girl kid cooking
Photograph: Shutterstock

Tasty recipes for parents and kids to make together

Put the kids to work: These family-friendly recipes might inspire your child to become the next Christina Tosi!

By Oliver Strand
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Want to have tons of fun at home? Let the kids cook! Children love to get busy in the kitchen, and there's something magical about turning raw ingredients into something tasty. Talk about boosting self-confidence: They'll feel super-accomplished when they make something the whole family gets to eat!

The secret is finding kid-friendly recipes that lead to dishes you'll truly enjoy. It just so happens that NYC has more than its share of amazing cooking classes for kids, and we asked the best of the best for their recipes. Here you'll find amazing recipes from the Dynamite Shop, the League of KitchensTaste Buds Kitchen, Allergic to Salad, the Brooklyn Kitchen and others!

Here's the plan: let your little ones put food on the table, maybe stream one of the 50 greatest animated films to watch as a family! As for that incomprehensibly large mess they made? Let it go. You can always take it easy another time and order in from the best family restaurants in NYC doing delivery.

Recipes for parents and kids

almond cookies kourampiedes
almond cookies kourampiedes
Photograph: Courtesy of Despina Economou and the League of Kitchens

1. Kourampiedes (Greek Almond Cookies) from the League of Kitchens

16 to 20 cookies

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ¾ cup slivered almonds, coarsely chopped 
  • 2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened 
  • 5 tablespoons granulated sugar 
  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour 
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder 
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
  • ½ cup powdered sugar, for coating 

 

Here’s how to make it: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Spread the almonds in an even layer on a small baking sheet and toast until lightly brown, about 3 minutes. Reserve. Lower the oven to 350°F. 
  2. While the nuts are toasting, cream the butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 6 minutes. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a small bowl and then add to the creamed butter all at once. Turn the mixer back on to low speed and mix until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and toasted nuts and mix about 1 more minute. 
  3. Take a small piece of the dough and roll between your hands into a ball, and then into a fat log about 3 inches long and 1/2-inch thick. Put on an ungreased baking sheet and gently bend each side a little to create a shallow half-moon shape. Repeat with the remaining dough. Bake until lightly golden brown, for 20 to 22 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet. 
  4. Gently toss each cookie in the powdered sugar until evenly coated.
Dynamite Shop
Dynamite Shop
Photograph: Courtesy the Dynamite Shop

2. Choose Your Own Adventure Vegetable Soup with Any-Herb Pesto from the Dynamite Shop

4-6 Servings

Here’s What You’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped (optional) 
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 cups chopped vegetables (zucchini, summer squash, red or yellow peppers, kale, spinach or chard)
  • ½  teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, oregano or Italian seasoning 
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) white beans, such as cannellini, drained, about 2 cups (or any kind of bean you have)
  • Grated parmesan cheese, for garnish 
  • ⅔ cup Any-Herb Pesto 

 

For Any-Herb Pesto:

  • 2 cups packed fresh herbs (a mix of basil, parsley, mint, chives, dill, fennel fronds, ramps or baby greens like spinach or kale), minced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon (you can use lime or any other citrus) 
  • ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste

 

Optional Add-Ins:

  • Shredded or diced chicken, small pasta (cooked), grains (cooked)

 

Here’s how to make it: 

  1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the celery, onions and carrots and cook, stirring often, until the onions turn golden and translucent and the carrots are soft, about six minutes. 
  2. Add the garlic, any sturdy chopped vegetables (such as zucchini, squash or peppers) red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is fragrant and the vegetables begin to soften, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then stir in the stock. Bring to a simmer, then add the dried herbs, bay leaf and beans. 
  3. Simmer until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes, then stir in leafy greens and any optional add-ins. 
  4. To serve, top with a spoonful of any-herb pesto and grated parmesan.

 

Here’s how to make Any-Herb Pesto:

  1. Combine the herbs, garlic, parmesan cheese and lemon juice in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mash the ingredients with a wooden spoon to thoroughly combine.
  3. While stirring and mashing, slowly stream in the olive oil to form a chunky paste.
  4. Season with remaining ingredients, to taste.
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bark ice recipe
bark ice recipe
Photograph: Courtesy Institute of Culinary Education

3. Cookies and Cream Chocolate Bark from the Institute of Culinary Education at Brookfield Place

Makes 15-20 pieces of bark

 Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 12 ounces dark chocolate
  • 1 pound white chocolate 
  • 12 Oreos or cream-filled sandwich cookies, roughly chopped

 

