Budget-friendly Christmas cookie recipes
By Paula Wethington / Monroe on a Budget
One of the Christmas traditions that families continue to cherish is making Christmas cookies either with the kids, or for the kids, for a bake sale, or for a cookie swap.
The tricky situation for families on tight grocery budgets is that many popular recipes call for expensive ingredients such as nuts, chocolate chips and candied fruit.
Part of this is based on the fact that Christmas cookies were historically a once a year treat.
But it’s also fair to say the cost of some ingredients has changed noticeably over the years. The “no-bake” chocolate peanut butter oatmeal cookies that a budget-minded mom would typically make a generation ago, for example, are almost a luxury these days!
What can you do about that?
If you are receiving Women Infants Children benefits, you can use the peanut butter, eggs and oatmeal that are among WIC-eligible groceries as a starting point for cookie making. Therefore, my recommendations would include:
- Chocolate no-bake cookies. After all, this recipe uses WIC-friendly groceries!
- Oatmeal cookie of any kind, but here is my favorite version (I use raisins instead of cranberries).
- Peanut butter cookies.
- Meringue cookies.
Now for those whose grocery budgets are paid for on a cash or food stamp basis:
- I’d still recommend meringue cookies, as eggs are not expensive.
- Mexican sugar cookies, as the only ingredients are flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon and this recipe is absolutely delicious.
- Cookies that get their chocolate flavor from cocoa powder, as you don’t need much in a given recipe. Example: Chocolate crinkle cookies.
- The classic cut-out sugar cookie also calls for common pantry items, and a powdered sugar icing is both easy and cheap to make.
- Monroe News‘ food columnist Kim Domick recommends this sugar cookie recipe. I would repurpose the leftover heavy cream, after making her recipe, as coffee creamer.
Remember to look for, and stock up during, the sales and coupons on sugar, flour, food coloring, spices and butter. They do show up from time to time.
How can you handle a cookie swap? That’s another post.
What beverage do I serve with Christmas cookies? I have a peppermint mocha coffee mix recipe, but it’s not exactly budget friendly!
Updated Dec. 18, 2013.