Holiday Cooking with Kids - MetroFamily Magazine
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Holiday Cooking with Kids

by Stephanie Clinton

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

The holidays can be such a fun time to introduce kids to the kitchen. Between Halloween and the New Year’s Eve, there are so many fun treats and special meals to prepare. This is the perfect time for little hands to help crack eggs, mix batter and deliver treats to friends—and start making memories and traditions with your kids in the kitchen.

When kids are a part of the creative cooking process they are more inclined to eat the finished product. Picky eaters who may normally turn up their nose at something new are more willing to try at least one bite if they had a hand in making it—which can be a better than any holiday gift! Also, kids who help out in the kitchen are being introduced to math without even knowing it. Fractions aren’t as scary when you’re showing your kiddo how many 1/4 cups make up a whole cup or how 1/8 of a teaspoon is half of a 1/4 teaspoon. So, as you make your holiday meals, involve your kids and watch the magic take place.

Working side by side with your children in the kitchen can also become a lesson in treating others with kindness and love. What better way to tell your neighbors Happy Thanksgiving or Merry Christmas than with a tin of cookies? This holiday tradition is even more special when kids help make and deliver the treats. Delivering cookies to neighbors, fire station or shelter is a simple and wonderful lesson in giving during a time that is so focused on receiving. 

Need some easy recipes to get started? Find some of our favorite holiday treats here.

Pumpkin Juice

When it comes to holiday food you can’t go wrong with pumpkin. Pumpkin pie is a must at holiday meals, but what about creating something a little different this year using this holiday staple? Your children will be thrilled to make this festive drink, inspired by the Harry Potter book series.This juice is the perfect beverage for a Harry Potter-themed party, class Halloween party or to serve to Thanksgiving guests who are getting anxious for the bird to finish cooking. This recipe has a lot of ingredients…but Professor Snape wouldn’t have it any other way.


  • I cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups pineapple juice
  • 2 cups apple cider
  • 1/4 cup coffee-mate pumpkin spice creamer
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 maple extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala spice
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  • I can whipped cream
  • Caramel syrup

Combine all ingredients (except whipped cream and caramel syrup) in a blender. Blend until frothy. Serve in small cups, top with whipped cream and drizzle with caramel syrup. Makes approximately10 6 oz. servings.

Pumpkin Spice Upside Down Cake

This cake is great for three reasons. It’s super easy to make, you get to flip it upside down at the end of the process and it’s a perfect Thanksgiving dessert.


  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 1 (20 oz.) can crushed pineapple (drained, juice reserved)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 eggs
  • brown sugar

Combine cake mix, pineapple juice and eggs in a large bowl. Stir until combined. Spray a spring form pan or bunt pan with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle brown sugar all over the bottom of the pan. Spread crushed pineapple on top of brown sugar. Pour in cake batter and spread evenly in pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in cake comes out clean. (If using a spring form pan, place pan on a rimmed baking sheet.) Allow to cool for 10 minutes then place a cake plate on top of the pan, hold the plate and pan together and flip. Take pan off of cake and the golden pineapple is shining on top.

Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

These delectable cookies are fun to make, delightful to eat—and even better when packaged and given to a friend, neighbor or family member. Package them in a decorative tin or create a cute label for a plastic bag and make someone’s holiday a little merrier. Makes about 4 dozen.


  • 1 cup (or one stick) butter flavored shortening
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 cups uncooked oatmeal oats (quick cook oats)
  • 5 oz. package of dried cranberries
  • 6 oz. white chocolate chips or white morsels

Heat oven to 350. In a small bowl combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In a large bowl beat shortening and sugars with an electric mixer until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Add flour mixture and mix well. Stir in oats, cranberries and white morsels. Drop dough in rounded spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow cookies to slightly cool before transferring them to a wire rack or plate. 

Whether you are cooking for a small mewal or a huge holiday get-together, remember that time spent with your kids in the kitchen is creating priceless holiday memories. So, whether you are focusing on the mixing, the measuring or the math, it is sure to be pure magic. Happy Holidays!

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