HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Ideas for kid friendly, easy to make thanksgiving desert

Would love some ideas on yummy but not complicated deserts for thanksgiving, even ones that gasp may have some store bought shortcuts. Our feast will be small, 4 adults and two little kids. We are chocolate lovers. Probably will involve my 3 yr old daughter in the prep of this dish so it needs to be simple (anytime I've tried more complicated baking with toddler "help" I get distracted and precision just isn't there). In addition to this dish will likely roast pears...would love to hear some favorites! Tia

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Something like layered parfaits or a trifle comes to mind. You can make this as elegant or as simple as you'd like, ingredients-wise. Layer of custard (or good yogurt), layer of berries, layer of cookies (or cookie crumbles, or toffee bar, or nuts, or pound cake, or lady fingers...you get the idea), layer of whipped cream, layer of chocolate mousse, etc etc. Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. For kiddies, fresh baked chocolate sugar cookies or chocolate chip cookies, cooled then topped with a scoop of ice cream and topped with a second cookie for ice cream sandwiches. Make ahead and freeze at least a day. I use the cream cheese sugar cookie recipe on Allrecipes.com

      Another of my favorites is chocolate whoopee pie, also can be made a day or two ahead and kept refrigerated or in the freezer then take out day of service to thaw. Adults & children alike have loved these when I have made them. Both are very easy and great projects for your daughter to help you with.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cherylptw

        Those both sound great.

        Just wanted to add something--last Christmas, my mother was hosting a ton of people and had maybe 6 little ones coming who needed to be entertained while the adults schmoozed and drank and ate apps in the other room. She begged me to find some way to keep them occupied for an hour or two while dinner was being prepped.

        I baked off a few dozen sugar cookies the night before and then covered a few card tables with butcher paper and mixed up bags of colored royal icing and set out dishes of sprinkles and candies. I had the kids decorating Christmas sugar cookies for 2 hours no problem, and it was even hard to get them to stop and eat dinner.

        For dessert, the little ones walked around with a plate of their horrid-looking cookies for adults to try and they were so excited to have their cookies eaten, and to eat them themselves.

        Maybe you could do something similar with chocolate sugar cookies to keep the kids busy for a bit, either before or after dinner.

      2. My kids love to eat (and make) their own individual icebox cakes. Just layer store bought chocolate wafers with whipped cream, frost it all with more whipped cream and let sit overnight.

        3 Replies
        1. re: cheesymama

          +1. Really easy and surprisingly good.

          1. re: cheesymama

            My mom used to make this, but she also soaked the oreos in Kahlua first. And yes, she served it to the kids, maybe to quiet us down?

            1. re: cheesymama

              I've also done it with graham crackers.

            2. Do a brownies trifle. That's fun to put together and kids love it.

              1. When I was a kid, I always liked chocolate cream pie, in a graham cracker crust. Your daughter can help mix up the pudding and you can use a premade crust to make it easy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: juliejulez

                  Me too! That was a favorite. Just with regular old chocolate pudding mix, graham cracker crust, and Cool Whip on top. I think I'd still eat that now if it were served to me.

                2. Its not chocolate, but how about this eggnog pudding?


                  I made it for Thanksgiving last year, and it really does taste like eggnog, and it was easy to make.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ePressureCooker

                    Thanks for posting this, ePressureCooker. I am sending to my son. He loves eggnog so am sure he will love this.

                    1. re: Wtg2Retire

                      You're welcome. Its really a no brainer to make, no special cooking skills required. ;D

                      We served it on top of pecan pie.

                  2. The Nestle Toll House pie is super simple (especially if you use a premade crust), and popular with kids and chocolate-loving adults. Plus it's a pie, so it kind of follows Thanksgiving tradition. I would probably leave out the nuts(but then I like my chocolate chip cookies to be all about the chocolate).

