Thanksgiving Recipes from America’s Test Kitchen Kids


America’s Test Kitchen host Julia Collin Davison stopped by to share favorite kid-approved Thanksgiving recipes. Check out the recipes below and find more at
America’s Test Kitchen Kids.

Click on each recipe name to jump to that recipe.

Mini Muffin Tin Doughnut Holes

Key Lime Bars

Pumpkin Pie

Mini Muffin Tin Doughnut Hole

Mini Muffin Tin Doughnut Holes

by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
Makes 24 doughnut holes
Total Time: 50 minutes, plus 10 minutes cooling time

Prepare Ingredients
Vegetable oil spray
1 1/3 cups (6 2∕3 ounces) all-­purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar
½ cup (4 ounces) buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ cup (3½ ounces) sugar

Gather Baking Equipment
24-­cup mini muffin tin
4 bowls (1 large, 2 medium, 1 small microwave-­safe)
Rubber spatula
1-­tablespoon measuring spoon
Oven mitts
Cooling rack
Rimmed baking sheet
Pastry brush

Start Baking!
1. For the doughnuts: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray 24-­cup mini muffin tin well with vegetable oil spray.
2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and
½ cup sugar.
3. In large bowl, whisk buttermilk, 4 tablespoons melted butter, egg, and egg yolk until well combined.
4. Add flour mixture and use rubber spatula to stir until just combined and no dry flour is visible. Do not overmix.
5. Spray 1-­tablespoon measuring spoon with vegetable oil spray. Use greased measuring spoon to scoop 1 tablespoon batter into each muffin tin cup.
6. Place muffin tin in oven. Bake until toothpick inserted in center of 1 doughnut hole comes out clean, about 10 minutes.
7. Use oven mitts to remove muffin tin from oven (ask an adult for help). Place muffin tin on cooling rack and let doughnut holes cool in muffin tin for 10 minutes.
8. For the topping: In small microwave-­safe bowl, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter. In second medium bowl, use clean rubber spatula to stir together cinnamon and remaining ½ cup sugar.
9. Carefully remove doughnut holes from muffin tin and transfer directly to cooling rack (ask an adult for help—muffin tin will be hot). Place cooling rack in rimmed baking sheet. Use pastry brush to paint doughnut holes all over with melted butter (use all of butter). Then, roll each doughnut hole in cinnamon sugar to coat all over. Serve.

Key Lime Bars

Key Lime Bars

by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
Makes 16 bars
Total Time: 1¼ hours, plus 4 hours cooling and chilling time

Prepare Ingredients
Vegetable oil spray
5 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces (or ¾ cup store-­bought graham cracker crumbs)
1/3 cup (1 2/3 ounces) all-­purpose flour
1/4 cup (1 3/4 ounces) sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 (14-­ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon grated lime zest plus ½ cup juice (zested and squeezed from 4 limes)
1 large egg yolk
Pinch salt
1/2 cup (1 1/2 ounces) sweetened shredded coconut, toasted, optional
Whipped Cream, optional

Gather Baking Equipment
Aluminum foil
8-­inch square metal baking pan
Food processor
Rubber spatula
Dry measuring cup
Oven mitts
Cooling rack
Large bowl
Plastic wrap
Cutting board
Chef’s knife

Start Baking!
1. For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Make aluminum foil sling for 8-­inch square metal baking pan. Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
2. Add cracker pieces, flour, sugar, and ¹∕8 teaspoon salt to food processor and lock lid into place. Hold down pulse button for 1 second, then release. Repeat until crackers are broken into small pieces, about five 1-­second pulses.
3. Turn on processor and process until crackers are finely ground, about 30 seconds. Stop processor. Remove lid, add melted butter to processor, and lock lid back into place. Pulse until butter is combined with crumbs, about ten 1-­second pulses.
4. Remove lid and carefully remove processor blade (ask an adult for help). Use rubber spatula to scrape crumb mixture into foil-­lined baking pan.
5. Use your hands to press crumbs into even layer covering bottom of baking pan, then use bottom of dry measuring cup to press crumbs firmly into pan until very flat.
6. Place baking pan in oven. Bake until crust begins to brown at edges, 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Use oven mitts to remove baking pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking pan on cooling rack and let crust cool for at least 15 minutes. (Do not turn off oven.)
8. For the filling: Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk condensed milk, softened cream cheese, lime zest and juice, egg yolk, and pinch salt until well combined and smooth.
9. Pour filling evenly over cooled crust. Use clean rubber spatula to scrape all filling from bowl. Spread filling into even layer to corners of pan and smooth top.
10. Place baking pan in oven and bake until filling is set and no longer jiggles when pan is shaken gently (ask an adult for help), 15 to 20 minutes.
11. Use oven mitts to remove baking pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking pan on cooling rack and let bars cool in pan for 2 hours. Cover baking pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate until bars are chilled and firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.
12. Remove bars from refrigerator and remove plastic. Use foil to lift bars out of baking pan and transfer to cutting board. Cut into squares. Top squares with toasted coconut or Whipped Cream (if using) and serve.