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Using a double boiler, melt the white chocolate until just melted. Repeat with the dark chocolate in a separate bowl.
  2. Line a half sheet tray with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. Pour half of the dark chocolate on top of the sheet tray lined with parchment, using a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer. Let set up in the refrigerator, about 5-10 minutes, until firm to the touch.
  4. While the first dark chocolate layer is setting, combine crushed sandwich cookies with the white chocolate. When the first layer has hardened, pour white chocolate and crushed cookies over the dark chocolate layer using a rubber spatula to spread in an even layer. Allow the second layer to set up in the refrigerator, about 5-10 minutes, until firm to the touch.
  5. Pour the remaining dark chocolate on top of the white chocolate layer, using a rubber spatula to spread the chocolate in an even layer. 
  6. Allow the chocolate to harden in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes, then break into bite-size pieces.
mini muffin
mini muffin
Photograph: Courtesy TasteBuds Kitchen

4. Pancake Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins from Taste Buds Kitchen

Makes 28

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 ½ tablespoon sugar 
  • ½ tablespoon baking powder 
  • Pinch salt 
  • 1 ¼ cup milk 
  • ½ tablespoon white vinegar 
  • 1  egg 
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips 
  • ½ tablespoon blueberries 
  • ⅓ cup maple syrup 

 

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Heat oven to 425 degrees. 
  2. Grease mini muffin pan. 
  3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  4. Whisk together milk and vinegar in a separate bowl and let sit for 1 minute to create buttermilk.
  5. Whisk eggs and vanilla into buttermilk.
  6. Combine dry ingredients and wet ingredients, then stir in melted butter.
  7. Fill mini muffin pan with batter using a spoon. You can top muffins with chocolate chips, blueberries or both.  
  8. Bake for 8-9 minutes or until golden brown on top. 
  9. Let sit in the pan for 1 minute, then turn out of the pan. Serve with warm syrup.
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kale brooklyn botanic
kale brooklyn botanic
Photograph: Courtesy Brooklyn Botanic Garden

5. Kale Chips from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden 

Makes 1 bowl of kale chips

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • 1 bunch of kale 
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil 
  • Kosher salt

 

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Wash and dry the kale—make sure it’s completely dry because getting rid of moisture is the key to crispy chips.
  3. Remove the ribs from the kale. Rip into 2-inch pieces.
  4. Lay on a baking sheet and toss with the olive oil and salt.
  5. Bake until crisp, turning the leaves halfway through, about 10-15 minutes.
quick pickles Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden
quick pickles Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden
Photograph: Courtesy of The New York Botanical Garden

6. Quick Pickles from the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden

1 cup pickles

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ cup unseasoned rice vinegar 
  • 1 tablespoon sugar 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup thinly sliced vegetables, such as carrots, red onions or cucumbers

 

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Mix vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and let dissolve. 
  2. Add vegetables and let sit, squeezing gently with your hands occasionally to help them pickle more quickly, about 10 minutes. Vegetables can be pickled three days in advance of serving: Just cover and keep chilled.
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jar lids
jar lids
Photograph: Liz Clayman

7. Jar Whipped Cream from the Brooklyn Kitchen

Makes one jar of whipped cream.
Here's what you'll need:
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • ½ tsp powdered sugar or maple syrup

 

Here’s how to make it:

  1. Add all ingredients to the jar and secure the lid. Make sure it's on tight.
  2. Shake until cream is thick—put some muscle into it!
  3. Enjoy on dessert, in hot chocolate or with fresh fruit. 
veggie taco
veggie taco
Photograph: Courtesy Allergic to Salad

8. Veggie Tacos with Black Bean Salsa Recipe by Allergic to Salad

12 tacos

 Here’s what you’ll need:

  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 head broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, 1 large sweet potato (you can substitute any of these with 2 medium-sized zucchinis or summer squash, or 3 medium-sized carrots), chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon oil 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

For Black Bean Salsa:

  • 1 can (15-ounces)  black beans, rinsed and drained 
  • ½ cup canned tomatoes, diced
  • ½ onion (red, white, yellow or shallot), chopped small
  • 2 tablespoons oil 
  • Pinch ground cumin (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar (red wine, white, apple cider)
  • Juice from 1 lime(or lemon (optional)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

 

For Homemade Tortillas:

  • 3 cups flour 
  • ⅓ cup oil 
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup hot water (as hot as your hands can stand, but not boiling)

Here’s how to make it: 

  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the vegetables on a baking sheet with salt, pepper, and oil.
  3. Roast until golden brown and tender, about 20-25 minutes.

