bake from scratch anymore are Nestle Toll House chocolate chip – still haven’t found a substitute for those!

      • Christina says:

        I agree totally with the Betty Crocker pouches! The favorite around our house and Santa’s favorite is Peanut Butter chocolate chunk. We do make them larger than suggested..it just seems to taste better when you have one over sized cookie instead of two small ones!

  • Kristen says:

    Not really a cookie, more of a Christmas goodie:

    – Rolos
    – Pretzels (the square ones)
    – M&Ms

    Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place pretzel on paper. Place Rolo on pretzel. Bake at 300 for 3 mins. Remove from oven. Place M&M on top of Rolo and press down. Can also be done with pecans instead of M&Ms.

    • Amanda says:

      Or kisses instead of Rolos!

      Matzo English toffee is another option, too.

      • Shannon says:

        Or caramel kisses 😉

      • Jenny says:

        I want to warn about this–it sounds silly but…

        I used to make these with my nieces years ago and we all LOVED them…so I picked up the ingredients recently for a playdate with my kids and we tried both the oven and microwave and they didn’t melt. It sounds weird but when I called the company, they said that they don’t know why, but some kisses don’t melt and they get calls complaining about it in regards to this recipe and that they recommend using Rolos instead.

    • Anna says:

      These are so yummy! I’ve had them with regular shaped pretzels, the rolo, and a nut pressed on top.

  • This isn’t a cookie, I know, but this caramel popcorn recipe makes a ton and isn’t very expensive:

    http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/caramel-popcorn-10000000420375/

    I make it every year, and people love it.

  • J says:

    My daughter was searching for frugal gift ideas for friends and neighbors and got a great deal on peppermint sticks. She pierced a large marshmallow on the end, dipped it in melted baking chocolate and then sprinkles. Once dry she put several in brown lunch sacks with a Christmas sticker.

    She has four young boys and not much time, needless to say. This was frugal and quick for her to do.

  • Elizabeth says:

    I agree baked goods are those cute little cookie mix jars can be expensive to put together I made some for the ladies at work and even with having the jars, flour, brown, sugar, and other basics I still ended up spending $20 to make 4 batches.
    I’m making spritz cookies for my supervisor other than the almond extract (which I normally have but loaned it out and never got it back *grumble*) It’s all stuff I normally have around the house flour, baking powder, butter, sugar, egg, milk, vanilla extract – and then of course the almond extract. I went down to the dollar store and found a cute tin to put it in for $2 though they had smaller cardboard packages with the plastic window for $1 per box. It really depends on the budget and how many people though.
    My #1 suggestion is stay away from things that take nuts because that can really add up and it’s easier to buy in bulk and make 1 type of item for everyone but if you want to try and individualize it then try different types of packaging it makes people feel you put thought into it for them. Maybe a wooden spoon or whisk tied on all which can be found at the dollar store.
    Personally I’m doing a few homemade goods but then will be doing a lot of regifting also since I’ve already had the Christmas party at work and and I’m drowning in hand lotion seeing how I never use the stuff. I’ve also got more coffee cups than I think one person could use in a life time. I thought about becoming a serial killer and drowning my victims in it (probably people in the stores after the holidays for the return lines) but I figured regifting them would be the better course of action 🙂
    IF – big if – you have 1 qt mason jars then the easiest cookie in a jar mix recipe I have is:
    1 c packed brown sugar
    1/2 c white sugar
    1 1/2 c semisweet chocolate chips
    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 tsp slat
    1 tsp baking soda
    Mix the salt and baking soda with the flour and then layer the ingredients (I suggest using the bottom end of a turkey baster to pack the flour down so it all fits).
    Add a card to it or we just decoratively glued it onto the jar last year (this year we did cowboy cookies and it was much more expensive and I tied cards onto the ribbon around the lid)
    1. Preheat oven to 375 F
    2. In large bowl cream 1 c unsalted butter or margarine until light and fluffy. Beat in 1 egg and 1 tsp of vanilla. Mix in cookie mix. Drop tsp’s of dough spaced well apart onto greased cookie sheet.
    3. Bake for 8 to 10 min or until lightly browned then cool.

