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Holiday Recipes

Holiday Recipe Ideas to Do with Kids on the Suncoast

| Angela Naff |

With Thanksgiving just around the corner and Christmas hovering on the horizon, we are all finding ways to get into the spirit. One of the best options is homemade treats to share with family and friends. We have found a list of amazing recipes that kids can make this holiday season, to get into the spirit of the season and share if so inclined.

Homemade Turtle Candies

These are cute, scrumptious and an amazingly easy recipe to put together for the holidays. There are a lot of store-bought variations of this candy you can buy, but how much cooler would it be to craft these as home this holiday?

Holiday Turtles
Photo courtesy: The Spruce


6 ounces pecan halves, toasted
12 ounces soft caramels, homemade or store-bought
8 ounces semisweet chocolate


  • Prepare a cookie sheet by covering it with aluminum foil or parchment paper and spraying it with cooking spray.
  • Arrange the pecans in clusters of 4.
  • Each pecan should point in a different direction resembling the four limbs of a turtle.
  • Alternatively, you can just drop them in small clusters on the baking sheet but be sure they overlap to avoid the caramel oozing down the spaces between nuts.
  • Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave them until melted, stirring after every 30 seconds.
  • If after the first time in the microwave they seem very stiff, add a spoonful of water to help soften.
  • Allow the caramel to cool slightly, and with the help of a spoon, scoop a spoonful of caramel onto each pecan cluster. Set aside.
  • Melt chocolate chips in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  • Spoon the melted chocolate over the caramel layer, letting some drip down the sides, and nudging it around so it covers the top of the caramel completely.
  • Place the baking sheet of candies in the refrigerator to fully set the chocolate and caramel for at least 30 minutes.
  • For the best taste and texture, serve the turtles at room temperature.

Banana Pancake Snowmen

Do you have friends to family coming in for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year? Maybe engage all the kiddos in helping make this on theme breakfast option for everyone to kick off the holidays. These are cute, filling, and the perfect way to kick off a day of holiday activities.

Holiday Pancakes
Photo Courtesy: Taste of Home


1 cup complete buttermilk pancake mix
3/4 cup water
1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
Pretzel sticks, chocolate chips, dried cranberries and/or halved banana slices


  • In a small bowl, stir the pancake mix, water and banana just until moistened.
  • Pour a scant 1/2 cup batter onto a greased hot griddle, making three circles to form a snowman.
  • Turn when bubbles form on top.
  • Cook until the second side is golden brown.
  • Transfer to a serving plate. Repeat with remaining batter.
  • Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Decorate snowmen with pretzels, chocolate chips, cranberries and/or banana if desired.

Whole Wheat Sugar Cookies

These sugar cookies can serve double duty this holiday season. From a tasty treat that can keep kids engaged in the kitchen, to actual ornaments to decorate a tree – these are amazing cookies. Use your choice of decorations to add your personalized touch to these treats.

Holiday Sugar Cookies
Photo courtesy: Jennifer Causey


9 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 2 cups)
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking powder
10 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ounce 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons plain 2% reduced-fat Greek yogurt
¼ teaspoon grated lemon rind
Naturally colored sparkling sugar (optional)


  • To prepare cookies, weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
  • Whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl.
  • Beat butter, granulated sugar, and cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  • Add egg; beat until well blended.
  • Add vanilla; beat until blended.
  • Reduce mixer speed to low.
  • Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture; beat just until combined.
  • Flatten dough into a 6-inch disk; wrap with plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Roll dough to 1/4-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface.
  • Cut out 32 cookies, using a 2- or 3-inch cutter, rerolling scraps as necessary.
  • Place cookies 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned around edges.
  • Cool.
  • To prepare icing, whisk together powdered sugar, yogurt, and rind; drizzle over cookies.
  • Sprinkle with sparkling sugar, if desired.
  • Let stand on a wire rack until icing is set, about 15 minutes

Grinch Fruit Kabobs

This treat is sure to put everyone in a great mood, no grinches here. This is one that kids and adults can use for a quick treat or a great addition to any holiday party.

Photo courtesy: Momables


10 mini marshmallows
10 strawberries tops removed
1 banana, sliced into 10 rounds
10 green grapes
10 toothpicks


  • First, wash the fruit.
  • On each toothpick, assemble your kabob as follows: one mini marshmallow, one strawberry, one banana slice, and one green grape.
  • Enjoy and refrigerate leftovers for up to 1 day.

Gobbler Goodies

These little gobbler goodies make for a great addition to your Thanksgiving gathering. This is a great treat for little hands to help put together, and make fun favors for the table settings for the dinner also.

Photo courtesy: Taste of Home


1/4 cup butter, cubed
4 cups miniature marshmallows
6 cups crisp rice cereal
28 chocolate sandwich cookies
1-1/2 cups chocolate frosting
1 package (11 ounces) candy corn
28 malted milk balls
White candy coating, optional


  • In a large saucepan, melt butter.
  • Add marshmallows; stir over low heat until melted.
  • Stir in cereal.
  • Cool for 10 minutes.
  • With buttered hands, form cereal mixture into 1-1/2-in. balls.
  • Twist apart sandwich cookies.
  • If desired, remove filling and save for another use.
  • Spread frosting over each cookie half.
  • Place 28 cookie halves under cereal balls to form the base for each turkey.
  • Place 5 pieces of candy corn in a fan pattern on remaining cookie halves; press each half onto a cereal ball to form the tail.
  • Attach remaining candy corn with frosting to form turkey wings.
  • For head, attach malted milk ball with frosting; cut white tip off additional candy and attach to head with frosting to form beak.
  • If desired, place melted white candy coating in a piping bag fitted with a #1 round tip; pipe onto head to form eyes.
  • Allow to stand until frosting has set. Store, tightly covered at room temperature.

These amazing items are sure to be a hit with the entire family. Besides, they say the best gifts are the ones that you make yourself, so why not share these around this holiday. Cooking together is sure to be an amazing way to create some of the best holiday memories for years to come.


Feature photo courtesy of Deposit Photos

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