Last-Minute Holiday Dessert Recipes
Sticky Toffee Pudding with Maple Sauce
This is a healthier version of the gooey-rich sticky toffee pudding recipe served in the winter at Joanne Chang's Asian restaurant Myers+Chang in Boston. Lightly sweetened with maple syrup, the cake is chock-full of rich, naturally sweet dates. Adapted from Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang (Chronicle Books, 2015).
Pumpkin Spice Pudding
The key to making this healthy, smooth pudding is constant slow whisking. A staff favorite, this recipe is one you'll want to pin for an easy make-ahead dessert.
Vanilla Candy Cane Peppermint Bars
These festive bars are easy to make for a cookie swap or holiday treats for friends and family.
Lemon Poppy Seed Chiffon Cake
Beating the egg whites separately and then folding them into the batter gives this chiffon cake recipe great height, while the egg yolks make this healthy cake recipe rich and tender. Be sure to use a completely clean bowl and whisk when beating the whites-if the whites come in contact with any fat they won't whip up airy and light.
Cranberry Upside-Down Cake
This rustic cake is a delicious alternative to pie and uses one of the tastiest fruits of the fall harvest--cranberries. The basic recipe is very versatile and can be made with apples, pears, peaches, plums or any full-flavored, slightly acidic fruit. Just arrange the fruit in the skillet before you pour the batter over it. The cake is best served warm; if you can, put it in the oven just before you sit down to dinner. Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.
Pumpkin Coconut Tart
Dark rum, coconut milk, cinnamon, ginger and cloves give this pumpkin tart a complex flavor that matches perfectly with a cup of chai laced with milk.
Pomegranate Poached Pears
Pears are simmered in a blend of tart pomegranate juice and sweet dessert wine with gorgeous garnet-red results. The pears are served with the reduced poaching liquid and a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. A striking finale to any festive meal, garnish the pears with toasted slivered almonds and a touch of tangy Greek yogurt.
Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie
While pumpkin pie deserves respect as a Thanksgiving icon, it's fun to shake up tradition. Surprise your family and friends with a frozen pie this year--it just might become one of their holiday favorites. No need to let them know how easy it is.
Peppermint Mocha Chocolate Bark
With just a few simple steps, you can transform plain chocolate into a divine treat with this chocolate bark recipe. We stir chopped peppermint candies and chocolate-covered espresso beans into this chocolate bark, which is perfect for a gift.
Chocolate Coconut Macaroons
These airy coconut cookies get an upgrade with a simple dark chocolate drizzle in this healthy dessert recipe.
Riesling Baked Pears
Here's an elegant yet simple twist on the autumn classic. Pears are oven-poached in Riesling wine, which is known for its floral accents and aromas and hints of honey and pear. Serve this dessert with lightly sweetened ricotta cheese. Delicious hot, room temperature or chilled.
Glazed Chocolate-Pumpkin Bundt Cake
You don't have to have pumpkin pie to still enjoy pumpkin and spice in a Thanksgiving dessert. Pumpkin helps keep this cake tender and moist while, delicate spices add the classic Thanksgiving flavors.
Vanilla-Kirsch Panna Cotta with Cherry Compote
These panna cottas (Italian for cooked cream) are smooth, light and mild molded desserts set off by a bright, intensely flavored cherry compote. The recipe calls for a vanilla bean, which yields the best flavor, but you can use extra vanilla extract instead; just be sure it's top quality. The compote is also delicious spooned over slices of angel food cake or scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt. Recipe by Nancy Baggett for EatingWell.
Italian Hazelnut Cookies
These crispy cookies are made with Piedmontese staples--hazelnuts and eggs--and called Brutti Ma Buoni: literally, “Ugly But Good.” But they are really more plain-looking than “ugly,” and pack a powerful, sweet, nutty burst of flavor, making them welcome at any table.
Maple-Pumpkin Custards with Crystallized Ginger
A Thanksgiving meal wouldn't be complete without pumpkin, and here in Vermont we wouldn't dream of excluding our beloved maple syrup. We've combined the two in these elegant custards, featuring the best part of a pumpkin pie and saving calories for a luscious finish of real whipped cream. If you can find it, use Grade B dark amber syrup to get the best maple flavor.
Caramelized Spiced Pears
Serve these caramelized pear slices over ice cream, stir into plain yogurt or enjoy as a topping for pancakes or waffles. Brown-skinned Bosc pears hold their shape during cooking, but any variety of pears tastes delicious.
Brown Sugar Broiled Grapefruit
Grapefruit for dessert? Why not! In this broiled grapefruit recipe, grapefruit halves are topped with spiced brown sugar, caramelized under the broiler then topped with a dollop of vanilla-infused whipped cream.
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies with Cranberries & White Chocolate
Our classic oatmeal cookie recipe gets a flavor twist with coconut, white chocolate chips (which have a more delicate flavor than milk or dark chocolate) and tart dried cranberries. The result is a chewy, sweet treat that's sure to leave you coming back for more.
Healthy Dark Chocolate "Puppy Chow"
Crunchy, sweet, salty ... healthy?! Yes, indeed. We gave this classic sweet treat, also called muddy buddies, a grown-up makeover using whole-grain cereal and dark chocolate. Dig in!