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Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving desserts’

Beat the Wheat: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

AKA Touch the Pie (Gotta Testify, Lookin’ Extra Fly)

I don’t know about you, but I can’t listen to music while I work. It’s too distracting. I can’t pay attention to the work and I can’t pay attention to the song. So iTunes stays on lockdown during the workday. But when I’m home cooking? It’s a different story. There’s music in the kitchen and I might check out my reflection in the window during the occasional booty pop, I’m not gonna lie. When I bake, it’s all hip-hop and old ’70s soul and funk.

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Sweet Potato Casserole Pie with Marshmallow Praline Topping

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.


Southerners love to over-sugar their sweet potatoes, making most recipes resemble a dessert rather than a side dish. And although I was raised on a saccharine sweet potato casserole piled high with toasted marshmallows (and still swear by the beloved tradition), it seems jet-puffed sweet potatoes are falling out of favor for recipes with a more “refined” profile. So why not embrace sweet potato casserole’s sugary roots and consider serving it alongside your dessert spread? After all, the only thing missing from the candied casserole is a flaky buttered crust. This delicious twist on the classic is the perfect way to get your holiday sweet potato fix and put all of those marshmallow haters to shame.

This pie stems from numerous experiments based off my heirloom family recipe — just a few tweaks here and a few changes there — to create the ultimate sweet potato casserole-as-pie. I always roast my sweet potatoes (as opposed to boiling) to intensify their flavors and allow natural caramel undertones to shine through. Instead of my usual heavy cream, however, I added sweetened condensed milk and doubled the number of eggs, resulting in a velvety-smooth texture more suitable for a pie. And while lots of sweet potato pie recipes call for a bevy of overwhelming spices, I find they mask the true character of the simple Southern dish. A splash of spiced rum and some vanilla bean paste are just enough to add complexity without concealing the subtle sweet potato flavor.

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Perfect Pumpkin Pie: Which Squash Squashes the Competition?

In our humble opinion, Thanksgiving is superior to any other day of the year. In an effort to make this year’s feast the best of all time (sorry, Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribe), we’re bringing you the recipes, how-tos and decorating ideas to help you become a Turkey Day pro.

Are you feeling pumpkin-ed out? We are fully entrenched in pumpkin season, with the pumpkin-centric holiday of Thanksgiving just around the corner and toothy jack-o’-lanterns still grinning devilishly from neighborhood doorsteps and windows. But a few weeks ago, before we slid too far down the rabbit hole of pumpkin lattes, cheesecakes and gnocchi, and with Thanksgiving dessert preparations on the brain, the Cooking Channel editorial and culinary teams began debating one very serious and simple question: Which pumpkin, or other kind of squash, makes the best pumpkin pie?

To find this important answer, we decided to set up a near-scientific experiment. We roasted various squash varieties, pureed their innards and baked them into the same pie recipe, comparing resulting pies for color, texture and flavor. We incorporated canned pumpkin and sweet potatoes into the test as experimental controls, since we generally knew what flavor and texture to expect from both. We tasted all of the purees as well as the final pies, focusing on the filling (since the pre-approved crust was the same for each).

To orient you in this taste test, we’ll tell you how the varieties of pumpkins and winter squash are related (pumpkins are a kind of winter squash — we’ll refer to them interchangeably in this test). There are three major families within that group:

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Sifted: Thanksgiving Desserts Edition

Smitten Kitchen's apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

5 Hot Links We’re Loving:

  1. If Smitten Kitchen‘s Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel (pictured above) tastes a quarter as good as it looks, we’ll add it to our Thanksgiving wish list.
  2. Bon Appetit‘s Cranberry Hand Pies look like they’ve been shot with cupid’s arrow. We are in love.
  3. Sweet potatoes in dessert form? Yes, please. Eat Your Heart Out posted her Sweet Potato Cookie recipe around Mother’s Day but it seems pretty fitting for this week, too.
  4. After eating an enormous feast, fitting in dessert may seem a daunting — but necessary — task. Bakerella‘s Pumpkin Pie Bites are the perfect solution.
  5. Have a gluten-free guest at your table? A Sweet Simple Life‘s gluten-less Pumpkin Pie looks like it will satisfy everyone with or without food allergies.

Craving More?

  • If those Sweet Potato Cookies inspired you to want more Thanksgiving food turned dessert, get a load of these Stuffing Cookies.
  • If you’re not looking to bake, but want a cheap and easy dessert for the crowd, Pepperidge Farm has released a bag of cookies flavored like pumpkin cheesecake.
  • Get our ultimate Thanksgiving dessert guide for our best Thanksgiving pie and tart recipes, plus essential tips to churn out irresistible sweets that are sure to hit the spot.

Poached Pears: The Perfect Thanksgiving Dessert

This is the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving dinner. It can be made days ahead, doesn’t require any oven space and is decadent with flavor, but light enough to follow your Thanksgiving feast. The poaching liquid is homemade chai; a blend of sweet spices and black tea. A drizzle of chocolate ganache gussies up the dessert and makes it look like something you fussed over, even though this is one of the easiest desserts to create. No one needs to know that!

Be sure to pick firm, unripe pears for poaching. The harder the pear, the longer it will take to poach, which means it has more time to soak up the flavors of the chai. Slow poaching is key to great flavor.

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And for Dessert…Stuffing?

Stuffing Cookie Recipe

When we heard the Downtown Cookie Co.’s cookie of the month for November was a Stuffing Cookie, we were skeptical. Can you blame us? Stuffing belongs at the dinner table, not on the dessert menu. Or so we thought.

It turns out that adding stuffing to your cookies can result in a subtle and welcome savory note. Downtown Cookie Co. tested a variety of stuffings before ending on Pepperidge Farm for their recipe. We think it has less to do with the brand and more to do with choosing a stuffing that’s loaded with herbs. The end result reminded us of an oatmeal cookie, with a hint of herbs and loaded with cranberries.

You can order a bag from Downtown Cookie Co.’s website or, if you are feeling ambitious, make a batch at home. They were kind enough to share the recipe:

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Review: Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies

Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies Review

By this time of year, you’ve probably already sampled a few pumpkin baked goods and thrown back a few of your favorite pumpkin-spiced beverages. Of all the pumpkin-spiced treats to choose from this season, you might have noticed that we have a particular weakness for pumpkin cheesecake. So when we saw Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Soft Dessert Cookies, there was nothing to do but sample.

Do these pumpkin cheesecake cookies deliver on their promise? Are they “a perfect blend of warm fall spices” and “a soft-baked, rich, melt-in-your-mouth experience?”

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