18 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Holiday Cookies Before They Go Stale

Having too many leftover cookies isn't often a problem, but when it is, there's nothing worse than letting those goodies go stale. Instead of tossing 'em in the trash, here are a bunch of fun ways to turn those cookies into entirely new treats.

1. Make a Cookie Crumb Pie Crust

If you have a dozen or more leftover cookies, chances are you have enough to make a cookie crumb pie crust . All you do is crush the cookies, combine them with butter, and press them into a greased pie plate before adding your filling.

2. Line a Baking Pan

When baking a cake, skip the usual greasing and flouring routine for your cake pan. Instead, crush leftover cookies into a fine dust and line your pan with the crumbs instead of flour. As long as the cookies won't interfere with the type of cake you're baking, you're in for an extra boost in the flavor department.  

3. 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 adorable mini ones. Make it the same way you would a normal cheesecake, but press your base into little mason jars instead.

4. Turn Cookies Into Croutons

Grab a few leftover cookies, cut them into squares and gently pan-fry in butter. Boom: cookie croutons! Use 'em to garnish an ice cream sundae, pudding or bowl of homemade custard .

5. Make a Shake

Even if the cookies are a little past their prime, they'll work great in an over-the-top milkshake . Throw them into a blender with ice cream and milk or cream — more ice cream if you like a thicker shake; more milk or cream for a thinner version.

6. Add Texture to Ice Cream Cakes

One of the best things about store-bought ice cream cakes is those little chocolate crumbles in between the layers. Do the same thing at home — only better — with crumbled leftover cookies. The moisture of the ice cream helps revive the cookies, and the crumbs give the ice cream that irresistible crunch.

7. Garnish Glass Rims With Cookie Crumbs

Think about a salted glass rim on a margarita. Take that same concept in a sweet direction by adding a crumbled cookie rim onto a sweet cocktail, like a chocolate martini . If you want to skip the booze, use the garnish on a glass of chocolate milk or hot chocolate instead.

8. Make Creative Nanaimo Bars

Photo via CakeSpy

If you're Canadian, you probably know all about no-bake Nanaimo bars. If not, it's time to discover the genius of this dessert, which typically uses crumbled graham crackers as a crust. Swap out those graham crackers for other cookies you have on hand, like shortbread, chocolate chip or gingerbread. As long as it pairs well with chocolate and nut flavors, it'll be a hit.

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. A few flavor combo ideas: gingerbread cookies on top of pumpkin pie, or crushed peppermint cookies on chocolate cream.

10. Make Cookie Pops

Cake pops are a brilliant way to use up leftover cake, and you can do the same with leftover cookies. Just crumble up and use the same way you would cake!

11. Make a Cookie Crumbs Trifle

A trifle is made with layers of cream, fruit and either cookie or cake crumbs. Imagine all the post-holiday flavor combos you can make: peppermint cookies, chocolate whipped cream and crushed candy canes? Yes, please!

12. Layer Up Some Pudding

If you want to skip crumbling your cookies, layer them into a pudding instead. Simply alternate layers of cookies and pudding, choosing flavors you think will work well together (like gingerbread cookies with butterscotch pudding). The moisture from the pudding will revive your slightly stale cookies, while the cookies amp up the flavors in the pudding.

13. Create Cookie Butter

Cookie butter: It's like peanut butter, but made with cookies instead. And yeah, it's as magical as it sounds. Simply blending your leftover holiday cookies with butter or oil and you'll have a fantastic topping, spread or snack you can devour by the spoonful.

14. Get a Little Dirty

No, we're not talking about actual dirt — just the "dirt" effect you can create with chocolate cookie crumbs when 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 delicious dirt. 

15. Make an Icebox Cake

The icebox cake is a vintage dessert that deserves a major comeback. To make one, simply layer cookies with whipped cream or pudding and toss in the freezer to firm up.

16. Mix Into Ice Cream 

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

17. Make Extra-Special Cereal Treats

Mix ½ cup crumbled cookies into rice cereal treats for a truly tricked out dessert.

18. Bring 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. Use cookie crumbs instead for an extra-sweet dessert everyone will fall for.

April 01, 2019
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18 Genius Ways to Use Leftover Holiday Cookies Before They Go Stale