Thanksgiving week in the US brings up diverse emotions. There are those who are panicked because there are expectations around this holiday with food, family, and friends. There are those who are salivating not especially because of the food served on Thanksgiving, but because the holiday shopping sales start the day after. Whatever emotions are bubbling up for you, these recipes are sure to put a smile on your face, add a tingle to your tastebuds, and can be enjoyed by family and friends of all ages.
These recipes are easy enough and fun for kids to make. When our bonus grands spent the day with us, we made these cookies and pops and had plenty of time to complete other projects that would adorn the Thanksgiving table.
Whenever the girls bake with me in the kitchen, we divide the duties. It helps that everyone knows what part they are contributing.
Let’s start with the pumpkin cookies.
For the pumpkin cookies, Livie was the reader of ingredients and Ellie measured and poured. I ran the mixer – it’s my kitchen so I get to do the important stuff. 😉 Tip: when baking, I always measure ingredients over a paper plate (catches the spills) and set the measuring utensils on it when done. It keeps the counters cleaner and just toss the paper plate when done.
Let the pumpkin shaping begin! Tip: we used cheese knives to score the pumpkin dough – they are sharp enough to cut the dough and dull enough not to cut hands or fingers.
Master fingers at work.
A little goofing around, and taste-testing the dough (no eggs in the dough so it was okay to taste-test).
Brushing the honey over the cookies after being cooked was hard – even for me. The next batch we brushed on the honey before baking – much easier.
The girls and I made an executive decision not to add food coloring so these pumpkins, while yellowish orange, did not turn out a brilliant orange color. And that’s okay, they still tasted great!
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 drops orange food color (we did not use)
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon allspice powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup almond meal (we did not use - just added same amount of regular flour)
- 2 cups flour
- ¾ cup whole almonds
- Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Prep baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat sheets.
- Beat softened butter until it turns fluffy - then add sugar and continue beating until you get soft fluffy mix.
- Add pumpkin puree and beat well until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Pour in vanilla extract, and mix until well combined.
- If you want to add food color, do it at this point - just a drop or two.
- Add the spices along with salt and mix well.
- Slowly add almond meal, continue beating on low speed until all the ingredients are mixed well.
- Then gradually add plain flour and mix on low heat. Do not over mix.
- Wrap the cookie dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes. (I threw it in the freezer to speed up the cooling process.)
- Shape the cookies into a pumpkin – roll the cookie dough into little balls about the size of walnut. Make a slight thumb impression in the middle and using a butter knife (or a cheese knife) make equal positioned slits on the sides of the pumpkin.
- Press a whole almond at the center of the pumpkin shaped cookies.
- Place pumpkin shaped cookies 1 inch apart on a baking tray. Generously brush honey over cookies at this point OR after they are baked - your preference.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cookies begin to turn golden and hard or stiff on the outside. If the almonds pop out, push them back in gently.
- Let cookies cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes - then place them over wire rack to cool completely.
On to the pumpkin pie pops. These are a perfect treat for kids and adults! Often after a big Thanksgiving meal you’re full, yet, you can’t resist dessert – commonly pumpkin pie. These pops are irresistible and just a bite or two will satisfy your tastebuds. And who wouldn’t like pumpkin pie on a stick? Great way to serve dessert, no plates or forks to clean up afterward.
If pumpkin pie isn’t your fav, consider altering the recipe to substitute apple pie ingredients or a pie filling of your choice.
Girls putting the ingredients together. Love those paper plates for measuring!
We used round cookie cutters but if you have special ones for the season, like pumpkins or turkeys, they would work too, as long as they are big enough. Bells or stars or trees would be fun ones to use for the Christmas season.Pinching the pie dough together is an important step so the filling doesn’t seep out. Stick placement is important too. Getting the stick placed far enough into the circle so it holds the pop and not too far so your first bite is stick and not pie.
Figuring out the right amount of filling was a little challenging, however, it didn’t take long before these master bakers were able to gauge the precise “glop” that worked.
Concentrating, focusing, making progress.
Finished pops, ready for eating. They look festive propped up in a jar or glass with bows around the sticks. They disappeared before I could get a photo!