These super easy cookie exchange recipes are great for both kid parties and cookies to bring to your own Cookie Exchange. Peanut Butter bars decorated like Christmas Trees and Gingerbread houses made out of Graham crackers.
It is a family tradition to create a Gingerbread house with the kids each year, however, I often lose patience and take over the project. As a side note, this gingerbread house becomes the centerpiece for my annual cookie exchange party.
Super Easy Cookie Exchange Recipes
Gingerbread houses made out of Graham Crackers
This year I thought I would create Graham Cracker and Peanut Butter houses for the kids to create on their own. These would also be a fun activity to do at a kids’ cookie exchange or holiday party.
Now the kids will have free rein to decorate and create without mama bear hovering over them!
While shopping at Walmart looking for our Gingerbread House kit, I decided not to get pre-made kits for the kids but to make individual Graham Cracker houses with Honey Graham Crackers and Skippy Peanut butter.
I would use the leftover frosting from the kit but also Skippy Peanut Butter as Glue for the candy decorations.
How to Make Gingerbread Homes out of Graham Crackers
You have a lot of flexibility when designing your home. This is just one house style. As you can see from our final product we had a small house, larger side house, and a dog house.
Having them stay together is really the big trick in it all. Make sure your kids and yourself are patient and allow everything to dry before attempting to decorate.
We always start with the base and then add the roof. Holding each to make sure there is a good seal.
How long should you allow your graham cracker house dry?
We recommend also allowing the houses to sit for at least an hour so you don’t have some disappointed children on hand when their homes collapse.
Using Skippy peanut butter, layer it on and plop on your decorations.
What Can I Use As GINGERBREAD HOUSE GLUE?
We found our “frosting glue” in our kit was horrible so bad that this is the first year, yes I used a hot glue gun to keep the “big House” together.
If you don’t mind the smell of peanut butter lingering in your home all season, it worked perfectly to hold the candies onto the house.
What a great family tradition and this year everyone was able to show off their skills, even Dad. Here’s to Easy Baking Ideas even if you are not really baking!!
Here is the sweet dog house my 11-year-old made for our graham cracker house scene.
Peanut Butter Bar Trees with Graham Crackers
If you asked my kids what their favorite snack ingredients were, they would say Honey Maid Graham Crackers and Skippy Peanut Butter. Not necessarily together but in some form.
This inspired an easy baking idea for my cookie exchange party as well. As the hostess, in addition to making 6 dozen cookies to swap, I am in charge of snacks, drinks, and party games.
Coming up with a no-bake cookie recipe will be key for this Cookie Exchange hostess.
HOW TO MAKE NO BAKE PEANUT BUTTER BARS
This recipe reminds me of a recipe a family friend brought every Christmas Eve to our family meal. It tastes just like a big peanut butter cup but you can cut and decorate them to your liking.
I am so thrilled to share this recipe with my readers, especially those looking for easy baking ideas that really don’t require any baking after all!!
If you have a food processor you can make the entire recipe of Peanut Butter Bars in only one bowl. I find you need to use the power of a food processor to get the graham crackers to the right consistency.
I melt the peanut butter and butter in the microwave to allow for easy spreading.
Add the melted butter mixture to the graham cracker crumbs and Powdered sugar and pulse until it comes together.
Pat the bottom layer it into a 9 x 13 pan, I used parchment paper as a liner for easy removal. Allow this mixture to cool for at least 15 minutes before adding the final layer of chocolate /peanut butter goodness.
In a 2 cup measuring cup, add your chocolate chips and Skippy Peanut Butter and microwave for 90 seconds. Just check your mixture halfway as microwaves vary.
Pour this over your peanut butter mixture and spread evenly. Allow cooling in the fridge for 1 hour.
Check out our 50 Cookie Exchange Recipes
How to Decorate NO BAKE Peanut Butter Bars for Christmas
Cut and decorate if you desire. ( I used pre-made, colored cookie decorating frosting but you can use the same frosting from the gingerbread houses) I told you this is an easy recipe and can easily be done with the kids.
Easy Cookie Exchange Ideas
Here they are at my cookie exchange ready to be swapped.
No Bake Peanut Butter Bars
Super easy Peanut Butter Bars that taste just like a peanut butter cup but better.
- 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 4 tablespoons peanut butter
- Using a food processor pulse until your graham crackers are very fine.
- Melt the butter and peanut butter together in the microwave.
- In a medium bowl or food processor , mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended.
- Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan. (I prefer to use tin foil or parchment paper)
- In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.
Adapted from All recipes.com
Nutrition InformationYield 24 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 265Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 20mgSodium 158mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 2gSugar 18gProtein 4g
All information and tools presented and written within this site are intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information on stayingclosetohome.com should only be used as a general guideline.
thanks for stopping by Chrysa
Awwww I love your gingerbread house! They are so fun to make and a great tradition to do every year. Love your little peanut butter tree treats, too.
Those peanut butter cookies look so good. I love how you decorated them.
I love the no baking idea. So cute and yummy AND EASY.
i love these ideas!! will be trying the peanut butter recipe.
Mhmm, those bars look fantastic! They’re definitely on my Christmas baking list now, thank you!!
I don’t think I would be able to stand PB for the “glue” on a gingerbread house, only because I’m neurotic and like that pearly white icing. I usually make my own though, as that kit stuff is horrible.
The gingerbread house look really cool. It would also be so fun and crafty decorating it with treats.
I just love making gingerbread houses. I never thought of using peanut butter, what a genius idea!
Omg these all seem like awesomely delicious cookie ideas!! I’m liking the gram cracker house 🙂
You really did a great job! Thanks for this and I know my nephews will surely love making Gingerbread house soon. I’ll show this to him before Christmas. 🙂
I love the Gingerbread house. My boys and I did one for the first time last year. We may do another one this year, I haven’t decided yet since we already have a few events to attend.
Those no-bake trees look delicious! We are getting excited to decorate our gingerbread houses this weekend. Hope we are as successful as your group!
I think something is wrong with my shareaholic,I will look into this now.
Personally I’m looking where to pin this Post. It’s fabulous. I have a recipe linky on Fridays won’t you share this with us then too??? PLEASE!!!!? Thanks for sharing now! 😉 I’m still on the prowl as to when I can pin this. hehehe NOW WHERE’S THAT “P” BUTTON!!! 🙂
Love your gingerbread house. Super cute. I can’t handle the mess of making them. Sets my OCD right off.
Never made a ginger bread before in my life and would love to one day and more especially when I have kids
You guys made a beautiful house 🙂 very nice. I also am dreaming of those PB bars!! They look divine!
AWESOME! I have always used Grahams and Frosting, but peanut butter would be so much healthier! Thank you sooooo much for this great idea!
Making Gingerbread houses is one of my family winter traditions. Admittedly, I’ve never made one from scratch, I always buy those kits from Target. I think this year I’ll try and make one from scratch <3
Every single thing about this post is awesome! Love the houses…peanut butter seems like a great idea. Those PB bars looks amazing.
Thanks Julie, this was a fun day with the kids.
I like your no bake Peanut Butter Bars! They are easy to make and look delicious. I used to make Gingerbread houses with my son and daughter when they were little. I think that you did a great job with your family on your house!
I love peanut butter cookies and no bake is even better, I am definitely going to try these.
I love the peanut butter bars recipe idea! They look delicious! This would be a delicious, festive treat to make for my family!
We love making a gingerbread house with the kids, they can get pretty creative, so creative they add there Lego guys too. And the peanut butter bars look awesome.