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Best ever Thanksgiving dessert recipes

I can't wait to get home and bake for my family. So many recipes I want to try. What are a few of your favorite recipes that everyone goes crazy for? I love anything interesting with swet potato or pumpkin.

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  1. Pumpkin cookies are great! My in-laws loved 'em.
    Works well with spelt flour, for a nutty complement to the pumpkin.
    Serve with vanilla ice-cream with maple-syrup drizzle, for a plated dessert?

    Can be easier to double the recipe:
    • 3/4 c. spelt flour (or all-purpose)
    • 1/2 c. brown sugar
    • 2/3 tsp. salt
    • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • ½ cup butter
    • 1/2 egg (or one yolk or one white)
    • 1/2 c. pumpkin, cooked and mashed/pureed
    • 1/4 c. fine-chopped walnuts or almonds
    • 7/8 c. uncooked oatmeal

    Mix together, drop about 20 dollops on cookie sheet, bake at 350 11-14 min until golden.

    1. The Nov/Dec Cooks Illustrated has a new pumpkin pie recipe which adds fresh ginger and sweet potato, cutting out clove and reducing the typical spicing so the pumpkin flavor stands out more. Prep technique is designed so as to prevent a soggy pie. This one sounds like a winner.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        I just made the CI pumpkin pie this weekend, and it was almost perfect - I felt it was a bit too salty for my taste. But the texture was to die for. Even my sister, who HATES pumpkin pie, couldn't resist trying it when she heard everyone else raving. Definitely takes the same ol' pumpkin pie up a notch.

        1. re: RosemaryHoney

          Thanks, good to know! I use very little salt so will keep that in mind when trying it.

      2. My latest craze is a pumpkin "log" filled with cream cheese icing and sprinkled with icing sugar.....can post recipe if you'd like

        1 Reply
        1. one of my favorite holiday recipes is a butternut squash pie with a maple chesnut puree base. it works well w/ pumpkin as well.

          i make it year round, but gramercy tavern gingerbread is great at thanksgiving because of the great spicy flavors.

          i also make a relatively healthy sweet potato souffle that works as a side dish or dessert by itself or with creme anglaise or creme fraiche.

          one other idea i toyed around with last year was fried pumpkin... i cubed and roasted pumpkin cubes, then i made a cinnamon spiced batter, dipped the pumpkin and fried... it was quite unique.

          4 Replies
          1. re: Emme

            thanks so much! the butternut squash with chestnut base sounds like a winner. to respond to bellywizard, my aunt makes a pretty great sweet pot. cookie and her secret is adding dried coconut, half sweetened, half not i believe.

            1. re: Emme

              I'll second Gramercy Tavern gingerbread, which I'm planning on making. And it can be made a day or two in advance.

              1. re: Joebob

                actually it's best made a couple of days ahead so the flavors can meld

            2. I have a recipe I never got to last year, Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce or similar. Family vetoed it and wanted plain pumpkin pie, but this year I think I will try it anyway.

              Here's some ideas on this theme


              1 Reply
              1. re: coll

                If Hood dairy products and Trader Joe's are in your area, keep this easy and decadent Pumpkin Bread Pudding in mind: One Trader Joe's pumpkin spice cake (small bundt, not very spicy at all) cut into 1" cubes, 2.5 cups of Hood's Pumpkin Eggnog - this is a Nov-Dec seasonal item, and 2 large eggs. 50min at 350 - I used a 7x11 glass dish. Serve slightly warm, with cold eggnog as a sauce. This is a knockout! For an R-rated version, spike the eggnog sauce with some "Holiday spirits".

              2. We went south a couple years ago, figuratively. My family loves key lime pie, so I added to the dessert roster. Very refreshing, tart and a good foil for the rich dinner. It's now a regular on the menu, along with apple pie --the gold standard.

                2 Replies
                1. re: berkleybabe

                  Emme, I totally agree with you about the gingerbread. The one I made (Claudia Fleming) used oatmeal stout and was fab.

