20 Deliciously Fun Ways to Use Up Leftover Holiday Cookies—Before They Go Stale!


"Too many leftover cookies" isn't an issue we struggle with—pretty much ever—but it's been known to happen once every, oh, 365 days. Usually it's after we've gorged ourselves on holiday foods for a solid month, and we're staring at piles of cookies that are about to go stale faster than we can eat them. If this sounds like you too, don't throw out those leftovers! Here are 20 fun ways to use up your holiday extras, without just eating the same old cookies non-stop for weeks on end.

From tricked-out Nanaimo bars to adorable mini cheesecakes and even cookie croutons, these ideas will get you psyched for all those leftover treats next time.

1. Make a Cookie Crumb Pie Crust

If you have a decent amount of leftover cookies (say, a dozen or more), chances are you've got enough to make a delicious cookie crumb pie crust . All you do is crush the cookies, combine them with a little butter, and press them into a greased pie plate. Now just use any filling you want, and get ready to trade those been-there-done-that cookies for the amazing scent of freshly baked pie.

2. Turn Cookies into Croutons

Grab a few leftover cookies, cut them into squares and gently pan-fry them in butter. Boom: cookie croutons! There's no better way to garnish a sundae, pudding or bowl of homemade custard .

3. Line a baking pan

When you've got cookies around the house and you want to bake a cake, you can skip the usual greasing and flouring routine for your cake pan. Instead, just crush your cookies into a fine dust, and use the crumbs instead of flour to line your pan. Not only are you using up those extra cookies, but the crumbs definitely beat out flour in the flavor department. Just make sure you use cookies that won't interfere with the type of cake you're baking. 

4. Make a Shake

Even if your cookies are a little past their prime, they're probably still in perfectly fine shape for a milkshake . Throw them into a blender with ice cream and a little milk or cream, and make a fantastic milkshake. Add more ice cream if you like a thicker shake, or more milk (or cream) if you prefer it more liquidy.

5. Bake Tricked-Out Magic Cookie Bars 

You'd normally make magic cookie bars with a crushed graham cracker crust. But you can sub in other kinds of crushed cookies for the graham crackers in the recipe, and your bars will still turn out as crave-worthy as ever. 

6. Add Texture to Ice Cream Cakes

One of the best things about store bought ice cream cakes is that they sneak in those little chocolate crumbles in between layers. You can do the same thing at home—and make it even better— if you use crumbled leftover cookies. The moisture of the ice cream will help revive the cookies, and the crumbs will give the ice cream that irresistible crunch. Plus you'll get to experiment with any flavor combos you want.

7. Garnish Glass Rims with Cookie Crumbs

Think about a salted glass rim on a margarita. Now think about taking that concept in a whole other direction, by adding a crumbled cookie rim as a garnish for a sweet cocktail, say a chocolate martini. Oh, yeah! Want to skip the booze? The garnish would be perfect with chocolate milk or hot chocolate too. 

8. Make Creative Nanaimo Bars

Photo via CakeSpy

If you're Canadian, you probably know all about Nanaimo bars. If not, it's time to discover the genius of this no-bake bar, usually made with crumbled graham crackers as a crust. But you can use other kinds of cookies instead, like shortbread, chocolate chip, gingerbread or whatever type you think would go well with the yummy chocolate and nut flavors in the bars.

9. Garnish a Pie or Cake

It's a no-brainer: Sprinkling coarsely crumbled cookies on top of a pie or cake looks irresistible and tastes even better. You can get as creative as you want with your flavor combos. Use crushed gingerbread cookies on top of a pumpkin pie, for instance, or crushed peppermint cookies on a chocolate cream pie.

10. Make Cake Pops... with Cookies

Cake pops are a brilliant way to use up leftover cake. But cookies? Yup, they work too. It's incredibly easy to make decadent little cookie pops using your leftover cookies, so go ahead and use whatever you have!

11. Make a Trifle with Cookie Crumbs

A trifle is a retro dessert made with layers of cream, fruit and either cookie or cake crumbs. Post-holidays, you might be rich in leftover cookies—not to mention candy—so use them all up. Imagine the exciting combos you can throw together: peppermint cookies, chocolate whipped cream and crushed candy canes? Yes, please!

You can also start with this easy trifle recipe, and adapt it any way you like!

12. Make a Southern Style Layered Pudding

No need to crush your leftover cookies: Just layer them into a pudding. Take the Southern style banana pudding with Nilla wafers as your inspiration. Simply alternate layers of cookies and pudding, choosing flavors you think will work well together (gingerbread cookies with butterscotch pudding sounds pretty delish!). The moisture from the pudding will revive your slightly stale cookies, and the cookies wiill amp up the flavors in the pudding. Win-win!

13. Transform Cookies into a Crumb Topping

Crush your cookies and combine them with a little melted butter, the way you would if you were making a cookie crumb crust. But then, instead of pressing your mixture into a pie plate, form it into tight clumps. Just like that, you have a crumb topping, just waiting to be scattered on top of a pie.

14. Two Words: Cookie Butter

Cookie butter: It's like peanut butter, but made with cookies instead. And yeah, it's as magical as it sounds. You can even make this stuff using leftover cookies. You're basically just blending your cookies with butter or oil—to make a fantastic topping, a spread or a snack you can devour by the spoonful.

15. Get a Little Dirty

No, we're not talking about actual dirt—just the "dirt" effect you can create with chocolate cookie crumbs when you're decorating a cake. Whether you're going for a cake that looks like a potted plant, or creating a fun rough-and-tumble scene for a kid's birthday cake, crumbled cookies are the ticket to realistic (and delicious!) dirt. 

16. Make an Icebox Cake

The icebox cake is a vintage dessert that deserves a major comeback. To make one, you'd typically layer cookies with whipped cream or pudding—but it's OK to use stale cookies since they'll get saturated. So grab all those past-their-prime holiday cookies and put them to work!

17. Make Mini Cheesecakes

You can use crumbled cookies to make a bottom crust for a regular cheesecake—but it's even more fun to make some totally adorbs mini ones. Mini lemon cheesecakes (like the ones in the photo above) would be extra-tasty if you use crumbled leftover shortbread cookies or snowballs.

18. Use Leftover Cookies as an Ice Cream Mix-in 

Chop up leftover cookies and use them to create your own cold-slab-style ice cream concoctions. Kids will go nuts for these! 

19. Make Extra-Special Cereal Treats

Trick out your Rice Krispie treats by mixing in your crumbled cookies. Just add about 1/2 cup of crumbles into your next batch, and you may never go back to the same old treats again.

20. Bring Everyone some Figgy Pudding

Photo via CakeSpy

A baked pudding, like the classic figgy number in "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," gets its structure from bread crumbs. Why not use cookie crumbs instead? You'll create an extra-sweet dessert everyone will fall for, plus it's a delicious way to keep the season going just a little bit longer. 

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20 Deliciously Fun Ways to Use Up Leftover Holiday Cookies—Before They Go Stale!