While “too many leftover cookies” isn’t a problem that plagues us most of the time, it has been known to happen following the food-heavy holiday season. Should you find yourself with an excess of holiday cookies that are rapidly going stale, don’t throw them out! Keep reading to find out what to do with leftover cookies!
From tricked-out Nanaimo bars to adorable mini cheesecakes and even cookie croutons, these 20 creative ideas will have you thanking your lucky stars that you’ve got leftover cookies.
1. Make a cookie crumb pie crust
If you have a good amount of leftover cookies (say, 12 or more), chances are, you have enough to create a tasty cookie crumb pie crust. Simply crush your cookies, combine with a little butter, and press into a greased pie plate. From here, you can fill your crust with any number of fillings.
2. Cookie croutons
For a clever way to repurpose a few leftover cookies, cut them into squares and gently pan-fry them in butter. You’ll end up with little cookie “croutons”–perfect for garnishing a sundae or a bowl of homemade chocolate pudding.
3. Line a baking pan
When preparing a cake pan, many recipes call for greasing and flouring the bottom of the vessel. If you have leftover cookies, crush them into a fine dust, and use the crumbs instead of flour to line your pan. This is not only a great way to use the cookies, but it imparts more flavor than just a flour dusting. Keep in mind that you should use cookie flavors that are harmonious with the type of cake you’re baking.
4. Make a shake
Photo via CakeSpy
Even if your cookies are past their prime for eating out of hand, chances are, they will make a great addition to a milkshake. Combine with ice cream and a little milk or cream in a blender, and blend to your desired consistency, adding more ice cream if you prefer a thicker shake, more milk or cream if you prefer it more liquid. Enjoy.
5. Create tricked-out magic cookie bars
Magic cookie bars are traditionally made with a crushed graham cracker crust. However, you can substitute any type of crushed cookies for the graham crackers in the recipe to make for a unique variation of these crave-worthy bars.
6. Add texture to ice cream cakes
You know how ice cream cakes always have those weird chocolate crumbles between layers? Follow that tradition, but with a better texture and more flavorful finish, by using crumbled leftover cookies. The moisture of the ice cream will help “revive” the cookies, and the crumbs will provide a pleasing texture contrast to the ice cream. It’s easy, makes for a far tastier result than store-bought ice cream cakes, and allows you to experiment with flavor.
7. Garnish glass rims with cookie crumbs
Margaritas are served with a salted glass rim. Why not take the concept to the sweet-osphere by using crumbled cookies to garnish the rim of a sweet cocktail such as a chocolate martini? Or, if not imbibing alcohol, the concept would work well for chocolate milk or hot chocolate, as well.
8. Make creative Nanaimo bars
Photo via CakeSpy
Nanaimo bars are a delicious no-bake bar which employs crumbled graham crackers in the crust. Substitute cookies such as shortbread, chocolate chip cookies, or even gingerbread for delicious results and a unique flavor variation.
9. Use your cookie crumbles as a garnish on a pie or cake
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A sprinkling of coarsely crumbled cookies on top of a pie or cake can make for a pretty and simple presentation and an added touch of sweet flavor. You can be creative with your flavor combinations: for instance, crushed gingerbread cookies might taste great on top of a pumpkin pie, or crushed peppermint cookies might make a nice addition to a chocolate cream pie.
10. Make cake pops…with cookies
It’s well-known that cake pops are a great way to use up leftover cake. But did you know that the concept works with cookies, too? It’s true, and it’s incredibly easy to make decadent, delicious little cookie pops using your leftover cookies. While our recipe for homemade Oreo cake pops employs the classic sandwich cookies, you can use any type of cookie you’d like!
11. Make a trifle with cookie crumbs
A trifle is an elegant, old-fashioned dessert with layers of cream, fruit, and crumbs — either of cake or of cookies. Post-Christmas, make it cookies. Choose a melange of flavors that will work well — for instance, peppermint cookies, chocolate whipped cream and crushed candy canes would make a delicious use of cookie and candy leftovers!
12. Make a Southern-style layered pudding
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No need to crush your leftover cookies — simply put them in pudding! Puddings layered with cookies, in the style of a Southern banana pudding with Nilla wafers, are a great way to revive even slightly stale cookies. Simply alternate layers of cookies and pudding, choosing flavors that you think will work well together (for instance: gingerbread cookies with butterscotch pudding sounds pretty great!). The moisture from the pudding saturates the cookies, giving them new life, and the cookies impart a flavor and texture on the pudding. Win-win!
13. Transform cookies into a crumb topping
It’s easy to transform cookies into a crumb topping. Simply combine crushed cookies with a little melted butter, as if you were making a cookie crumb crust; but then, instead of pressing it into a pie plate, form the mixture into tight clumps. Just like that, you have a crumb topping, just waiting to be scattered on top of a pie or a creative crumb cake.
14. Two words: cookie butter
Cookie butter: like peanut butter, but made with cookies. Awesome, right? And you can make it using leftover cookies. It’s easy, and basically just requires blending your cookies with butter or oil. It makes a fantastic topping, spread, or a nice little snack by the spoonful.
15. Get a little dirty
Motocross birthday cake via Craftsy member lorimclaflin
No, not actual dirt. You can use chocolate cookie crumbs to create a “dirt” effect in your cake decorating. Whether you’re creating a cake that looks like a potted plant or a rough and tumble scene for a kid’s birthday cake, crumbled cookies can help you attain a realistic yet delicious “dirt” effect.
16. Make an icebox cake
Icebox cakes are a vintage dessert that really ought to make a comeback. Icebox cakes often employ cookies layered with whipped cream or pudding to create fanciful creations. Because the cookies are saturated, it’s OK if they are a little stale. Make an icebox cake with your leftover cookies and give them a new (and delicious) lease on life!
17. Make adorable mini cheesecakes
Crumbled cookies make a great bottom crust for a regular-sized cheesecake, but they are also perfectly suited to creating adorable mini versions of the decadent dessert. For instance, mini lemon cheesecakes would work well with crumbled leftover shortbread cookies or snowballs!
18. Leftover cookies as an ice cream mix-in
Make your own cold slab-style ice cream creations by mixing in coarsely chopped leftover cookies. Not only will you make delicious desserts, but you’ll also have fun doing it. This is an especially great way to entertain kids!
19. Make extra-special cereal treats
Trick out your Rice Krispie or other cereal treats by adding crumbled cookies! Incorporate about 1/2 cup of crumbled cookies into your next batch and you’re in for a treat. The cookies will impart a great flavor on the treats, and give them an interesting texture contrast. It’s a great way to dress up a classic and use up those leftover cookies!
20. Bring everyone some figgy pudding
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A baked pudding, such as figgy pudding, relies on bread crumbs for its structure. Why not use cookie crumbs instead, for an extra-sweet finish? It will be delicious, and a fantastic way to keep the season going just a little longer.