Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to let kids share in the making of a meal that brings family and friends together in such a meaningful way.

When I was a kid, my job on Thanksgiving was to dress the turkey by stringing cranberries to make a necklace to lay on top of the roasted turkey and to make the paper frills to put on the turkey legs.

When my children were young, they, too, took part in the Thanksgiving preparations every year with their own little jobs. Homemade butter was my son's contribution to the Thanksgiving dinner and my daughter's specialty was buttercream mints. They both took great pride in bringing their creations to the table.

Making buttercream mints is so easy for kids to make. You can just let them mix the ingredients together in a big bowl with their hands if you're brave.

Thanksgiving buttercream mints

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1-pound box confectioners sugar
  • 1 tablespoons heavy cream or milk
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • Food coloring

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Beat butter in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy
  2. Gradually add sugar and cream, beating until well blended. The mixture should be a consistency that will allow you to roll it into smooth balls. If too dry, add another tablespoon of cream or more sugar, if too soft.
  3. Add mint extract to taste.
  4. Tint mixture with a few drops of food coloring and knead well to blend color.
  5. Roll teaspoons of mixture into balls and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment or wax paper and dusted with confectioners sugar.
  6. Use the tines of a fork to gently flatten into patties.
  7. Allow the mints to air dry for a day or two, uncovered. These will just melt in your mouth.

Making butter is super easy with this mason jar recipe and almost a magical experience for kids as they watch the cream turn into butter right before their eyes!

Homemade butter

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1 quart mason jar
  • Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Butter is all about the cream, so you want to use the best. Highlawn Farm Heavy cream, in my opinion, is the best; it's local and unbelievably rich.
  2. Pour cream into the mason jar and let the kids start shaking it. It will take around 5 minutes, give or take; but, eventually, the cream will separate into a solid mass, which is the butter, and a liquid, which is buttermilk
  3. Drain the butter in a strainer, reserving the buttermilk for cooking, if desired.
  4. Give the butter a good rinse with cold water.
  5. Knead in a pinch of salt to taste and it's ready to eat.

Happy Thanksgiving!