    They aren’t ‘to die for’ cookies by any means but rarely are any pre-prepped mixes ever that ‘great’. But it’s pretty simple and over all cheep IF you have the jars already. I’m not sure what jars are running any more but anything like that will always jump the price. From a couple dollars per batch to probably closer to $5 after it’s broken down per jar which is just nuts. Just take inventory and remember it is the thought that counts 🙂

    • august says:

      Even if you gave those 4 batches out in dozens, you’re still spending $5 per person. I mean, that’s a pretty good deal.

  • I know you asked for cookie recipes but try making homemade bread –the artisan in 5)is an easy recipe. Mix in a few seasonings like rosemary and garlic. Super cheap:)

  • Katie R says:

    Google Old Dutch Sand cookies and use the recipe from cooks.com. All they need are flour, sugar, butter, baking soda and vanilla. To be festive, I roll the logs in colored sugar (bought on clearance) before refrigerating them. They are delicious, crispy, and inexpensive to make tons!

  • AM says:

    While not exactly cookies, we love to make these sweet treat for neighbors (and ourselves!) It has the bonus of being gluten-free, if you omit the pretzels or use GF ones, which works for many of our friends and family. We use this recipe (http://momitforward.com/holiday-crafts-chex-mix-candy-recipe-and-gift). I buy Chex mix and the M&M’s on sale, and we use white and chocolate chips. (The Chex site has many, many variations of sweet mixes, too.)
    We also make Pretzel Hugs, which are pretty inexpensive, too. (http://www.thesunnysideupblog.com/2009/12/pretzel-hugs.html)

    • Kim says:

      This isn’t a cookie, but what I’m doing this year to save money is giving a bag of candy coated pretzels. I got a one-pound bag of pretzels for $1.50 and a bag of white chocolate chips for the same price. Melt the chips in a double boiler, completely submerge the pretzels, scoop out with a fork and bang on the side of the pan to remove excess coating, lay on a piece of waxed paper till cool. You can sprinkle colored sugar other decorations to make them pretty. When cool I put them into some cellophane bags I had left from last year, tied with a ribbon and tag, and delivered to neighbors. It made enough to give to about four neighbors (and we nibbled on quite a few too), so about .75 each!

  • Judy says:

    I make “haystacks”.

    1 package butterscotch chips, melted in microwave
    1 package chow mein

    Melt chips, stir in chow mein, spoon onto foil or parchment paper. We add sprinkles, but that is not necessary. Let cool. Put in air tight container. Simple, cheap, and tasty!

    • Judy says:

      One more recipe…..

      PB Kisses

      1 cup peanut butter
      1 cup sugar
      1 egg
      1/2 packages kisses

      Mix pb, sugar, and egg. Spoon onto pan. Cook at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool on pan for 1 min. Transfer to parchment paper or foil. Put kiss in the middle. Let cool for 2 hours! Yummy!

  • Heather says:

    Peppermint Meringues! People always love these- they are so yummy, no fat, and make 60 per recipe! They are so easy & super frugal too.

    Ingredients
    3 large egg whites, room temperature
    1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/3 cup sugar
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1/8 teaspoon peppermint extract
    12 drops red food coloring

    Full recipe & pics—
    http://www.bonappetit.com/recipes/2011/12/peppermint-meringues

  • Kara S says:

    This is a recipe I tweaked from a pinterest recipe. I just LOVE these and you can usually get the ingredients with coupons for very cheap and/or free!

    Choc Chip Cake Batter Cookies
    Mix well: 1 pkg Pillsbury Funfetti Cake Mix, 2 eggs and 1/3 cup oil. Stir in 1/2 cup choc chips.
    Form: 1-2 tablespoon sized cookies on a baking sheet 1-2 inches apart.
    Bake: 6-8 minutes on 375′. (I like to broil for 1 min at the end to brown the tops. These are best a little under done.)

    ENJOY!

    • Jen says:

      I make a similar “cake mix” cookies, but around the holidays, I use a cherry chip cake mix with the same amount of eggs and oil called for here and baked the same. When cooled, I frost with vanilla frosting (from the dollar store, I just whip it with my mixer to make it fluffier) and then sprinkle with red sprinkles. 🙂 You can also use the chocolate cake mix and frost with the cherry-flavored frosting. (I make those for my father-in-law because he likes chocolate covered cherries so much.)

