Plus, how to prevent a mess.

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Christmas Tree Brownies
Credit: Micah A. Leal

In terms of holiday baking, it doesn't get much easier than brownies. So if your home has some little ones eager to help in the kitchen, we've found the perfect way to add a little holiday pizazz to your everyday brownies. Easy enough for any little helper, our Christmas Tree Brownies recipe offers the perfect mix of simple baking and fun decorating. If you're not sure where to begin or the best ways for your kids to get involved in the fun, we're here to help.

Step 1: Bake the Brownies

The base of this recipe is a two bowl affair—stirring together the dry ingredients, stirring together the wet ingredients, and then mixing the two together before baking. So if your kids are eager to help from the very start of the baking process, whipping up a brownie batter is an easy way to get them involved. The brownies bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and then need to cool completely before you get to decorating. Set the kids up with a Christmas movie in the den for a baking intermission while the brownies cool. This will give you time to set up decorating stations. It’s smart to tape down some parchment paper for each child to keep things from getting too messy.

Step 2: Make the Frosting

If you want to keep things moving, you can also go ahead and make the Cream Cheese Frosting while the brownies cool. Separate your frosting into two bowls, one for white frosting and one for green. You can call the kids back in to the kitchen to help stir the green food coloring into the green frosting bowl for some colorful fun.

Step 3: Cut and Decorate

Once the brownies are baked and cooled and the frosting is ready, let the kids join in on decorating. Cut the brownies in triangles as the recipe describes and have them ready at each child’s decoration station before calling them back into the kitchen. We also recommend using disposable plastic piping bags for the white and green frosting. Give each child their own piping bags with both colors to give everyone the opportunity to decorate all by themselves at the same time. If you have kids who are particularly good at taking turns, you can also assign the white frosting bag, the green frosting bag, and the sprinkles to different children and make an "assembly line” where everyone contributes to the finished product.

If you do not have piping bags, snip the bottom corner of a ziplock bag to use as a makeshift piping bag. Once frosting has been added to the bag, tie the opening of the bag by twisting it. Use a rubber band to hold the twisted plastic in place.

Decorate each tree by swooping strands of green and white frosting across the brownies. Use sprinkles as the finishing touch. You can use a variety of holiday sprinkles and sparkling sugars suitable for brownies, but we particularly enjoy sprinkles with the traditional green, red, and white colors. You can also incorporate silver or gold sprinkles for a nice shimmer. A good mix of options will ensure all the kids can make a creation of their own design. And no matter how similar or dissimilar the finished brownies are to those in the recipe photo, we can promise that making them will be just as much a treat to your kids as the brownies themselves.