Making a Bar Crust
Use your hands to press crumbs into even layer covering bottom of baking pan. Then use bottom of dry measuring cup to press crumbs firmly into pan to make flat surface.

Toasted Coconut
Toasted coconut is a great addition to baked goods such as cookies or bars or as a topping for ice cream or oatmeal. It can sometimes burn when you toast it in the oven, so we like to use the microwave, where you can keep a close eye on it as it cooks.
To make toasted coconut: Spread ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut into even layer on large plate. Cook in microwave until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes, stopping to stir with rubber spatula every 30 seconds. Use oven mitts to remove plate from microwave (careful—­plate will be HOT!) and let cool to room temperature.

Whipped Cream
For great whipped cream, heavy or whipping cream is a must. And make sure the cream is cold. Use an electric mixer for fastest results, although you can use a whisk and whip cream by hand—­just be prepared for a workout! If using a mixer, keep the beaters low in the bowl to minimize splatters. This recipe makes about 1 cup. (To make 2 cups, double all ingredients.)
To make Whipped Cream: In large bowl, combine ½ cup cold heavy cream, 1½ teaspoons sugar, and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Use electric mixer on medium-­low speed to whip cream for 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until cream is smooth and thick, about 1 minute. Stop mixer and lift beaters out of cream. If cream clings to the beaters and makes soft peaks that stand up on their own, you’re done. If not, keep beating and check again in 30 seconds. Don’t overwhip cream.


Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

by America’s Test Kitchen Kids
Serves 10
Total Time: 40 minutes, plus 4 hours chilling time (plus time to make and bake pie shell)

Prepare Ingredients
1 recipe Pie Dough (recipe below, or use 1 round store-bought), rolled, shaped, blind-baked, and cooled
1 cup (8 ounces) heavy cream
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1 (15-­ounce) can unsweetened pumpkin puree, opened
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
Vegetable oil spray

Gather Baking Equipment
2 bowls (1 large microwave-­safe, 1 medium microwave-­safe)
Oven mitts
Rubber spatula
Plastic wrap
Chef’s knife

Start Baking!
1. In medium microwave-­safe bowl, whisk cream and gelatin until all gelatin looks wet (mixture will be slightly lumpy). Let mixture sit for 5 minutes.
2. Heat gelatin mixture in microwave for 1 minute. Use oven mitts to remove bowl from microwave and whisk until smooth and syrupy. Set aside.
3. In large microwave-­safe bowl, whisk pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger until combined. Heat pumpkin mixture in microwave until steaming, about 2 minutes.
4. Use oven mitts to remove bowl from microwave. Add gelatin mixture to pumpkin mixture and carefully whisk until well combined (ask an adult for help—bowl will be HOT).
5. Use rubber spatula to scrape filling into cooled pie crust. Gently shake pie so filling spreads evenly to edges. Let pie cool for 10 minutes.
6. Lightly spray sheet of plastic wrap with vegetable oil spray. Gently press greased plastic onto filling. Refrigerate pie for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days. Slice pie into wedges and serve.

Easy as Pumpkin Pie
Most pumpkin pies—­like the ones on your Thanksgiving table every year—­have fillings that contain pumpkin puree, cream, sugar, spices, and eggs. Because of the eggs, which make the filling nice and thick, these pies need to be baked, often for a long time. In our pumpkin pie, however, we don’t use eggs. Instead, we use gelatin—the same ingredient that is in Jell-O! And instead of baking our pie, after heating up the gelatin and the pumpkin in the microwave, we chill it. (Well, we still bake the crust — ­called blind-baking — ­but we chill the baked crust and its non­baked filling.)

What?! This is because gelatin is a kind of protein. It’s made up of long, thin molecules. When gelatin is mixed with a hot liquid, its molecules are loose and flexible and they move around a lot—­the liquid stays liquid. But when the temperature gets colder, the gelatin molecules slow down and start to get tangled, kind of like earbuds when they’re in your pocket. Eventually, they get so tangled that they trap the liquid inside. The liquid can’t move around or flow: it becomes a solid—­in this case, a smooth, sliceable, solid pumpkin pie filling!