                  I also love the Pumpkin Custard with Golden Raisin Sauce which is served with mascarpone. It's from the Dolce Italiano book by de Palma (Babbo's dessert chef),

                  The raisin compote/sauce is a great contrast to the creamy pumpkin custard and is made with orange and lemon juices cooked with the raisins. She makes it in individual ramekins. I've made the custard in a large baking pan and then scooped it into nice, squat glasses and topped with the raisin compote and a dollop of mascarpone. Heavenly. Another prime feature, imho, is that it can all be made ahead and refrigerated. You can even fill the glasses the night before and refrigerate, doing the toppings just before serving.

                  I got the recipe originally off the internet. I think she has a website called "Dolce Italiano" or maybe it's through Babbo.

                  1. re: oakjoan

                    I also love Claudia Fleming's Guinness Stout Ginger Cake, which I too make with oatmeal stout instead of Guinness. The Gramercy Tavern (where she was pastry chef) gingerbread is an adulterated version of that recipe, with twice as much sugar and no fresh ginger (I know Emme advocates for and prefers this recipe, but I'm in the opposite camp!). The original recipe: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                    For a different flavor profile, I make a pear fudge pie that's seasonal (pears), and always gets great reviews.

                2. There's a fantastic recipe for sweet potato doughnuts with roasted apple filling in Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot (last month's dessert COTM on Home Cooking board.) If you fried rather than baked them, I'd bet everyone would climb the walls for more. Of course, they might not be the most practical Thanksgiving dessert item unless your fam waits a while after dinner, since the idea of frying might not be so appealing, and there's no possibility of do ahead here.

                  It's not sweet potato or pumpkin, but I made an apple walnut cake with the salted caramel frosting in CHOW recipes, altering the frosting recipe somewhat. I served it for a birthday cake, and it got rave reviews. If that's of interest, I doubled the amount of sugar for the caramel, and reduced the butter by a third, keeping all other proportions the same. I used crumbled Maldon sea salt instead of the kosher salt mentioned. This produced a not too sweet, lusciously whipped textured and decadently deep caramel flavor frosting, just what I was wanting. Complemented the apple cake perfectly.

                  1. I love pumpkin desserts, so over the years I've made a lot. Here are a couple of my family's favorites (both from Gourmet magazine):

                    Brandied Pumpkin Pie

                    Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

                    Hmmm...just noticed....I guess we like booze in our desserts. Or maybe it's me! Since I'm also eyeing the Butterscotch Pumpkin Pie in BA's latest issue:

                    Pumpkin Butterscotch Pie

                    1. My family favorite is a pumpkin swirl cheesecake. The recipe is from an old Martha Stewart magazine, so is probably available online. It's a great blend of pumpkin pie with a rich cheesecake. It's completely decadent, but the family won't let me come unless I bring one.

                      1. I make these apple cookies that are really popular. Everyone loves them. I've even had teenage boys ask for the RECIPE. Here it is:


                        * 1 stick butter
                        * 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
                        * 1 egg
                        * 2 cups all-purpose flour
                        * 1 teaspoon baking soda
                        * 1/2 teaspoon salt
                        * 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
                        * 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
                        * 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
                        * 2 cups apples - peeled, cored and finely diced
                        * 1 cup finely chopped prunes (or raisins, but prunes are moister and more flavorful and people seem to love them)
                        * 1/8 cup milk

                        * 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar (I usually just whiz 2/3 cup of plain white sugar in a spice grinder until it's powdered. I think that comes out to about 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar but anyway just eyeball it when making the icing)
                        * 1 tablespoon butter
                        * 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
                        * 2 tablespoons milk or cream

                        1. Beat butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla and blend thoroughly.
                        2. Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.
                        3. Stir half the dry ingredients into wet mixture. Stir in nuts, apple and raisins, then stir in remaining half of dry ingredients and milk. Mix well. Mixture will be wet.
                        4. Drop from tablespoon 1 1/2 inches apart onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 360 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove cookies to racks and while still warm, spread with icing.
                        5. To make icing: Combine powdered sugar, butter, vanilla and enough milk to make icing of spreading consistency. Beat until smooth. Pipe or spread onto warm cookies.

                        The cookies tend to spread a little bit so I chill them on the baking sheet before baking. They are SO good! BTW the recipe makes about 20 cookies.