  • Kate says:

    Here’s an easy-peasy, impressive-looking and really tasty candy. Just not for anyone with a peanut allergy! 🙂

    http://www.food.com/recipe/Mashed-Potato-Candy-65601

  • Jennifer says:

    This isn’t a cookie recipe, but it sure is a yummy holiday goodie recipe….it’s Crystal’s World’s Easiest Christmas candy recipe! I am making this to hand out to my daughter’s teachers….it is easy,economical and delicious! And it makes a ton! Try it!

  • Sara says:

    I’ve started making this chocolate chip cookie. It’s so good and relatively cheap to make.
    Ingredients:
    3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
    3/4 c. brown sugar
    1/4 c. granulated sugar
    1 egg
    2 tsp. vanilla extract
    2 c. all purpose flour
    2 tsp. cornstarch
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

    Directions:
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy and light in color. Add egg and vanilla and blend in.

    3. Mix in flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt. Stir in chocolate chunks.

    4. Using a standard-sized cookie scoop or tablespoon, drop dough onto a prepared baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until barely golden brown around the edges. (The tops will not brown, but do NOT cook longer than ten minutes.)

    5. Let cool, on the sheet, on a wire rack for five minutes. Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely. Makes approximately 3 dozen.

  • This peanut butter candy is only two ingredients are takes about 4 minutes to make 🙂 Super awesome for us busy moms!
    http://www.momontimeout.com/2012/12/peanut-butter-candy/

  • Mel says:

    It’s not a cookie, but you could make cupcakes using the recipe for chocolate cake that has vinegar and no milk or eggs.

  • Last year I was feeling frustrated that I didn’t have the time or money to make cookies for gifts. My husband suggested that I make my Rosemary Olive Oil bread instead.

    It cost me $0.35 a loaf, which is MUCH cheaper than cookies (and it took so much less time!), and 6 months later people were still telling me how good it was (with a big hint that they want me to make it again for them this year).

    So, from now on, I’m making that! Here is the recipe: http://theprudenthomemaker.com/index.php/rosemary-olive-oil-bread

    • sona says:

      This sounds so good and certainly inexpensive…… but oohhhh the time it takes!

      • Sona,
        It’s a lot LESS hands-on time than you think. Most of the time is rising. After I mix it (about 7 minutes for measuring and mixing), I knaed it for 10 minutes and let it rise. Then I take it out and give it a quick shape–2 minutes. Then let it sit for 10 minutes. After that I shape the loaves (3 minutes) let rise again, and then cook it.

        Total hand-on time: 23-25 minutes

        That’s SO much less than making sugar cookie dough, rolling it out, and decorating it.

        The recipe makes 4 loaves, and if you want, you can cut them in half and have 8 loaves.

        Last year I started a second batch rising after I shaped the first batch for the final rise. I did that a few more times so that I could make 4 batches of bread in one day (16 loaves of bread).

        People really liked that it was something savory, too.

        • You could also use mini-loaf pans to stretch the gift. About four mini’s equals one loaf, and allow two mini’s per recipient to make 32 gifts in one day for mere pennies. Hmmm… think I may do this myself, lol!

          • These aren’t made in loaf pans–just on cookie sheets! You can make smaller loaves without a problem, and no special equipment is needed (the loaf pans).

            I knead the dough by hand and mix it in the bowl with a wooden spoon.

            The loaves are round loaves; the kind you see at the store for about $4 a loaf.

  • heather says:

    Carmel chex mix. I use chex and pretzles and the carmel mixture is butter and brown sugar. I have made this for gifts for people and they love it and right know you can get chex really cheap. Check up the chex site for recipes

  • Jenae says:

    These sugar cookies are the BEST and the only unusual ingredient is sour cream…which is pretty cheap! 🙂

    http://www.icanteachmychild.com/2010/12/worlds-best-sugar-cookie-recipe/

  • Rhonda says:

    Mine aren’t necessarily cookies, but I take melted chocolate chips and dip pretzel rods in them to cover about half of them. I let them harden on waxed paper in the freezer. They are some of the first things to go and they are very inexpensive and easy!

  • I have a Five Days of Homemade Food Gifts going on here at Our Simple Farm. I like frugal and simple! Go here: http://tinyurl.com/bhzz3z8

  • Wanda says:

    My shortbread recipe makes about 90 cookies for the price of 1 lb butter, 1 cup sugar, and 4 cups of flour… That’s about $0.03 per cookie

    Recipe here:
    http://scratchthatwanda.blogspot.ca/2011/12/shortbread.html

  • We just posted some Food Gift Ideas for Christmas. Some are cheaper than others. A frugal and impressive sweet treat is the homemade biscotti. A good frugal savory option is Ranch Flavored Oyster Crackers. They’re great for people who are watching their sugar. Also, if you make your own dry ranch mix (lots of recipes online) you can decide how salty to make them.

