A holiday favorite everyone can get in on.

By Micah A Leal
November 23, 2020
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Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Recognized far and wide as one of the most beloved Christmas cookies of all time, the unique shape and nostalgic flavor of Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies make them a must in our holiday baking repertoire. Unlike more involved Christmas specialties (think divinity candy, fudge, or even gingerbread men), the simplicity of this cookie makes it the ideal recipe to involve the whole family in, including the little ones.

Step 1: Bake

The base of these iconic treats is a peanut butter cookie that anyone can bake. Measure out the ingredients before inviting the kids into the kitchen, and they can easily pass you everything you need to make the dough. Although if older kids are helping you, measuring together can be a fun math lesson. Once the cookie dough is made, call on your army of helping hands to shape the dough into thirty-six balls. Next, each dough ball needs to be rolled in granulated sugar, something that even the youngest of children can help do. If a few of the cookie dough rounds get a little misshapen from eager young hands, it just simply adds more character in our opinion.

Step 2: Press on the Kisses

The cookie's notable shape comes from pressing a Hershey's kiss in the center of each cookie ball mid bake. Since the cookies will be hot, take great caution in pressing the kisses into the cookies so that no one gets burned by the hot metal of the baking sheet.

Take the cookies out of the oven after about 8 minutes to start pressing on the chocolate. Create an assembly line to keep the littlest hands away from the hot baking sheet–someone can unwrap the chocolates, someone can pass the chocolates to the presser, and an older kid or adult can press the candy into warm cookies. Then, place the cookies bake into the oven for just 2 minutes more. The result? The chocolates force the puffed dough balls to billow out into a tube shape, making the edges of the cookies crack and sparkle from the sugar coated dough breaking apart as the ridges appear around the cookie. It’s both eye catching and slightly dramatic, and something that the younger kids will love to watch.

Regardless of how involved your kids want to be, by inviting them into the kitchen you can guarantee that whenever they see these special cookies in the future, they will be transported back to the sweet memories of making them at home with their family. And that, in our opinion, is what holiday baking is all about.