“Cookies deserve at least the same courtesy given to stale bread.”
[Original artwork and photographs: Jessie Oleson]
Christmas is over and we’ve entered a bleak time of year full of gifts being returned, dried-out Christmas trees at the curb, and the saddest story of all, the Christmas cookies gone stale. But because I believe that cookies deserve at least the same courtesy given to stale bread, I humbly present the leftover Christmas cookie crouton.
Though they follow the same general idea as savory croutons—baking and flavoring dried-out carbohydrates to give them a second wind—this version is composed entirely of sweet ingredients. The applications for these crunchy, sweet little nuggets are virtually endless—they can be used as an ice cream topping, a rich eggnog or hot chocolate garnish, or as a buttery delight all their own.
Sweet Leftover Christmas Cookie Croutons
- 4 to 6 leftover Christmas cookies, cut into 1-inch chunks (sturdier cookies such as gingerbread or drop cookies work best; handle more delicate or crumbly cookies with care)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 to 2 heaping teaspoons sugar, to taste
- cinnamon and nutmeg, to taste
Preheat oven to 300°F.
Place the cookie pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. They can be close together, but don’t crowd them.
In a medium saucepan, heat the butter over low heat. Add the sugar and spices of your choice until combined–you want the mixture to thicken a little bit but not to become so thick that cannot easily be poured. Spoon mixture over cookie pieces, coating evenly. Bake until cookie pieces are crisp, about 10-20 minutes depending on cookie type.