 

Here’s how to make Black Bean Salsa:

  1. Combine beans, chopped onion and tomato in a bowl.
  2. Drizzle oil and vinegar on top, and add cumin and lime juice if using, season with salt and pepper and mix together.

 

Here’s how to make Homemade Tortillas: 

  1. Mix together the flour and the water in a bowl.
  2. Add the oil and hot water and mix together until the mixture starts to come together in clumps.
  3. Knead the dough with your hands for about 5 minutes until smooth.
  4. Transfer dough to a lightly-floured surface and break into 12 small balls.
  5. Let rest for about 15 minutes, then roll out the tortillas into rounds, as thin as possible.
  6. Heat a pan on the stove over medium heat. Cook the tortillas for about 30-60 seconds on one side, until slightly golden brown spots develop, then another 30 seconds on the other side. Serve warm.

More fun for kids

Rocky Road cookie at Milk & Cookies
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Linda C.

Milk & Cookies

Restaurants Bakeries West Village

Husband-and-wife team Marc and Jennifer Limotte whip up batches of cookies to order, letting customers choose their own ingredients (nuts, M&Ms, white chocolate, raisins). If you can’t decide on a combo, opt instead for one of the couple’s creations, like dark chocolate toffee, chocolate-mint, or rainbow sprinkle sugar cookie. Delivery services run in Manhattan, Queens, and Brooklyn during the week; weekend deliveries must be prearranged over the phone.

Order online or by phone ($25 minimum), plus varying delivery fee.

Insomnia Cookie
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Preeti P.

Insomnia Cookies

Restaurants Bakeries Upper West Side

This shrine to collegiate munchies—first launched at the University of Pennsylvania—churns out highly addictive cookies in classic flavors like chocolate chunk, M&M, and snickerdoodle for delivery from midmorning through the wee hours of late night. With 10 locations across the city, you can order anywhere from six to 300 rounds. For a particularly sinful dessert experience, order from the ‘Wiches menu (you can get an ice-cream-stuffed “cookiewich”). 

Order online (no minimum), plus $3 delivery fee

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Cookie at LeVain Bakery
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Paul K.

Levain Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Upper West Side

At Levain, the cookies are so huge, they might as well be lunch. The massive mounds stay underdone in the middle, making them a boon to cookie-dough lovers. Don’t miss the lush, brownie-like double-chocolate number, or order a few different flavors for delivery in sets of four, eight, and a full dozen. And no need to worry about availability across the five boroughs—this renowned bakery ships around the United States.

Order online (no minimum), plus varying delivery fee.

Cookies at Eleni's
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Lianna N.

Eleni’s

Restaurants Bakeries Chelsea

Known for its completely customizable cookies, Eleni’s delivers adorable and super delicious sugar cookies with next-level decorations. Though its Chelsea location shuttered, you can still order everything from traditional birthday and holiday treats to monograms, photos, and even color-your-own cookies with edible markers. The “gourmet crisps” collection is also worth coveting—you can try flavors like butterscotch chunk and ginger snap.

Order online (minimum one dozen), plus $10 delivery fee.

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Cookie Dō NYC
Photograph: Cookie Dō NYC / Yelp

Cookie DŌ NYC

Restaurants Bakeries Greenwich Village

This uber indulgent shop in the West Village is dedicated entirely to safe-to-eat cookie dough. Ask for one, two, or three scoops of traditional chocolate chip and sugar cookie in a cup or cone, or opt for one of the more whimsical flavors like cake batter, s'mores, and peanut butter cup. Most menu options will likely lead you to a sugar crash, but it maybe all that decadence is worth it. 

Order online (no minimum), plus Caviar delivery fee.

Cookies at City Cakes
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp / Brandon B.

City Cakes

Restaurants Chelsea

This custom cake shop also specializes in hulking half-pound cookies with crinkly edges and soft centers in flavors like red velvet, triple chocolate spice, and oatmeal raisin. Some varieties are even packed with fillings like Nutella and Reese's Pieces. Order an assorted pack to split with friends and try them all.

Order online ($15 minimum), plus $4 delivery fee.

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Schmackary's Cookies
Photograph: Dowd Photography

Schmackary's Cookies

Restaurants Bakeries Hell's Kitchen

This wildly popular cookie brand built its following online before setting up shop in Hell's Kitchen. Sweet tooths can choose from cookies in funky flavors like maple bacon, vegan cotton candy, strawberry rhubarb, and even a gluten-free sweet corn with cranberries and pecans.

Order online (one dozen minimum), plus $10 delivery fee.

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