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Baking With Kids: 7 Thanksgiving Desserts To Try This Year

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Parenting Today Presented by The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning

Kids love to help in the kitchen, and the skills they learn by measuring, pouring, mixing, and scooping will serve them well for years to come. As Thanksgiving approaches, think about incorporating your kids into the food prep by having them make dessert.

You can serve traditional pies, but these seven recipes are more kid-friendly both in preparation and results. So get out the holiday flavors and call your kids—it’s time to make some Thanksgiving desserts!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip with Pie Crust Dippers

Almost nothing is more kid-friendly than cookies and sweet dip! This simple recipe makes it easy for kids to help cut out the pumpkin shapes and bake (with a little supervision). Using pie crust as the cookie base means you won’t have to mix up as many ingredients. Buy pumpkin pie spice rather than separate spices so that kids only have to measure from one jar. A mix of cream cheese, pumpkin, and sugar makes a deliciously silky dip that kids will love for the sauce.

Acorn Candy Cookies

These fun cookies are simple for kids of all ages to create. And, they’re easy enough that you can use them as a post-dinner activity while the adults are chatting. Using chocolate frosting, adhere a vanilla wafer to the flat side of a chocolate kiss candy, then top with a butterscotch chip! After the frosting has hardened, use these treats as decorations on other desserts or eat on their own!

Every Flavor Thanksgiving Pie Bars

Everyone wants a little bit of everything at Thanksgiving, and dessert is no different! Instead of spending all day baking multiple pies, enlist the kids to help bake this single dessert that has the layered flavors of pumpkin, apple, and pecan. Because this dessert is all baked in a casserole dish, the kids can help spread the ingredients and put on the pastry layers between flavors. To save yourself some time (and make the work easier for the kids), buy as many premade ingredients as you can! The best part of this dessert is the crumb topping, so make sure to let the kids sprinkle as much as they want on top.

Cranberry Flummery

This fancy version of a yogurt parfait is an excellent dessert for older kids to help make; they’ll be proud to serve something upscale and you’ll be able to trust them with the stovetop. Start by making a homemade cranberry sauce—if you’re short on time or want to involve younger kids, use store-bought instead! Mix the cranberry sauce with eggs and butter to create a thicker consistency, then mix with whipped cream. Layer the cranberries with crushed ginger snaps (a perfect job for the littlest kids—put the cookies in a bag and let them smash away!) and yogurt to make a delicious and beautiful treat!

Sweet Potato-Marshmallow Mini Cupcakes

Skip the sweet potatoes at dinner in favor of these delicious little treats that kids will love to help bake. Make your own sweet potato puree or buy canned yams, then mix into a traditional cupcake batter along with extras like brown sugar and cinnamon. Once the mini cupcakes are baked and cooled, have kids top each one with half a jumbo marshmallow. When ready to serve, put the cupcakes under the broiler for perfectly toasted tops!

Fluffy Pumpkin Pie

Rather than traditional pumpkin pie, have your kids help mix up this fluffy version—it’s lighter in texture (so less filling) and fun to make, so you can’t go wrong! Use a premade pie crust for the easiest version, and fill it with a mixture of melted marshmallows, whipped topping, pumpkin, and spices. Refrigerate the finished pie for several hours before cutting; your kids will love mixing everything together almost as much as they enjoy eating the finished product!

Pumpkin Rice Krispie Treats

These cute Rice Krispie treats are fun to make, and your kids will love eating the bite-sized dessert! Start by making a traditional Rice Krispie treat recipe by combining melted butter and marshmallows, then adding orange food coloring, if desired. Let the kids mix in the rice Krispies by hand and shape them into small balls. Use tootsie roll pieces for a stem on top, and add green fruit roll-up “leaves” for the finishing touch!

Make sure you leave plenty of room for dessert this year after the main course—these recipes are sure to impress the kids and the adults at your holiday gathering.Parenting Today is presented by The Seattle Department of Education and Early Learning’s Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP). The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) serves children ages 0-12 with 200+ providers across the City.  Learn more: ccap@seattle.gov or call (206) 386-1050.