The holidays are a wonderful time to get the whole family involved in the kitchen. We feel the wave of panic that might wash over you at the thought of little ones running around in tight quarters while you’re preparing a meal – but rest assured, we have a few recipes that just might be the key to creating inclusive traditions in the kitchen. This Thanksgiving, why not let the kids help out with making some of the desserts? With a little help from an older chef (aka you, dad, grandma, or grandpa…whoever can offer a bit of help), these five recipes are perfect for even the littlest of hands. Your kitchen will be filled with the delicious aromas of Thanksgiving, and your kids will feel proud that they helped make them!
Pumpkin Pie Dip
Pumpkin Pie Dip Recipe Photo by PPG
This sweet and creamy dip is perfect for satisfying that post-meal pumpkin pie craving without all the fuss of actually making a pie. Plus, it's a great way to use up any leftover pumpkin puree you might have from making other pumpkin recipes. Simply mix together 8 oz of cream cheese with one cup of powdered sugar until smooth and creamy. Add in a half cup of pumpkin puree with a teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice. Whip in the one and a half cups cool whip (pun intended) and you’re almost there! All that’s left to do is to let the dip chill in the fridge until you're ready to serve it. Serve with graham crackers or gingersnaps for dipping. YUM.
Cranberry Chocolate Bark
Cranberry Chocolate Bark Recipe Photo by Cupcakes & Kale Chips
This tasty treat is so simple to make, and it's a great way to use up any leftover cranberries you might have. And with only five ingredients, it’s still packed full of delicious flavor. The kids will most certainly be feeling like fancy chefs when they taste this treat. The recipe calls from melting the white chocolate over the stovetop, but buying white chocolate chips you can melt in the microwave will work just fine too! Just be sure not to scorch them. Then mix in you cranberries along with zest of orange and lemon, and spread the mixture onto a silicone mat or a sheet of wax paper. Let it harden in the fridge for about an hour. Once it's hardened, break it into pieces and enjoy!
Acorn Candy Cookies
Acorn Candy Cookie Recipe Photo by All Recipes
A tasty treat that’s not only good enough to eat, but it’s also cute enough to delight everyone who gets to partake of these candy cookies! Your kids will love assembling the tiny no-bake acorn treat, and you’ll all love eating them. All you’ll need is chocolate frosting, Hershey’s kisses, mini Vanilla wafers, and butterscotch chips. Creating these treats is as simple as stacking one “ingredient” on top of the other to match the picture. Set them aside to dry for about 30 minutes (if you can wait!) and then enjoy.
Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies
Thanksgiving Turkey Cookie Photo by Butter Your Biscuit
Another “no-bake” option for tiny chefs is these adorable Thanksgiving Turkey Cookies. You’ll need Nutterbutter and shortbread cookies (the ones with the fudge stripes on them), candy corn, candy eyes, red and orange M&M’s, and a small tube of red icing. Let your kids decorate the cookies with icing and candy "feathers." They'll be so proud to show off their handiwork!
Freezer Pumpkin Pie
Freezer Pumpkin Pie Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Another great pumpkin recipe that’s much less of a hassle than a traditional pumpkin pie is this delicious freezer pumpkin pie! It does require a bit of baking for the crust (only 5 minutes!) but with an easy ingredient list, this pie is super simple – yet entirely delicious. You’ll start by combining 1 cup of ground pecans, 1/2 cup crushed gingersnaps, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup softened butter, then pressing the mixture into a 9 inch pie plate. Cook at 450 degrees for 5 minutes and the crust is ready to go. For the filling, have your young chefs combine 1 cup canned pumpkin, ½ cup brown sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, and a ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Once those are mixed well, stir in 1 quart of slightly softened vanilla ice cream, and all that’s left is a trip to the freezer. Be sure to start this recipe early, because it will take about 2-3 hours to set in the freezer, but once it’s ready – it’s so worth the wait! Top with whipped cream and enjoy.
It Doesn’t Take Much
As we mentioned, while the thought of kids helping in the kitchen might seem like additional stress, if you plan ahead with easy recipes like these, it takes the stress right out of the equation. The holidays are already such a magical time for kids, and creating wonderful memories together that are centered around the kitchen will last lifetime. So gather up the kiddos, put on an apron, and get ready to cook up some Thanksgiving fun! Do you have a favorite recipe that your kids love to make during Thanksgiving? Let us know in the comments below.