  • Kelly says:

    This holiday season, I’m in the last few weeks of pregnancy, so I can’t be up on my feet baking for long. I made these two treats, put them into snack-sized baggies, and stapled them together with a piece of Christmas paper on top to act as the tag. A little bit goes a long way and you don’t have to spend much on ingredients. I actually had most of the ingredients on hand.

    1. Reindeer Food – http://www.butterwithasideofbread.com/2012/07/reindeer-food.html
    6 cups Rice Chex, 1/2 package of white almond bark, & 6 crushed candy canes made enough to fill one dozen snack-sized baggies.

    2. No-Bake Cookies
    1 stick butter
    2 cups sugar
    1/3 cup cocoa powder
    1/2 cup milk – Boil these ingredients for 2 full minutes, stirring constantly once it comes to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1/2 cup peanut butter and 3 cups of oats. Drop spoonfuls onto a wax or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and let cool. (I usually flash freeze mine in the freezer.)

    • Heather says:

      haha last Christmas I was 9 months pregnant (delivered on Christmas) and I still threw a Christmas party with enough food to feed 50 people even though 10 came… SO much fun. But, I didn’t have any other kids underfoot.

  • Lesley says:

    I just made a batch of Angel Face cookies, a recipe that Crystal had on this site the other day. They are delicious! It says the yield is 5 dozen, but I wasn’t sure what size to make them (the recipe just says “shape into balls”). I used a level tablespoon of dough and I have tons of cookies! I have a large container to take to a cookie exchange tomorrow, plus a platter of 3 dozen for us and we already ate a dozen or so (well, we had to test them, right?). I dipped some of them halfway into chocolate and some of them halfway into white chocolate as I already had these on hand. Sprinkles or colored sugar would have been nice, too. Some I left plain. The only ingredients I had to buy was shortening (I don’t normally have this) and cream of tartar (mine had expired in 2011!). They were very easy to make and the whole family loved them. I think I might make another batch to give out as gifts.

  • Beth says:

    Meringue cookies are very frugal, but special. You can make cocoa meringues, or use a bit of red or green food coloring in the plain kind to make them Christmasy.

  • My go to cookie is a Mexican Wedding Cake cookie! They only take Butter, flour, vanilla, salt and powdered sugar and one batch makes 3 dozen cookies. The nice part is you can add almost any item to them or non at all. So if chocolate chips are on sale you can buy them or dried cranberries, or you can even dip them in chocolate, you can see my recipe here. http://proverbslady.com/2012/10/mexican-wedding-cake-cookies-with-a-fall-twist/

    Very affordable and easy to make!

  • Amy H. says:

    Fried bread is pretty good – just use your regular bread dough recipe and fry it up then sprinkle with powdered sugar.

    Another idea is a homemade loaf of bread and a jar of homemade jam. I make extra in the summer when I’m canning. Peach jam is really good this time of year and one of the more inexpensive fruits.

  • Anna says:

    My one tip for making cheaper Christmas treats is margarine. I know, I know, it isn’t as good for you as butter (well, I guess that depends on who you ask), but it is so much cheaper, unless you get a killer deal on butter. I find in substitutes very well in every recipe, and some recipes come out more to my liking with margarine.

    My favorite, unique Christmas treat is Bohemian Nut slices. My grandma got it in the mail many years ago with her power bill, and we’ve been making it ever since. It’s a pastry filled with meringue and pecan bits (or omit the nuts). It looks beautiful drizzled with powdered sugar and sprinkled with red sugar. Yummy and different. This is the same recipe, from cooks.com:
    http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,174,148181-228203,00.html

  • lara c says:

    I make the bread from Artisan Bread in 5 mintues a day. I also make up a batch of honey cinnamon butter. (Room temp butter, honey and cinnamon, mixed in the blender with my risk attachments.) I pick up inexpensive jars from Michaels, using a coupon, and put fresh bread, & butter in a paper bag. Yummy, warm and tasty. My neighbors loom forward to it.