Pie Dough
Makes one 9-­inch single crust
Total Time: 15 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling time

Prepare Ingredients
1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces) all-­purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into
12 pieces and chilled
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) ice water

Gather Baking Equipment
Food processor
Plastic wrap
Rubber spatula

Gather Additional Equipment for Shaping and Baking Pie Shell
Rolling pin
9-inch pie plate
Kitchen shears
Plastic wrap
Aluminum foil
Pie weights (or dried beans, raw rice, or sugar)
Baking sheet
2 cooling racks

Start Baking!
1. Place flour, sugar, and salt in food processor. Lock lid into place. Turn on processor and process mixture for 3 seconds. Stop processor.
2. Remove lid and sprinkle chilled butter pieces over flour mixture. Lock lid back into place. Hold down pulse button for 1 second, then release. Repeat until mixture looks like coarse crumbs, about eight 1-­second pulses.
3. Remove lid and pour ice water over mixture. Lock lid back into place. Turn on processor and process until little balls of butter form and almost no dry flour remains, about 10 seconds. Stop processor.
4. Remove lid and carefully remove processor blade (ask an adult for help), and form and shape dough into 6-inch disk (following photos, below).
5. Refrigerate disk of dough for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days before using, unless making Pumpkin Pie. (If making Pumpkin Pie, immediately roll out dough, fit into pie plate, and blind-­bake.)

Making Pie Dough
1. Remove lid and carefully remove processor blade (ask an adult for help).
2. Lay long piece of plastic wrap on clean counter. Use rubber spatula to transfer dough to center of plastic. Gather edges of plastic together to form bundle of dough.
3. Keeping dough crumbs inside plastic, press dough crumbs together to form ball.
4. Flatten plastic-­covered ball into 6-­inch circle, smoothing out any cracked edges.

strong>How to Use Pie Dough 101
One of the best things about pie is the crust. You can make your own or buy it from the store. Follow these steps to get your flaky, buttery goodness looking ready for pie!
Rolling Homemade Pie Dough
1. Sprinkle flour over clean counter. Unwrap pie dough and discard plastic wrap. Place dough on floured counter and sprinkle dough with a little extra flour. Use rolling pin to roll dough out from center.
2. Turn dough a quarter turn and continue to roll out to 12-­inch circle (or as big as specified in recipe), rotating dough and reflouring counter in between rolls.

Shaping a Pie Shell
1. Place rolling pin on bottom edge of dough, then loosely roll pie dough around rolling pin. Hold rolling pin over 9-­inch pie plate and gently unroll dough, letting extra dough hang over edges of plate.
2. Use one hand to gently lift edge of dough and use your other hand to gently press middle of dough into bottom of pie plate. Repeat all the way around dough until dough is pressed into bottom and against sides of pie plate.
3. Use kitchen shears to trim edge of pie dough to about ½ inch beyond edge of pie plate.
4. Use your fingers to fold extra dough under itself onto rim of pie plate.
5. Use your fingers and knuckles to crimp edges of dough.
6. Use fork to prick bottom and sides of shaped pie shell all over, about 40 times. Wrap dough-­lined pie plate loosely in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until dough is very firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Blind-­Baking Pie Crust
Sometimes pie fillings don’t need any baking, but the pie crust still does. Baking a pie crust without any filling is what the experts call blind-baking. You will need 1 recipe Pie Dough, rolled out, shaped into a pie shell, and chilled—or 1 round store-bought dough, shaped into a pie shell and chilled.
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove pie shell from refrigerator and discard plastic wrap. Cover pie shell with large sheet of aluminum foil and gently press foil against bottom and sides of dough, keeping edges covered. Fill foil-­lined pie shell with pie weights (or dried beans, raw rice, or sugar).
2. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place cooling rack in baking sheet. Place pie shell on baking sheet, place in oven, and bake for 45 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help) and place on second cooling rack. (Move slowly so pie plate doesn’t slide!) Ask an adult to remove foil and pie weights (pie weights will be VERY hot). Crust will be pale golden brown.
3. Return baking sheet to oven and continue to bake until edges of pie crust are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help), place on second cooling rack, and let pie shell cool completely, about 1 hour.

Yes, You Can Use Store-­Bought
While homemade pie dough will always have the best texture and flavor, store-­bought dough can still be very good! Our favorite store-­bought dough, Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crusts ($3.99 for 2 crusts), is simple to unfurl, fits in our pie plates without extra rolling, and bakes up golden and flaky. Though we still prefer homemade, when we don’t have the time, we’ll be reaching for Pillsbury.