Our Best Thanksgiving Desserts | Midwest Living

Our Best Thanksgiving Desserts

Top off your Thanksgiving feast with our recipes for pumpkin pie, apple crisp, pecan bar cookies, praline layer cake and other holiday favorites.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Fort Wayne, Indiana, cookbook author Marcia Adams loves this standout treat. "It's so easy to prepare," she says. This is Marcia's rendition of the Southern classic chess pie: a basic dessert made with eggs, sugar, butter and a little flour.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Chocolate Cream Pie

The filling of this chocolate-crust pie is luscious, but not too rich. (Think old-fashioned chocolate pudding.) A bit of sour cream in the whipped topping balances the chocolate perfectly.

Chocolate Cream Pie

Pumpkin pie variations

Mommy's Pumpkin Pie: "This recipe is adapted from my mother's classic pumpkin pie," says Linda Hundt, owner of Sweetielicious Bakery Cafe in DeWitt, Michigan. "I added cream to make it a bit richer and orange zest for flavor." The result is a dark, mahogany pumpkin pie with ginger-cinnamon-clove spiciness (bottom pie in photo).

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie: Cream cheese strudel inspired Peter Sterk, owner of Just Pies in Westerville, Ohio, to build a pumpkin pie with a surprise cream cheese layer (top pie in photo). For the creamiest pumpkin pie, don't overbake.

Mommy's Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Pie

 

Cornmeal Pumpkin Cake with Dried Fruit Compote

Riesling-poached fruit and billowy whipped cream crown a dense spice cake inspired by ingredients from the first Thanksgiving.

Cornmeal Pumpkin Cake with Dried Fruit Compote

Triple Pear Pie with Walnut Crust

You can't mistake the fruit in this cardamom-spiced beauty. Pear nectar and dried pears complement thick slices of fresh, juicy Bosc pears.

Triple Pear Pie with Walnut Crust

Pumpkin Trifle

Pumpkin Trifle makes a spectacular ending to a Thanksgiving meal, with layers of cranberries, cake and pumpkin. Packaged ingredients such as canned pumpkin, frozen pound cake, canned cranberry sauce, candy bars and instant pudding mix speed prep time.

Pumpkin Trifle

Caramel-Pecan French Silk Pie

Caramel and pecans form a gooey base for this chocolate dream pie. Make this decadent pie at least a day ahead so it has plenty of time to chill before guests arrive. Leaf-shape pastry bits create a festive finishing touch.

Caramel-Pecan French Silk Pie

Pumpkin-Praline Layer Cake

This nutty layer cake has a whipped cream topping over a moist filling of pumpkin, brown sugar, pecans, butter and more whipping cream. "What a beauty! Very impressive and pretty easy, too," writes a website reviewer. "The praline layer is awesome!"

Pumpkin-Praline Layer Cake

Gooey Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan pie in a bite-size bar? Say no more. We got the recipe for these rich, buttery, thick cookies from Liberty Gathering Place restaurant in West Liberty, Ohio.

Gooey Pecan Pie Bars

Red Velvet Cheesecake

We took the red velvet cake that we love and gave it a creamy twist. Don't let the red color fool you: The flavor is all chocolate.

Red Velvet Cheesecake

Paradise Pumpkin Pie

A cheesecake layer and nut topping help this pumpkin pie stand out from its peers. This recipe was a winner at the Morton, Illinois, Pumpkin Festival baking competition.

Paradise Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin-Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

This make-ahead bar cookie offers an irresistible stack of flavors: sweet graham cracker crust, rich chocolaty cheesecake, spicy pumpkin cheesecake and a topping of sour cream.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

Crumb-Topped Apple Trio Pie

Crisp on top, sweetly tender inside, this quintessential Thanksgiving dessert blends tart and sweet apples—Granny Smith, Jonagold and Braeburn—with sugar and cinnamon under a brown-sugar and walnut crumb topping.

Crumb-Topped Apple Trio Pie

Chocolate Chess Pie

Fort Wayne, Indiana, cookbook author Marcia Adams loves this standout treat. "It's so easy to prepare," she says. This is Marcia's rendition of the Southern classic chess pie: a basic dessert made with eggs, sugar, butter and a little flour.

