My younger son’s birthday is in mid-October and the older one’s is on January 5th. That means that I go from birthday to Halloween to Thanksgiving to Hanukkah and Christmas to New Year’s Eve. And when it’s finally over for everyone else, I’ve still got a birthday to celebrate.

Needless to say, by the time January 5th rolls around, I’m done. Like, really done. And though everyone in my life expects Stacie the food writer/recipe developer to whip up fabulous treats for the classroom and the party, I’ve learned that I cannot do both and also keep my sanity.

Enter this easy, home-baked, semi-homemade sandwich cookie recipe.

Or should I say, “recipe.”

Related: Super cool dinosaur birthday party cakes and cupcakes that are actually easy to make.

This busy parent kitchen hack has saved me for the past two years. And, honestly, the outcome is so delicious that nobody’s the wiser. Well, except the birthday boy. But he just wants his classroom treat to taste good and these fit the bill.



Busy parent kitchen hack! Make totally delicious, semi-homemade sandwich cookies using an all-natural refrigerated cookie dough. These are our favorites. | Cool Mom Eats

Starts with store-bought cookie dough.

Before you roll your eyes, intrepid from-scratch bakers, refrigerated dough has come a long way since I was young (ahem). Today, there are quite a few great brands making all-natural cookie doughs made with close to the same ingredients you’d use to whip up a batch from scratch.

-My favorite is Immaculate Baking Company. Since we first wrote about them in 2008 (!) they’ve become most widely available and offer a wide range of flavors — including gluten-free options — that come out tasting great. In a pinch, you can also try their baking mixes, which take a little more effort. As in, you’ll have to add and stir, which is why, on January 4th, I tend to grab the refrigerated dough.

-I also love Sweet Loren’s cookie dough, which comes frozen and is made with whole grain and no dairy.

-Another great choice: Hampton Creek’s Just Cookie Dough, which is GMO-free and made without eggs. Yes, seriously—and they still taste great.

-I recently learned that Annie’s Homegrown is making refrigerated Chocolate Chunk Cookie Dough and, though I haven’t tried it, am a fan of their snacks.

-Then, there’s the one that most people have probably heard of: Pillsbury Simply. . . which launched back in 2009 as a more natural, less-processed version of the traditional ready-made doughs. They also make chocolate chip and peanut butter cookie doughs that you can find in the refrigerator section of your market and they’re quite good.

Related: Celebrate everything with these awesome funfetti recipes.


How to make them

An easy, home-baked sandwich cookie recipe using a busy parent kitchen hack. Now that's our kind of baking! | Cool Mom Eats

My results: awesome, right?

With your favorite ready-to-bake cookie dough in hand (remember: buy enough for two cookies per serving), all you have to do is fire up the oven and make a cookie sandwich filling while the cookies bake.

I love this recipe for Sandwich Cookie Filling by Giada at The Food Network. It calls for only cream cheese and two other ingredients. Even better, it works great every time.

Once the cookies have cooled, scoop and spread some filling on the bottom of one cookie, top with a second cookie, and put them in the refrigerator to set for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

And just like that, you win parent of the year.

Find where to buy all-natural cookie dough near you at the websites for Immaculate Baking, Sweet Loren, Hampton Creek, or Annie’s Homegrown or just check the refrigerator sections of your local supermarket.