  • Erika Lindemann says:

    I make cake mix cookies and fudge. You can use any combination of cake mix and chips to make truly unique flavors. I support our troops overseas and my most requested cookie in Afghanistan is strawberry with white chocolate chips and Birthday Cake Fudge.

    http://www.food.com/recipe/fudge-crinkles-a-great-4-ingredient-cake-mix-cookie-32614

    http://makebakecelebrate.blogspot.com/2012/09/birthday-cake-fudge.html

  • Stee says:

    Buy your ingredients at the warehouse club. Great prices for flour, sugar, eggs and butter. Don’t cheap out on generic brands.

  • Andrea says:

    Not a cookie, but the last time I went to a cookie swap, I had an infant and two toddlers. I had no time to bake. I bought clementines (tangerines/cuties) on sale and packaged them into bags with pretty ribbons. They were a huge hit with every family that attended!

  • bberg says:

    Normally I make molasses, snickerdoodles and peanut butter. No expensive chips or candy. sSuper easy and taste great!

  • august says:

    My Dad makes pb fudge and chocolate fudge -both with walnuts. They’re hopelessly delicious. If all else fails, just buy some cookie dough from the store and go crazy. It’s the though!

  • Sheila says:

    Snickerdoodles are a favorite any time around here and I can make them a little more “festive” with a sprinkle of colored sugar. We stick with pretty basic recipes each year. Snickerdoodles, peanut butter (sometimes with the chocolate kiss, sometimes just hash marks with a fork), sugar cookies for decorating with the kids, & not inexpensive but a family favorite “snowballs” (some years I cannot afford to make them, because of the price of the walnuts.)

  • Jennifer Brown says:

    We make peppermint park, super easy, super inexpensive and super yummy. Try to stay away from gifts with recipes that require Nuts…… not only is a common allergy but my goodness they’re expensive!

  • Lara says:

    I love to bake and the cheapest and easiest recipe would definitely be the holiday spritz or those cookies you use the cookie press.

    If you still want to make an extra special treat like choc chip cookie that would still use quality ingredients (really makes a difference on taste), I would suggest heading over to your wholesale club (Costco, etc.) to buy most, if not all, of the ingredients you need to use. I surmise you’re gonna be making a lot anyway.

    Don’t worry about having too much flour or sugar, etc at hand as those are pantry staples anyway. Last time I was at Costco I got a big bag of the Nestle Choc Chips for my cookies and I think it was a great deal.

    • Brighid says:

      If you don’t have a membership, chances are a family that you know does. 🙂 And if you ask to go along, chances are someone who has to do the shopping would be more than glad of a friend to come along and make it more pleasant.

      If you’re shy, there’s always a free visit coupon out there for BJ’s or Sam’s Club. Costco will refund any unused portion of your membership fee.

  • Jenny says:

    When a friend of mine shared the recipe for her staple cookies to share, I couldn’t believe how inexpensive and easy they are to make! Even my preschooler helps with these!

    Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

    Ingredients:
    Devils food cake mix (often on sale for $1 or less)
    Oil
    Eggs
    Water
    Chocolate chips
    (I add 3 Christmas M&Ms to the top of each cookie for Christmas baking!)

  • Kelly says:

    I agree with the person who suggested margarine. I stocked up when I could get a pound for less than $.50 at Thanksgiving. I have a few recipes that I know butter is necessary, but otherwise I use margarine.

    Cake mix cookies can be really frugal if you stock up on sale or from the dollar store. My favorite is 1 box cake mix, 1 stick margarine, 1 block cream cheese (look for sales!), 1 egg, 1 tsp vanilla. Mix together, shape into balls, roll in powdered sugar. Bake at 350 just until tops are set. Depending on the size, you can get about 4 dozen or more from this for $3 or less… and they always disappear fast!

  • Lara says:

    This recipe for Caramel-Frosted Pumpkin Bread is my favorite both to give as a gift and to eat! It’s so tasty, simple to make, looks gourmet, and doesn’t call for any exotic/expensive ingredients.
    http://yummyeasyaffordable.blogspot.com/2012/11/caramel-frosted-pumpkin-bread.html
    Wrap a full-size loaf up on a pretty holiday-themed paper plate and tie with curling ribbon, or gift a mini loaf in a decorative mini loaf pan ($1 at Michaels).

