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Shaking up Thanksgiving desserts

Thanksgiving, the best day of the year (arguably), came and went. Hopefully you filled up on every pie imaginable, but for next year, why not try something out of the box that shares some of the classic fall flavors and adds another important ingredient, chocolate? Here are a few recipes for desserts that will make you want to save even room for dessert.




For The Cookies

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1 large egg

1 cup whole milk

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For The Filling

4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/4 cup canned solid pack pumpkin

Pinch of cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg


  • Prepare cookies: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.
  • Place butter, shortening, and sugars into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on high speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add egg; mix until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in half the flour mixture, then the milk and vanilla. Mix in remaining flour mixture.
  • Drop about 2 teaspoons dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until cookies spring back when lightly touched, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool 10 minutes. Remove cookies from baking sheets and transfer to wire racks using a spatula; let cool completely.
  • Prepare filling: In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, whip together cream cheese, butter, and confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg; whip until smooth, scraping down the bowl as necessary.
  • Pipe or spoon about 2 teaspoons filling on the flat sides of half the cookies. Sandwich with remaining cookies, keeping the flat sides down.

Or, the other way around…




2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon fine salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree

1 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/4 cup, room temperature

3/4 cup heavy cream

2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for serving


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, melted butter, and 1/4 cup heavy cream. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and whisk just until combined.
  • Drop dough in 2-tablespoon mounds, 1 inch apart, onto two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until tops of cookies spring back when gently pressed, about 14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer to wire racks and let cool completely.
  • In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat room temperature butter, 1/2 cup cream, cocoa powder, and confectioners’ sugar on medium-high until fluffy, 2 minutes. Spread filling on flat side of half the cookies; sandwich with remaining cookies. To serve, dust with confectioners’ sugar




2 medium apples

5 large marshmallows, 1 quartered, 4 halved crosswise

1 ounce Mexican chocolate, coarsely chopped

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter

2 tablespoons water


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve each apple lengthwise. Using a melon baller or grapefruit spoon, scoop out seeds, forming a small crater in center of each half.
  • Fill each crater with 1 marshmallow quarter and 1/4 of the chocolate. Cut 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces, and divide among apples, placing over chocolate.
  • Place water and remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a baking dish. Place filled apples in dish. Bake until a paring knife inserted into apples meets no resistance, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Set oven to broil. Top each apple half with 2 marshmallow halves. Broil until golden brown. Drizzle with juices.




1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk


5 large egg yolks

4 ounces white chocolate, cut into chunks


  • In a medium saucepot, heat cranberries and 1/3 cup sugar on medium-high heat until cranberries just begin to get hot. Cover pot and lower heat to medium-low. Cook 10 minutes, stirring often, until berries soften and burst. Transfer berry mixture to blender and purée. Pass cranberry purée through fine mesh strainer. The mixture should yield about 1 cup of smooth cranberry purée. Set aside to cool.
  • In large saucepot, heat together cream, milk, 1/3 cup sugar, and pinch of salt over medium-low heat until just scalded (bubbles will form around edges of cream). Meanwhile, use electric beater to beat together egg yolks and remaining 1/3 cup sugar, until mixture is pale and thick.
  • Once cream mixture is hot, pour 1/3 of it into egg yolk mixture and whisk quickly to temper egg yolks. Pour mixture back into pot with remaining cream, and cook over low heat. Use wooden spoon to constantly stir custard until thick enough to coat back of spoon, about 170°F. Pass custard through fine mesh sieve into large bowl. Whisk in cranberry mixture. Cover cranberry custard, and chill in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours.
  • Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Just before the ice cream is completely churned, add white chocolate chunks. Transfer to lidded container, and freeze for at least 4 hours. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes before scooping and serving.

Inspired by the New York Times article: “Stalwart Thanksgiving Flavors, Make Room for a Little Chocolate”

-Izzy Levenson

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Elton Vanasten #

    i always love to take ice creams and brownies for desserts. they are really yummy.;

    My internet page
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    January 13, 2013

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