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Share to Pinterest10 Must-Have Thanksgiving Desserts
Share to Pinterest10 Must-Have Thanksgiving Desserts

The turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce are all important Thanksgiving staples, but no Thanksgiving meal is complete without dessert. Whether you stick to popular classics like pecan pie and pumpkin rolls, or if you like to get more adventurous with upside-down cake and seasonal mousse, the sky’s the limit when it comes to preparing the perfect Thanksgiving dessert spread. For a truly memorable Thanksgiving meal, get creative with your menu, and experiment with all the rich and unique flavors fall has to offer.


Spiced Ginger Cupcakes

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This sweet treat is an excellent alternative to pumpkin desserts, and it’s something you and your family will want to make throughout the entire holiday season. To make these cupcakes, beat together ½ cup granulated sugar, ½ cup molasses, ½ cup butter, and two eggs. Once combined, gently stir in 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons ground ginger, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, and ¾ cup water. Spoon about ¼ cup of batter into individual cupcake cups and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 18 minutes.

To make this recipe even more decadent, top the cupcakes with a cream cheese frosting and decorate them with crystallized ginger before serving.


Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

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This recipe beautifully combines Thanksgiving favorites pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and cheesecake to make it a new favorite at any table. Start the recipe by combining ½ cup chopped pecans with ¼ cup packed brown sugar and two tablespoons butter. Cover the mixture and store it in the refrigerator for later. For the cheesecake, beat together 8 ounces of cream cheese, ⅓ cup packed brown sugar, 2 eggs, and ¾ cup pumpkin butter. Pour the cheesecake batter in a prepared graham cracker crust and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 40 minutes.

Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the cheesecake and bake for another 5 minutes. Once baked, let the dessert cool for at least 4 hours before serving.


Pecan Pie

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A classic dessert and a family favorite, pecan pie is always a welcome addition to any Thanksgiving feast. To make the perfect pecan pie, whisk together 1 cup sugar, 1 cup light corn syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 4 eggs. In a separate saucepan, melt ½ cup butter over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Slowly pour the melted butter into the sugar mixture and whisk to combine. Chop 2 cups of pecans and stir them into the pie mixture.

Pour the mixture into a pie crust and line the filling with pecan halves. Bake the pie at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 60 minutes or until the filling is set.


Salted Caramel Mousse

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This mousse is the perfect ending to a rich and hearty meal. Start this recipe with the caramel sauce. In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat ½ cup granulated sugar with 2 tablespoons of water until it turns a deep gold color. Slowly add 3 tablespoons of butter to the sugar. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in ¼ cup warm heavy cream and ½ teaspoon sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine 8 ounces of cream cheese with ½ cup of the caramel sauce until smooth. In a third bowl, use an electric mixer to whisk 1 cup of heavy cream to make whipped cream. Gently fold the whipped cream into the caramel cream cheese mixture.

Spoon the mousse into individual glasses and drizzle with caramel sauce. Serve the dessert chilled.


Lemon-Cranberry Squares

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The perfect balance of sweet and tart, these lemon bars are a citrusy treat that your guests will love. To make these bars, first make a sweet pie crust by combining 6 tablespoons cold butter, ¼ cup powdered sugar, and ¾ cup flour. Press the pastry into a square pie pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the pie crust is baking, beat together 2 large eggs, ¾ cup granulated sugar, the juice of 3 lemons, and ¼ cup of flour. Stir in ¾ cup dried cranberries. Pour the lemon mixture into the prepared pie crust and bake at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 40 minutes. Chill for 3 to 4 hours and dust with powdered sugar before serving.


Bourbon Bread Pudding

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Cut a 1-pound loaf of brioche into cubes so that you have about 10 cups of bread. Add the brioche cubes and a 1 cup of chopped pecans to a baking dish. Next, make the custard by whisking together 4 cups half-and-half, 1 cup whole milk, 5 eggs, 1 cup packed dark-brown sugar, 3 tablespoons of bourbon, 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg. Pour the custard over the bread and pecans and let the mixture soak for about 1 hour. Bake the pudding for about 50 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


Ginger and Pear Upside Down Cake

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Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a cast-iron pan and add 2 cups of pear slices, cooking them until just tender. Add another 4 tablespoons of butter, ¼ cup brown sugar, and ¼ cup honey and stir until melted. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of chopped crystallized ginger. For the cake, cream 1 stick of butter with 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add ¾ cups of milk, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon salt, and 2 cups flour.

Pour the batter over the pear and ginger mixture and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.


Chocolate Hazelnut Pie

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This easy-to-make pie uses the classic flavor combination of chocolate and hazelnut to create one indulgent dessert. To make the filling, gently melt 4 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate with 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter. In a separate bowl, mix 4 large eggs, 1 cup light corn syrup, ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the melted chocolate until well-combined and then fold in 1 ½ cups toasted chopped hazelnuts.

Pour the filling into a prepared pie crust and bake for 50 to 60 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve the pie slightly chilled with whipped cream



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Although not traditionally a Thanksgiving dessert, tiramisu is a sweet treat that can be served all year round. To make the mascarpone cream, whip 3 egg whites with 3 tablespoons of sugar until stiff peaks form. In a separate bowl, whisk 6 egg yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar until yolks become thick. Add 8 ounces mascarpone to the egg yolks until well-combined. Fold the egg whites into the mixture. Whisk 1 ½ cups of strong espresso with 6 tablespoons of Grand Marnier. One by one, dip ladyfingers in the espresso mixture and arrange them on a baking tray. Top with a layer of the mascarpone mixture until you reach the top of your pan. Finish with a layer of mascarpone and dust with cocoa powder.

Refrigerate the tiramisu for at least 6 hours and serve chilled.


Toasted Coconut Sweet Potato Pie

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Toasted coconut adds extra depth and a nutty flavor to your traditional sweet potato pie. Make the sweet potato filling by whisking together 1 ½ cups of mashed sweet potato, ½ cup packed brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon nutmeg, 2 eggs, 1 cup evaporated milk, and 1 tablespoon melted butter. Stir in 1 cup of toasted coconut and pour the mixture into a prepared pie crust.

Bake the pie at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes. Serve the pie chilled with whipped cream and sprinkled with toasted coconut.



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