                    1 Reply
                      1. among the many thanksgiving deserts at our table, a staple for the kids and grandkids is chocolate chip merengue cookies - made the night before, easy for the kids to make, go into the pre-heated oven, oven gets turned off, cookies bake over night, pop out in the morning and go into a tin and they work for one of my grandkids who needs gluten free. it's a neverfail treat.

                        1. Do you specifically want a baking project? Because they might be very happy with a dish of ice cream, which would enhance the pears as well. You could buy or make the ice cream.

                          1. There are tiny phyllo cups and Pepperidge Farm makes small puff pastry containers, either of which could be filled with a dollop of hazelnut spread and a slice or two of the roasted pears and a bit of whipped cream. Or more Nutella and cream, and pears on the side. Or Ghiradelli squares on the side. Or both.

                            Or any combination of pre-made ganache, pears, lemon curd, toasted nuts, whipped cream (squirt from a can okay for little hands), holiday sprinkles or just crumbled oreos.

                            How fun!

                            1. Truffles are surprisingly easy to make-the kids can help roll them into balls and then roll them in the toppings, also eays to make the day before.


                              1. While I was looking at the recipe linked by ePressureCooker, I saw this one and thought it would be easy for kids to do.

                                Pineapple Upside Down Biscuits

                                Recipe courtesy Paula Deen

                                Prep Time:10 min
                                Cook Time: 15 min
                                Level: Easy
                                Serves: 10 biscuits

                                1 10-ounce can crushed pineapple
                                1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
                                1/4 cup (1/2 stick butter), at room temperature
                                10 maraschino cherries
                                1 12-ounce package refrigerated buttermilk biscuits (10 count)

                                Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

                                Grease 10 cups of a muffin tin. Strain the can of crushed pineapple, save juice for later.

                                Combine the pineapple, sugar, and butter, and mix well. Divide the pineapple mixture among the muffin cups. Place a cherry in the center of each muffin cup, making sure cherry hits bottom of cup. Place 1 biscuit in each cup on top of sugar and pineapple mixture. Spoon 1 teaspoon reserved pineapple juice over each biscuit. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden. Cool for 2 minutes. Invert the pan onto a plate to release the biscuits. Serve warm.

                                1. IMO, these caramelized pears http://blogs.kqed.org/essentialpepin/... beat roast pears six ways to Sunday.

                                  This maple-mocha pudding is unexpected but the flavor combination is delicious and the maple keeps it autumn-ish.
                                  You ought to be able to stretch the recipe since your kids are little, if you accompany each portion of pudding with one or two supermarket maple cream sandwich cookies, or chocolate wafer cookies.

                                  MAPLE MOCHA PUDDING (from The Maple Syrup Cookbook by Ken Haedrich
                                  )3 T cornstarch
                                  1 T instant coffee or espresso (powder form)
                                  1 t cocoa powder
                                  pinch salt
                                  3 egg yolks
                                  3 cups milk
                                  1/2 c maple syrup (preferably grade B)
                                  1 T butter, cut in little pieces
                                  1 t vanilla extract
                                  Whisk first 4 ingredients in large, thick-bottomed pot. Slightly whisk egg in different bowl, then whisk in milk and maple. Gently whisk the liquid into the dry, beginning to heat on mediium-high. Bring slowly to boil, stirring gently throughout and scraping sides. When it starts boiling, continue stirring for one minute. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Ladle into 4-5 serving dishes. If you don't want a skin atop the puddings, top each with plastic wrap or a piece of wax paper cut to size. Let cool to room temp before chilling. Serve plain or with flavored whipped cream.

                                  1. My kids love making this ridiculous chocolate pie:


                                    The best part is when I take out the Oreos and a plastic bag and tell my daughter ok, now go get a hammer...

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: sciencediet

                                      Not the same at all but this makes me think of the always entertaining "dirt cake" which could be fun for the kids to help and eat...

                                    2. Chocolate mouse and roasted pears.

                                      1. I'm really tempted to make this Chocolate Midnight Pumpkin Pie.
                                        Midnight Pumpkin Pie

                                        1. Thanks for these great ides! So many options to try for Thanksgiving and beyond...