Holiday Baked Good Recipes

Does anyone else love this time of year?! BECAUSE I DO! I put my tree up with my husband and son, the lights are twinkling, and of course, all while Christmas music plays throughout the house. When I was younger, my mom would dedicate one weekend in the holiday months to bake all the holiday treats. We would bake all dozens of recipes and then make plates for our friends, neighbors, and colleagues and hand deliver them with a family Christmas card. This is something I’ve kept doing as I’ve gotten older. It truly is a happy place for me to relax and enjoy the holiday season. I also share the joy with others through my baked goods. Since the holiday season has started, I have written up my list of baked goods that I will be baking this year! The list changes a little every year but I wanted to make sure to share some of the “classics”!

Pretzel M&M Hugs – from Cooking Classy

Ingredients (Note: You don’t need 70, however many you decide to make, you need one of each ingredient)

  • 70 square or circle pretzels (do NOT use butter snaps)
  • 70 Hershey’s Hugs chocolates (from nearly 1 full 12 oz package), unwrapped – this is a great activity to have kids help with. A few may go missing!
  • 70 Milk Chocolate M&M’s – I always use the green and red ones for festive fun!


    1. Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the pretzels on a cookie sheet in a single layer then top each pretzel with one Hershey’s Hug chocolate.
    2. Carefully put into your preheated oven for 4 – 5 minutes, until the chocolate is shiny and soft. The chocolate should still look like a hug with a little extra shine, not melting like a snowman!
    3. Then remove from the oven and place one M&M in the center of each soft Hug and press down. Do this carefully so your Hug doesn’t overflow your pretzel too much. 
    4. After M&Ms are placed. Put your cookie sheet into the freezer or refrigerator and allow to rest until the chocolate solidified, about 5 – 15 minutes. Store in an airtight container. If you’re storing these for more than a day or like your house warm, keep them in a refrigerator or freezer!holiday baking


Rolo Cookies – Karen’s (my mom) Kitchen



  • 1 Devil’s Chocolate Cake Mix
  • ⅓ cup of vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons of water
  • 1 bag of Rolos, unwrapped – this is a great activity to have kids help with, but a few may go missing! 


  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3 Tablespoons of milk (does not work well with non dairy alternatives)
  • 1 Tablespoon of butter
  • 1-1 ½ cups of powdered sugar


    • Cookies: Mix together cookie ingredients (except Rolo). Wrap around Rolo, just enough to cover it. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. (DON’T OVERBAKE)!
    • Frosting: Melt chocolate chips, milk, and butter in a sauce pan on low. Once melted, add in powdered sugar a little at a time until desired sweetness. Frost cookies and ENJOY!

Christmas Crack – recipe from Simply Recipes


  • 28 to 35 saltine crackers (about one sleeve, enough to line your tray)
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups chopped (or chips) semi-sweet chocolate


    • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
    • Line a 10×15-inch pan or cookie sheet (depending how much you are making) with nonstick aluminum foil. Make sure that the foil completely covers the bottom and sides of the pan you are using. Spray lightly with baking spray. Place one layer of saltine crackers on the pan.
    • Make the caramel sauce: Place the brown sugar, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook on medium heat, stirring frequently, until the butter melts. You will want to continue stir often, for another 3 to 5 minutes, until the mixture comes to a boil. The sugar will melt and emulsifies with the butter into a smooth sauce. It looks like caramel! (Do not allow the mixture to boil longer than 30 seconds). Finally remove it from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.
    • Once vanilla is mixed in, pour your caramel sauce over the saltine crackers. Using a spatula spread to evenly coat the crackers.
    • You will then bake this for 5 minutes. The caramel will be hot and bubbly.
    • While the cracker caramel mixture is baking, melt the chocolate by placing the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Cook it in the microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring every 30 seconds, until the chocolate has fully melted. This typically take around a minute and a half depending on your microwave. 
    • Once your crackers are baked and your chocolate is melted, remove the crackers from the oven, let them cool for one minute. Once cooled and caramel is settled and pour the chocolate over the baked crackers. Spread the chocolate so it’s even throughout. * I also sometimes add a sprinkle of sea salt to the top before the chocolate cools* 
    • The labor intensive part is done! Now just let the crackers cool to room temperature then move to the refrigerator and chill over night.
    • Your crackers have chilled and now time to give them their name, CRACKING TIME. Carefully remove from the pan or cookie sheet (be careful, foil can stick to the caramel and it’s not as tasty as your cracker, caramel, chocolate combo). You then want to cut your dessert into even pieces, or if you prefer a messier method, you can crack them with your hands!
Honorable Mentions:
Santa’s Favorite Monster CookiesThe Skinnyish Dish – I love these any time of the year! I make sure I make during my holiday baking to include the red and green M&Ms. Remember Monster Cookies have peanut butter so they tend to not be school friendly or allergy friendly if you’re making them for other people.
Almond Flour Sugar CookiesFit Foodie Finds – Fit Foodie Finds is one of my favorite food bloggers. I make one of their recipes weekly! I love the Almond Flour Sugar Cookies for the friends and family that are gluten free. It’s a great option to include those loved ones in your baking and more importantly, the enjoying portion of the baking fun.

Include your littles in your baking! Remember decorating is a wonderful activity but teaching them from start to finish can be a great way to interest them and get them involved. Let us know your favorite holiday baked good recipe or if you try one of these!

Make sure you never miss out on a parenting or community-related blog post: sign up to receive Cedar Rapids Moms posts in your inbox.  While you’re at it, join our VIP List to ensure you’re one of the first to know about upcoming Cedar Rapids Moms’ events and promotions!


Summer Bucket List | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Embark on an unforgettable summer adventure in Cedar Rapids! From vibrant festivals to serene nature trails, Cedar Rapids offers a plethora of activities that promise to make this season one to remember. Join us...

2024 Summer Reading Programs | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Discover the joy of summer reading in and around Cedar Rapids! Dive into a world of adventure, imagination, and learning with Summer Reading Programs. From captivating stories to exciting activities, there's something for everyone....

Splash Pads | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Discover the joy of outdoor water fun for all ages with splash pads in and around the Cedar Rapids area! From vibrant water features to interactive play areas, these refreshing spots offer a perfect...

Summer Movies | In & Around Cedar Rapids

Welcome to a summer filled with fun for kids and families in and around Cedar Rapids! Get ready for exciting indoor and outdoor movie screenings, perfect for enjoying the warm weather and creating lasting...

Ultimate Guide to Ice Cream | In & Around Cedar Rapids

It's officially ice cream season! Nothing hits the spot more than twist cone on a hot, summer day. When it's hot and you're in a pinch for something to cool down, ice cream is...
Join our community.
Be the first to know about new resources, can't-miss happenings, and new blog articles! 
Yay, we're so glad you're here! Keep an eye on your inbox