  • Bernadette says:

    I’ve made chocolate dipped spoons before too. You just need inexpensive plastic spoons, some chocolate chips and maybe some sprinkles or white chocolate to melt and drizzle over the milk chocolate. They look really festive and are perfect for coffee or hot chocolate lovers. And they are a little treat that you wouldn’t normally make for yourself, perfect for a gift. Best part, one box of spoons and a few bags of chocolate chips and you have presents for multiple people. Package them in a cute cellophane bag, and voila! Cute, inexpensive, fun gift. 🙂

  • Morgan says:

    My family has made “stupid cookies” every Christmas for years. Dubbed stupid cookies because the recipe is so simple it’s stupid!
    1 box any flavor cake mix (lemon is my fave)
    1 egg
    4 1/2 oz. cool whip
    Powdered sugar

    Mix cake mix, egg and cool whip together. Roll dough into 1″ balls. Roll balls in powdered sugar. Bake on lightly greased baking sheet at 350 degrees for 12 mins.

    Makes 3 dozen cookies and super cheap. I just made a batch for a cookie exchange and I only spent less than $3 to make them. I like lemon and spice best but you can use any flavor cake mix.

    • JoAnna says:

      oops–I just posted the same recipe before reading the other posts. These are so easy and inexpensive. I also think the spice is yummo!

  • Angela says:

    I make a mint cookie, which looks nice, is different and reasonably inexpensive. I made mine last night and in under an hour I had about 120 cookies.

    http://abusymomoftwointhekitchen.blogspot.com/2011/12/12-days-of-christmas-cookies-mint.html

    The chocolate I buy with coupons at Joann’s or Michaels generally.

  • Krista says:

    I cheat a little. I got Betty Crocker Peanut Butter cookie mix at Dollar Tree for $.50 and free Hershey kisses from CVS by rolling ECBs and made Peanut Butter Blossoms. Bonus: the kids got to help, I didn’t have to get out a bunch of ingredients and the whole process from start to finish was about 30 minutes!

  • JoAnna says:

    Cool Whip cookies:
    Box of 18.25 oz cake mix, any flavor
    8 oz. of Cool Whip
    1 lg egg
    powdered sugar (couple cups in a shallow dish)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    Mix cake mix, cool whip and egg.
    Put in fridge for a bit to decrease the sticky factor.
    Take a spoon full and roll it in the powdered sugar.
    Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes (depending on cookie size).

    This time of year cake mix is at most $1.00 per box and Cool Whip is also usually $1. You can make 2 dozen cookies for $2 🙂

  • Melissa says:

    I shop at Aldi for all my baking supplies and save bundles. For instance chocolate chips are just $1.29 a bag. Hopefully you have one near you and you can save alot and do the baking you enjoy.
    Merry Christmas

  • I find that these Carrot Cookies are a little “frugaler” than some of the other cookies I bake. Outside of the normal pantry ingredients you need carrots and coconut, both of which i have found to be pretty inexpensive. They are very yummy and a little different than your normal cookie.

    http://www.wonderwomanimnot.com/2010/11/carrot-cookie-recipe.html

  • Kristie says:

    Snickerdoodles! My family loves them and I always have everything on hand to make them. Soooo easy!

  • Carmen says:

    These are called “Poor Man’s Cookies” because there are no eggs or butter in them. They probably still aren’t cheap given all the sugar in them 🙂 I like these cookies because we always have these ingredients on hand. http://www.cnuland.com/recipes/PoorMansCookies.php

  • Nancy Kington says:

    Snickerdoodles are inexpensive (but you should use real butter, which does go on sale at this time of year)–we use a recipe from a friend that came from a Mrs. Fields recipe webste. We can buy cinnamon inexpensively at Trader Joe’s or in bulk spice bins at Sprouts.
    Last year we took the Trader Joe’s gingerbread mix and used it to make gingerbread men–plenty for 5″ plates, and we just used plain homemade icing. Quick, easy, look festive!
    We also make chocolate crinkles from Family Fun’s recipe database, and it takes cocoa and just one cup of chocolate chips per recipe for specialty ingredients–everyone likes chocolate!
    Sugar cookies don’t have expensive ingredients (except the butter): we use a recipe by Susan Purdy, from The Family Baker. If you sprinkle with colored sugars (look for sales around Christmas) they’re not expensive.
    I’ve also found that making a master list in November of all the baking you plan to do, and adding up exactly what you need allows you to take advantage of the sales (I’ve found the best baking ingredient sales Thanksgiving week) without overbuying.

