Foodie Friday: Thanksgiving Desserts

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake
Via Baked by Rachel

Have you started planning your Thanksgiving Day menu?  What's the plan for dessert?  Pies are a traditional dessert pick and they are delicious.  If you are looking for something different this year, we have you covered.  We found some delicious dessert recipes for Thanksgiving or anytime this fall.  Enjoy!

Apple-Cream Cheese Bundt Cake

Cream Cheese Filling
1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup finely chopped pecans (plus extra for garnish, optional)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups peeled and finely chopped Gala apples (about 2-3 medium apples)

Praline Frosting
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To make the filling: Add the cream cheese, butter and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed until well combined and smooth. Add the egg, flour and vanilla and continue beating just until incorporated. Set aside.

Place the pecans on a rimmed baking sheet and toaste in the oven for 8-10 minutes, or just until fragrant. Remove the pan to a wire rack.

In a large bowl, whisk the flour, both sugars, the cinnamon, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and allspice together. Add the eggs, oil, applesauce and vanilla and mix just until combined (I started with a whisk and switched to a rubber spatula). Fold in the toasted pecans and chopped apples until distributed throughout the batter.

Spoon about 1/2 to 2/3 of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Top evenly with the cream cheese filling, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge of the pan (I found this tricky, just do the best you can). Use a thin paring knife to swirl the cream cheese filling with the cake batter just a few times - less is more. Top the filling with the remaining cake batter.

Bake for 60-75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely (at least 2 hours).

To make the frosting: Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a 2-qt saucepan. Set over medium heat, and bring to a boil, whisking almost constantly. Boil for 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Whisk in the confectioners' sugar, a little at a time, until it is completely incorporated and the frosting is smooth. Gently stir the frosting until it starts to thicken, then pour it over the cooled cake. (The frosting will set up quickly, so don't make it in advance - wait until the cake has cooled completely.) Garnish with extra pecans, if desired.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Via Roxana's Home Baking

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours
Yield: 24 bars

1 1/2 cups graham crackers crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter 

4 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened 
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 cup (8 oz) canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

whipped cream
pumpkin pie spice

Heat oven to 300°F.

Line a 13x9" baking pan with parchment paper leaving about 1 inch of paper hanging on the sides.

In a medium size bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter.
With your fingers press the crust on the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside while making the filling.

In the mixing bowl of your stand-up mixer, add the cream cheese and sugar. With the paddle attachment on, beat on low speed until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended.  Spoon half of the mixture over the crust and spread evenly.

To the remaining cream cheese mixture add the pumpkin puree and pumpkin pie spice.
With a wire whisk stir until smooth. Carefully, spoon over mixture in pan.

Bake the cheesecake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until just set. Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar allowing the cheesecake to slowly cool down for about 1 hour or so.

Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cutting into bars.

Top each bar with whipped cream and a dust of pumpkin pie spice.

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies
Via Tator Tots and Jello

Brown Sugar Pecan Cookies
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
Brown sugar frosting (see below)
Pecan halves (or chopped pecans) for topping

Note: The original recipe has you rolling the dough into 1-inch balls, which will give you about 5 dozen cookies. This size is perfect for placing a cute little pecan half on top. You can roll and bake larger cookies just adjust baking time accordingly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter at medium speed until creamy. Add sugars and beat until smooth. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.

In a separate bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix well. Stir in chopped pecans. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. (If making larger cookies, add an extra 1 to 2 minutes to baking time.) Cool 2 minutes on pan and remove to wire racks. Cool completely before frosting.

To frost, spread about 1 tsp of the brown sugar frosting on each cookie (more for larger cookies) and top with a pecan half or more chopped pecans. Yields approximately 5 dozen.

Brown Sugar Frosting
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup half and half
1 T unsalted butter
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Combine brown sugar and half and half in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 4 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in butter. Add 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar and beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Consistency will seem thin but will thicken as it cools. If frosting seems too thin, add enough of the remaining powdered sugar to desired consistency.

Frosting Note: Because this brown sugar frosting thickens rather quickly, don’t start it until you’re ready to frost the cookies. If it starts to set, just give it a nice stir with your spatula.

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