Holiday Sweet Treats — From a Box!

posted by Andrea | 12/21/2011

I really do love spending time baking in my kitchen, and there are times when I like making more “involved” recipes. But most of the time I rely on semi-homemade food — especially this time of year when we have so many holiday parties that require food.

However, any time I start with a boxed mix, I almost always manage to spruce it up a bit in order to make it look {and taste} more homemade.

For example — this is what I started with for my holiday baking “marathon” this past weekend…


…and this is what I ended up with! 

I just made a bunch of different types of desserts and put a variety plate together for each of the parties we went to this past weekend.

The goodies went over very well, we have a nice variety of treats in our freezer, AND I only spent about 2 hours in the kitchen — win, win, win!!

Here are some of my favorite “from a box” recipes:

Peanut Butter Blossoms:

  • Start with a package of peanut butter cookie dough — or a bag mix.
  • Roll small balls of dough in colored sugar and place on a cookie sheet — bake as directed on package.
  • Remove from oven and immediately press a Hershey’s Kiss in the center of each “cookie ball”.

Brownie/Cookie Bites:

  • Mix one boxed brownie mix AND one bagged cookie mix
  • Add the additional ingredients called for on the box and bag
  • Spread batter in a greased 9×13″ pan and bake at 350*F for 35-40 minutes
  • Cut into bite-size pieces

{Here’s the link to the full recipe.}

Decorated Sugar Cookies:

  • Start with a package of pre-made sugar cookie dough
  • Break dough apart to form small cookies
  • Bake as directed on package
  • Once the cookies are cooled, dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate
  • Decorate with white chocolate drizzles, candies, sprinkles, or your favorite toppings


 Monster Brownies:

  • Start with a boxed brownie mix — bake as directed
  • Remove from oven 5 minutes early and top with chopped chocolate, nuts, candies, marshmallows, etc.
  • Bake for another 5-8 minutes
  • Remove from oven and drizzle with melted caramel

{Here’s a link to the full recipe}


Pecan Lemon Bars:

  • Start with a roll of sugar cookie dough
  • Press the dough into a 9×13″ pan and top with the rest of the ingredients

{Here’s a link to the full recipe}


Peanut Butter Reese’s Cookies:

  • Start with one package of peanut butter cookie dough {or a bagged mix}
  • Add in Reese’s Minis
  • Bake as directed on the package of dough

{Here’s a link with more details}


These are actually just FEW of my many semi-homemade recipes that I whip out on a very regular basis. Not only are they delicious — but I also save a ton of time {which is a valuable commodity these days}!

What are your favorite semi-homemade sweet treats?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly, recipes!

Filed under: FoodHoliday Foods

Leave a comment


  1. Erin W


    What kind of melted chocolate did you dip the sugar cookies in? Is there an added ingredient that makes the chocolate harden?


    Andrea Reply:

    just chocolate chips — they’ll harden back up again after a few minutes.


  2. Marie


    Loved the brownie cookie bites. I used regular brownie mix and peanut butter cookie mix. What I liked about this recipe most was they are more cake like and much easier to cut and get out of the pan than traditional brownies. Thanks for the recipe.


  3. Jenny C.


    We love minty fudge cookies using a devil’s food cake mix, Andes mint baking chip, powdered sugar ( and a couple other standard ingredients). They are so easy, the chocolate and mint combo is so festive, and they are addictive!!! Have a blessed Christmas, Andrea! Jenny C.


    Erin W Reply:

    Will you share the recipe for the minty fudge cookies? They sound delicious!


  4. Lynne


    Andrea, what are those chocolate squares in the middle of your picture? Dipped brownie bites? Really enjoy your blog and made two batches of your homemade hot chocolate to share with friends and family this holiday!


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Lynne!
    And sorry to burst your bubble, but the chocolate squares in the middle of my dessert platter are actually store-bought candies! However, I’m sure chocolate dipped brownie bites would be delicious too!!


  5. Brittany


    YUM. I have a terrible sweet tooth now! 🙂


  6. Paulette


    Oh Andrea, I just love your site! Thank you for all the tips…and to think…you have a wee babe at your house and you still did this. You’re an inspiration.


    Andrea Reply:

    aww, thanks Paulette — but like I said in the post, it only took me about 2 hours to make all that food and I did it during one of her naps!!


  7. Tammy Skipper (@Tammy_Skipper)


    Love these tips! I was wondering the other day if you ever tried the homemade twix-style candy recipes.


    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Tammy!
    I never made the Twix bars for myself, but I did help a friend make them {and taste-tested one} they were delicious!
    I still have the recipe saved and plan to make them — probably after the holiday rush is over!