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Jesus In The Manger Christmas Cookie

The idea for this humble little manger Christmas cookie began last December when I was helping my girls and a few friends make reindeer cookies. The peanut butter kind with pretzel antlers and red M&M noses.

Those reindeer were fun. Everyone loved making and eating them.

But they weren’t really Christmas cookies.

So my mind started to work on how we could create a manger Christmas cookie to represent the true essence of what Christmas celebrates.

Here’s what I came up with. My girls recognized them for what they are right away.

Jesus in the Manger Christmas cookie


They’re not fancy, complicated, or colorful.

They’re actually kind of plain and simple. Perhaps even rustic.

But I think they’re pretty special because they really are CHRISTmas cookies.


Manger Christmas Cookie Supplies & Instructions

  • Cookie Dough – suggested recipe follows
  • pretzel sticks
  • mini frosted shredded wheat
  • pretzel M&Ms

Jesus In The Manger Christmas Cookies
A simple, rustic cookie that celebrates the essence of Christmas - Immanuel, God with us - Jesus born as a man to be the Savior of the world.
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 3 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • dash salt
  • pretzel sticks
  • pretzel M&Ms
  • mini frosted shredded wheat
  1. Cream together butter, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well blended.
  2. Gently stir in flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Knead dough with hands a couple times until everything is evenly mixed.
  4. Cover and refrigerate at least one hour.
  5. Once chilled, use a ball of dough about 1½ inches in diameter to form a trapezoid shape. In other words, a rectangle with the two short ends angled inward so that the lower edge is shorter than the upper edge.
  6. Place two pretzel sticks on pan with top ends touching to form an upside down V.
  7. Gently press dough onto pretzel sticks to form manger legs.
  8. Use blunt knife to press in 3-4 horizontal lines to represent boards.
  9. Press one brown pretzel M&M where you want the head to be.
  10. Break back off of frosted mini wheat and press front (frosted part) into cookie to represent body and blanket of baby.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  13. If necessary use tip of knife to roll head back into place and press sides of manger flat.
  14. See original blog post for more explanation and photos.


Pan of unbaked manger cookies


Now for the step-by-step:

1. Make Dough – the recipe above is the one I used (it’s the same dough with a few minor modifications that I use for Chocolate Peppermint Thumbprints); feel free to use any one you choose including purchased dough, but remember that some dough rises and changes shape during baking, so I can’t guarantee how well the manger will hold it’s shape

2. Form Manger Bed – use a ball of dough about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Form into trapezoid shape as shown about 1/4 inch thick. It is quickest to shape all mangers before adding legs and baby.

3. Add Legs and Baby – lay two pretzel sticks on cookie sheet in an upside down V shape; press manger bed onto legs, then flatten and reshape sides as necessary. Use edge of fork handle or blunt knife blade to press in 3-4 lines to resemble boards. Add brown pretzel M&M and prepared frosted mini wheat (see notes after step 4) for head and body of baby.


Step-by-step instructions for forming Manger Christmas cookies.


4. Bake – Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes; sometimes the head seems to roll off the manger when the cookies are baked. Use the tip of a knife to roll it back into place while the cookie is still warm. You can also flatten up the sides of the manger a bit if they’ve gotten too puffy.


  • On the head – the round pretzel M&Ms were the best option I could think of even though they tend to crack when baking; I also tried malted milk balls . . . they melt!
  • On the body – the frosted mini wheat worked best when I broke the back off; sometimes it popped off easily in one piece, sometimes I had to crumble it off (see photo below)
  • On the legs – photo shows how they look on the back

Manger cookie details

Now you can make Jesus in the manger Christmas cookies also. Not too hard, right?


Easy to make Jesus in the Manger Christmas cookies are sure to become a new family tradition!


For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

Merry Christmas!


Shared at: Grace & Truth, Coffee & Conversation,


  1. This is an adorable idea! I will pin it to my Cookies board also. I found your blog through today’s linkup on #GraceandTruth. Blessings to you this Christmas!

  2. These are so awesome Abi! I love it! I pinned this on my “COOKIES” board.

    Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  3. These are adorable!!!

  4. These look great! I’m going to see if my sister will make them with my 3 year old out of gingerbread!

  5. Great/cute idea!!!

  6. sherrylynnstahl says:

    Brilliant! They look so cute. I love the rustic look.

  7. These are so cute–I love them! Pinned on Pinterest!


  1. […] Jesus in the Manger Christmas Cookies | Joy In My Kitchen – bake a simple cookie to remember Immanuel, God who came to be with us. […]

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