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article imageDessert Edition: Spice up your Thanksgiving menu this year

By Daniel Taibleson     Oct 15, 2013 in Food
Six in 10 Americans usually bring dessert to a Thanksgiving meal when dining as guests, Baskin-Robbins has found. Yummy! But when was the last time you had something new for dessert on Thanksgiving?
With pumpkin pie being arguably the most popular of desserts for this fall celebration ever since it was first introduced in New England during the 19th century, isn't it time to spice things up a bit?
Year after year, the Thanksgiving menu rarely changes, but when it comes to the dessert, this is where you can really get creative and show some originality.
Cranberry/Blackberry/Blueberry Cobbler
Cranberry sauce isn’t the only thing cranberries are good for. This North American-native fruit is packed with antioxidants and can be used in a variety of dishes, including fabulous desserts such as this triple-berry cobbler recipe from Taste of Home.
Half-cup of sugar
Three tablespoons of cornstarch
One-quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon
One cup of water
One cup each of fresh or frozen (thawed) cranberries, blueberries and blackberries
For the topping:
One-quarter cup of sugar
Two tablespoons of softened butter
One-third cup of nonfat milk
One-quarter teaspoon of vanilla extract
Two-thirds cup of all-purpose flour
Three-quarters teaspoon of baking powder
One-quarter teaspoon of salt
To make, first preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then, blend the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and water in a small, heavy saucepan until smooth. Bring the mix to a boil and cook, stirring for two minutes until it thickens. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the berries. Place the mixture into an 8-inch square baking dish that’s been coated with cooking spray.
To create the topping, beat the sugar and butter together in a small bowl until crumbly. Beat in the milk and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and salt, then stir it into the butter mixture just until blended. Using a tablespoon, drop the topping over the fruit mixture.
Place in a preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until filling is bubbly, and a toothpick inserted into the topping comes out clean.
Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
Photo by Ken Mayer via Wikimedia Commons
If you can’t resist the pumpkin, consider using it in a cheesecake recipe rather than the more traditional pie. This is one of the top-rated Kraft Thanksgiving desserts, and it’s really easy to make, too.
Two 8-ounce packages of softened Philadelphia Fat-Free Cream Cheese
Half-cup of sugar
One-half teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
Two eggs
One-half cup canned pumpkin
One-quarter teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Dash of ground nutmeg
One-third cup of Honey Maid Graham Cracker Crumbs
One-half cup of thawed Cool Whip Sugar-Free Whipped Topping.
To make, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until well-blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, just until blended. Remove one cup of the batter, and place into a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the pumpkin and spices.
Next, spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray, and sprinkle the bottom with the graham cracker crumbs. Top with layers of plain and pumpkin batters, and place into the oven. Bake for 40 minutes or until the center is almost set. Cool completely in the refrigerating for three hours. When ready, top with Cool Whip and serve.
Cherry Kuchen Bars
Photo by Benson Kua via Flickr
Cherries are also popular at Thanksgiving, but most often used for pies. This Better Homes and Gardens bar recipe is fairly simple to make, filled with tart cherries and balanced with the sweet taste of the frosting.
One-half cup of softened butter
One-half cup shortening
One and three-quarters cup sugar
One and a half teaspoons baking powder
One-half teaspoon salt
Three eggs
One teaspoon vanilla
Three cups all-purpose flour
One 21-ounce can of cherry pie filling
Make powdered sugar icing
To make, first pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Then, beat the butter and shortening in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer for 30 seconds on medium speed. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat until combined while scraping the sides of the bowl periodically. Next, beat in the eggs and vanilla until well-mixed, followed by beating in as much of the flour as possible with the mixer. Use a wooden spoon to stir in any remaining flour, and put one and a half cups of the dough aside. Spread the remaining dough in the bottom of an ungreased 15 X 10 X 1-inch baking pan.
Place into the oven, and bake for 12 minutes. Remove and spread the pie filling over the crust in the pan. Spoon the reserved dough into small mounds on top of the filling. Bake for another 30 minutes, or until the top is light brown. Remove and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Drizzle the top with powdered sugar icing as per the directions below, and cool completely. Cut into bars to serve.
To make the icing, stir together one and a half cups powdered sugar, one-quarter teaspoon vanilla, and three to four teaspoons of milk (or enough to make a smooth icing) in a small bowl.
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