  • Luna in Iowa says:

    Cake mix cookies are pretty cheap considering the box mixes are under $1 most of the time. Any box mix, any flavor and you have special cookies.

    http://busycooks.about.com/od/cookierecipes/r/cakemixcookies.htm

  • Kim T. says:

    we make homemade butter caramels. line pan w/parchment paper, wrap individual caramels in waxed paper. soft and deeeeelicious!

    or don’t cook it as long and make homemade caramel sauce – or even homemade hot fudge sauce!

    and how about homemade jam and homemade pancake/waffle mix? you can get frozen berries at costco…

    I also agree with the idea of chocolate (white, milk, dark, mint, etc.) dipped pretzel rods or just pretzels. mmmmm!

    here’s another: marshmallows dipped in chocolate and rolled in graham cracker crumbs. perhaps best on a popsicle stick.

  • Liz says:

    A new favorite (I adapted this from one on the Pillsbury website)…Peppermint Sugar Cookies

    Ready to bake Sugar Cookie dough (or you can make it from scratch)
    Candy cane-flavored Hershey’s kisses
    Vanilla bark or chips

    Bake sugar cookies according to package/recipe. Melt chips or bark with the Hershey’s kisses (I used about 1/3 of a bag of kisses and half a package of bark…it makes it a light pink color)–drizzle it over the cookies and let dry.

    Cheap and easy…but they look nice and taste even better! 🙂

    (My mom made this recipe and used a package of vanilla & peppermint chips already together…same result!)

  • Hannah says:

    My mother and I recently came up with a really yummy Christmas snack type thing that only has three ingredients. You may already have these ingredients in your house. We melt white almond bark(a cheaper option is vanilla flavored chips), dip the ends of pretzel sticks in the almond bark, and then roll it in crushed peppermints, placing them on wax paper(cheaper then parchment) to dry. The combination of the salt and the peppermint is delicious! They dry really fast, and are east to transport anywhere. Tip: keep the almond bark in the pan when doing this. The more shallow the dish with the almond bark, the faster it will dry, thus making it impossible to dip the pretzels in. Hope this is fairly cheap for you!

  • Sissy Sweet says:

    Meringue Puffs

    2 large egg whites, at room temperature
    1/4 tsp white vinegar
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted

    Preheat over to 175. Line a large baking sheet with foil

    Beat the egg white and vinegar with an electric mixer until they turn white and hold soft peaks. While still beating, add the granulated sugar a little at a time. You should now see shiny, bright-white meringue.

    Keep beating, gradually adding the powdered sugar.

    Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of the sticky meringue onto the baking sheet, scraping the meringue off the teaspoon with another spoon. * You can also put them in a pasty bag or zip-lock bag with a snipped off corner, to make them look a little prettier.

    Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until you can easily detach the meringue puffs from the foil. Cool 2 hours.

    Makes 36

  • Emmie says:

    We baked bread last year for everyone in a braided form and turned them into wreaths. Using food coloring I took half the dough and added green, and the other part red.

    http://afreshstarttomakingendsmeet.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html

    We made an AMAZING Gingerbread Jam from the Taste of Home magazine.

    Another great idea is watch those sales! We stocked up on cake mix for next to nothing near Thanksgiving. So cake cookies it is! As well as some traditional cookies. All baking can be pricey, but if you use your coupons [We just found Ghiradelli chips @ Bj’s Wholesale for $5.99[3lbs] after coupons it was $3.99[3lbs]

    MERRY CHRISTmas!

  • Kelley says:

    The easiest cookies I know to make, that are also super yummy are cake mix cookies! Use any flavor cake mix you like, add 2 eggs, and 1/3 cup of oil. That’s it! Bake 8-10 min @ 350. You can add chocolate chips, or nuts, or whatever your heart desires. These are super fast, cheap, and delicious! My fave is the devil’s food version.

  • Dana says:

    I think this year I am going to skip doing the whole cookie plate thing. It is too overwhelming for some reason 🙂 But I think I will bake some cinnamon rolls, the allrecipes.com recipe that is a replica of cinnabon is my favorite. I think I will bake them in throw away pans that hold a half dozen or so. I am all about the simplicity this year! I don’t know the exact cost, but for a half dozen cinnamon rolls, it couldn’t be that much!

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *