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Fall desserts your kids will gobble up: Owl cupcakes, pumpkin cakes and more

Want to get your kids involved in Thanksgiving cooking without making them feel like it's like a chore? Make it fun by letting them bake these easy and creative desserts from Family Circle magazine: Owl cupcakes, pumpkin cakes, acorn cookies and fall apples.Owl cupcakesMakes 6 servingsPrep: 15 minutesBake: According to cupcakes packaging directionsIngredients:6 baked chocolate cupcakes12 baked min
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Want to get your kids involved in Thanksgiving cooking without making them feel like it's like a chore? Make it fun by letting them bake these easy and creative desserts from Family Circle magazine: Owl cupcakes, pumpkin cakes, acorn cookies and fall apples.

Owl cupcakes
Makes 6 servings
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: According to cupcakes packaging directions

Ingredients:

  • 6 baked chocolate cupcakes
  • 12 baked mini cupcakes
  • 1 can (16 oz) chocolate frosting
  • 12 Double Stuf Oreo cookies
  • 24 mini Oreo cookies
  • 12 brown and 6 orange M&M's
  • 24 brown and 12 orange mini M&M's

Spread all cupcakes with frosting. 

Separate Double Stuf Oreo cookies by carefully slicing down, leaving filling on one side of each sandwich. Scrape any cookie crumbs off filling. Place 2 cookie halves, filling side up, on each frosted standard-size cupcake. 

Gently press brown M&M's into filling side of Oreos to finish eyes and an orange M&M's into frosting as beak. Make pointed ears by cutting leftover cookies in half and then tuck into top of each cupcake behind eyes.

Repeat process with mini cupcakes, mini cookies and mini M&M's.

Pumpkin cakes
Makes 12 mini cakes
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, Microwave 10 seconds per batch

Ingredients:

  • 1 box (15.25 oz) spice, vanilla or devil's foodcake mix
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting
  • Orange gel food coloring
  • Nonpareils or sprinkles
  • Tootsie Rolls (for stems)

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 12-cup mini Bundt cupcake pans. Prepare cake mix according to package directions, using buttermilk in place of water. Spoon batter into prepared cupcake pans.

Bake at 350° until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Invert and cool completely. Using a small serrated knife, trim domed tops to make them level.

Tint frosting orange with food coloring. Spread a little frosting on cut side of 12 of the cakes. Sandwich with remaining 12 cakes. Microwave remaining frosting for 5 to 10 seconds, until smooth but not too thin. Spoon some frosting on top of a stacked cake, allowing it to drip down the sides. Top with nonpareils or sprinkles. Cut a Tootsie Roll in half diagonally and reshape slightly with your hands. Add to top of cake as stem.

Repeat with other flavors of cake mix, if desired.

Acorn cookies
Makes 24 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Microwave for 1 minute at 70% power

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable oil (if needed)
  • 24 Nutter Butter Bites cookies (from an 8 oz bag)
  • 48 unwrapped Hershey's Kisses
  • 48 semisweet chocolate chips

Place peanut butter chips in small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at 70% power as per package directions. Stir in vegetable oil if stiff. 

Split Nutter Butter Bites. Dip the bottom of one Kiss into melted chips. Secure the bottom half of the Nutter Butter onto a Hershey Kiss. Dip flat bottom of a semisweet chip onto melted chips and press onto top of Nutter Butter. Place on wax paper to dry. Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Fall apples 
Drizzled chocolate apples
Makes 4 servings
Prep: 30 minutes
Microwave about 9 minutes


Ingredients:

  • 4 small to medium Gala apples
  • 4 6-inch wooden dowels
  • 1 bag (12 oz) semisweet chocolate morsels (such as Nestlé)
  • 3 tsp canola oil
  • 4 oz Wilton orange candy melts (from a 12 oz bag)
  • 4 oz Wilton yellow candy melts (from a 12 oz bag)

Remove stems from apples. Insert a dowel into each apple at the stem end.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine semisweet chocolate and 1 tsp of the oil. Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute; stir. Continue microwaving at 50% power in 30-second intervals until melted. Dip apples in chocolate until evenly coated. Allow excess chocolate to drip back into bowl. Place apples on a parchment-paperlined baking sheet to partially dry.

In a separate microwave-safe bowl, combine orange candy melts and 1 tsp of the oil. Melt according to package directions, then transfer to a piping bag or a small resealable bag with one small corner snipped off. Repeat with yellow candy melts and remaining 1 tsp oil. Drizzle both colors over apples. Return apples to parchment-paper-lined baking sheet to dry.

White chocolate-pistachio apples
Makes 4 servings
Prep 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 small to medium Granny Smith apples
  • 4 6-inch wooden dowels
  • 1 bag (12 oz) Wilton white candy melts
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • Shelled pistachios, chopped

Remove stems from apples. Insert a dowel into each apple at the stem end.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine candy melts and oil; melt according to package directions. Dip apples in candy until evenly coated, making sure some green peeks out. Allow excess candy to drip back into bowl. Sprinkle chopped pistachios around top of each candycoated apple.

Place apples on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet to dry.

Salted caramel apples
Makes 4 servings
Prep 30 minutes, refrigerate 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 4 small to medium Granny Smith apples
  • 4 6-inch wooden dowels
  • 1 bag (11 oz) Kraft caramel bits
  • Sea salt flakes (such as Maldon)

Remove stems from apples. Insert a dowel into each apple at the stem end.

In a microwave-safe bowl, melt caramel bits according to package directions. Dip apples in caramel until evenly coated, making sure some green peeks out. Allow excess caramel to drip back into bowl. Sprinkle with flaked sea salt.

Place apples on a parchment-paperlined baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Refrigerate 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator at least 15 minutes before serving. (If refrigerated for too long, salt will dissolve.)