“In November, the smell of food is different. It is an orange smell. A squash and pumpkin smell. It tastes like cinnamon and can fill up a house in the morning, can pull everyone from bed in a fog. Food is better in November than any other time of the year.”
― Cynthia Rylant, In November
Now that Halloween is over and we all have Election Feelings to deal with, we should talk about dessert! The holiday season is here and we’re all looking for ways to celebrate and create wonderful memories in spite of literally everything. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite fall dessert recipes that would be a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving table and welcome little helpers to the kitchen. Food creates the coziest atmosphere that can transcend any heaviness that may accompany your holiday season. (We just won’t worry about the heaviness it may cause!)
No-Bake Pumpkin Ginger Cheesecake
- 1 box gingersnap cookies (you won’t need the whole box but I’ve never seen them in a smaller quantity)
- 1/2 Stick of butter
- 8 oz (1 block) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup of pumpkin
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tub Cool Whip, thawed
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- For crust:
- Pulverize 2.5 cups of cookies in food processor. You will want 2.5 cups of crumbs when finished.
- Melt butter in microwave & mix with cookie crumbs.
- Press into pie plate and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
- For filling:
- Beat cream cheese in mixer until smooth
- Add pumpkin and mix until combined
- Add powdered sugar and mix on low
- Add Cool Whip. Beat on high several minutes.
- Add pumpkin pie spice and nutmeg. Taste mixture and add more if desired.
- Spread filling into cooled pie crust. Refrigerate until set up, at least a few hours. Set out cheesecake about 30 minutes before serving to allow crust to soften enough for cutting.
Notes: Thanksgiving treats us to so many warm, rich, heavy foods, this cold dessert is a nice finisher. The crust can be modified with more cookies or butter depending on how you like your crust consistency. This cheesecake is simple and fairly plain for those who don’t like decadent dessert. If you want more going on, get creative with garnish. Top with gingersnaps, sprinkle nutmeg, drizzle caramel…or whatever sounds good to you!
Brown Butter Maple Pecan Blondies
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 4 large eggs
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups chopped toasted pecans, divided (1 cup set aside, 1/4 cup set aside)
- For brown butter:
- Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until butter browns and smells nutty (5-7 minutes). Immediately pour into a bowl. Place in fridge or freezer to cool, whisking every few minutes until thickened and creamy (about 20 minutes). Butter should look like melted peanut butter when done. (If you’re making this all at once, use the freezer for faster set up. If you’re making the brown butter ahead of time to use as an ingredient later, use the fridge.)
- For blondies:
- Preheat oven to 350. Beat eggs & sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until thickened and pale yellow, about 3 minutes.
- Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Add slowly into egg mixture, alternating with cooled butter, beating on low after each addition. Slowly beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Beat just until combined. Fold in 1 cup of the pecans with a spoon.
- Pour batter into greased and floured 9×13 inch baking pan and spread into an even layer. Top with remaining 1/4 cup pecans.
- Bake in preheated oven 35 minutes, or until golden and a wooden pick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool in pan 1 hour before cutting.
Notes: This Southern Living recipe makes use of toasted pecans and maple…two underrated flavors of fall. DON’T FORGET: The brown butter will need time to set up. I hate when I get rolling on a recipe and have to stop and wait. Make the brown butter the night before or in the morning and plan to bake later in the day, or just build in extra prep time.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
There is no way I could improve upon this recipe from I Heart Naptime. Visit her site for the recipe so she gets all the credit.
While these aren’t the traditional pumpkin and pecan pie desserts we usually see at Thanksgiving, I hope they will inspire you to try something new or give a jolt of creativity for some of your tried-and-true recipes. I truly believe there is always more to be thankful for than there is to mourn, because of what Jesus did for us on the cross. I pray you would know that hope this holiday season.