Chocolate Chess Pie

Danish Pastry Apple Bars

This recipe for Danish Pastry Apple Bars comes from an Indiana teacher. "Excellent recipe!" says a website reviewer. "It's just like apple pie in a cake pan."

Danish Pastry Apple Bars

Fantasy Chocolate Pie

Dream about all the ingredients you'd like to see in a dessert, and you'll see why we named this Fantasy Chocolate Pie. It's made with three kinds of chocolate pieces (milk chocolate, semisweet, and semisweet-and-white- chocolate swirled) -- plus coconut, pecans and almonds. For extra indulgence, top with whipped cream and chocolate curls.

Fantasy Chocolate Pie

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Sandwich Cake

A cream cheese layer and rich chocolate frosting make this pumpkin cake a crowd-pleaser. 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Sandwich Cake

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Top cake-like pumpkin cookies with a smooth brown sugar and butter frosting, then dust with cinnamon for a bite-size Thanksgiving treat.

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Pumpkin Cookies

Caramel Heavenlies

Graham crackers form the base for this bar cookie with layers of marshmallows, brown sugar, almonds and coconut. It's a holiday favorite from Georgine Simmonds of Genesee, Michigan. "I've made these cookies since 1984," Georgine says.

Caramel Heavenlies

Pumpkin Cheesecake

This creamy, cool cheesecake is lightly flavored with pumpkin and spices, perfect with a cup of coffee after your Thanksgiving meal. The recipe comes from a Seeley, Wisconsin, restaurant.

Pumpkin Cheesecake

Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights

"I love caramel, nuts and chocolate," says the Mandan, North Dakota, reader who sent this recipe to a Midwest Living cookie contest. Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights were one of the highest-rated cookies in the contest.

Fantasy Chocolate-Caramel Delights

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Apple butter lends extra sweetness and a slightly softer texture to classic pumpkin pie. The streusel topping adds crunch.

Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee

This creamy, rich dessert comes from Courtright's Restaurant in Willow Springs, Illinois. Although the restaurant puts a solid crust of caramelized sugar on its creme brulee, we made it easier for you and drizzled it on.

Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee

Cider-Spiked Apple and Pecan Tart

In this unusual fruit tart, apples are cooked in butter then arranged in a prebaked crust and brushed with jelly. The result is an edible work of art. Boiled cider enhances the distinct apply flavor. You can make your own using our recipe or buy it in specialty food stores or online.

Cider-Spiked Apple and Pecan Tart

Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Crisp

"This is a twist on a popular dish and is one of my personal favorites," says April Osburn from the Clabber Girl Bake Shop in Terre Haute, Indiana. Thinly slice the apples so they get done in the allotted baking time.

Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Crisp

Double Chocolate-Espresso Truffle Pie

Do you have a chocoholic in your family? Give them something to love with this über-rich pie. For pretty chocolate curls, warm a bar of milk chocolate in your pocket or hand, then shave with a sharp vegetable peeler.

Double Chocolate-Espresso Truffle Pie

Fresh Apple Cake

This nutty comfort cake from Sharon Buckner of Rhineland, Missouri, gets a sugary top and caramelized gooey bottom as it cooks. Don't be surprised by the thick batter; it will bake into a moist, dense cake.

Fresh Apple Cake

Almond Toffee

Milk chocolate and toasted almonds coat a crunchy toffee base. Be sure to use real butter in the toffee; with margarine, the fat separates out onto the candy's surface.

Almond Toffee

Cherry-berry pies

Red raspberries and blueberries join ruby-red cherries in Cherry Berry Berry Pie (left), a favorite from Sweetielicious Bakery Cafe in DeWitt, Michigan (just north of Lansing). The trio yields a dark, rich filling crowned with a crunchy streusel topping.

For another twist, try Cherry Apple Crumb Pie. At Grand Traverse Pie Company in Traverse City, Michigan, cooks use tart Michigan Northern Spy Apples with the local tart Montmorency cherries for this pie to satisfy both apple and cherry lovers.

Cherry Berry Berry Pie

Cherry Apple Crumb Pie

Autumn Cutouts

A hint of pumpkin adds flavor to festive Autumn Cutouts, a sugar cookie dough we tinted with orange and green paste food coloring. Our instructions show how to create marbled leaves, patchwork pumpkins and polka-dot pumpkins.

Autumn Cutouts

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