Four easy Thanksgiving desserts

Hayley Simonson, Managing Editor

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Here are some fun recipes you can make with your friends, family, or just yourself this season. These desserts are sure to cure your sweet tooth.

Pumpkin Crunch Cake 

This cake is easily, hands-down what dreams are made of. It’s best served with vanilla ice cream or cool-whip, however, a fun fact is to store the leftovers in the fridge and eat it the next day when it’s cold. The texture of the cake becomes even better. You won’t be disappointed. 


2 cups of Pumpkin Puree

1 12 oz can evaporated milk 

4 large eggs 

½ cup of sugar

½ cup of light brown sugar, packed

2 tsp of vanilla extract

1 tbsp of pumpkin pie spice 

1 tsp of kosher salt

1 15.25oz box of yellow cake mix 

1 cup of chopped pecans 

1 cup of unsalted sweet cream butter, melted 


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 9×13 baking dish with baking spray

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, eggs, brown sugar, sugar, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice until smooth and combined

Pour batter into the baking dish and sprinkle the cake mix evenly onto the batter and lightly press the cake mix into the batter

Sprinkle the chopped pecans onto the cake mix

Drizzle the melted butter onto the cake mix

Bake in the oven for 40 minutes

Check and see if the cake is still jiggly. If so, cover with foil and bake for another 10 minutes

If the cake is set and doesn’t jiggle as much, remove from the oven and cool 

Pumpkin Pie Twists

These are so cute, and so delicious. They also make for a fun Thanksgiving Day snack or appetizer. 


1 tube of Crescent Roll Dough 

½ cup Pumpkin Puree 

¼ cup Brown Sugar

1 tbsp Maple Syrup

2 tbsp of melted butter

1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice

1 tbsp of sugar 

½ tsp Cinnamon

Whipped Cream for dipping (optional)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, maple syrup and pumpkin spice.

Unroll crescent dough on a cutting board. Cut the dough in half so you have two identical rectangles and lay them beside each other.

Evenly spread the pumpkin mixture over one of the rectangles of dough.

Place the second rectangle of dough on top of the first rectangle of dough (so the pumpkin mixture is sandwiched between them). Make sure you line up all the edges.

Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into strips approximately 3/4 inch wide.

Transfer the strips to the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Twist each strip by picking up one end and twisting it twice, then picking up the other end and twisting it another 2 or 3 times.

Brush melted butter generously over each twist.

Mix together the sugar and cinnamon then sprinkle evenly over each twist.

Bake at 375F for 8-11 minutes until golden brown.

Apple Pie Snickerdoodle Cookies

I mean come on? Apple pie and a cookie combined? Who would have thought that this could be possible? The process may seem complicated, but don’t be fooled. It’s so easy, and quite rewarding at the same time. 

Apple Filling Ingredients 

 2 medium granny smith apples, peeled, cored, and finely diced

 ¼ cup (50g) brown sugar

 1 tsp cinnamon

 1 tbsp butter, melted

Cookie dough Ingredients 

 1 cup (2 sticks, 226g) unsalted butter, softened but not melted

 1½ cups (300g) granulated sugar

 2 large eggs, room temperature

 1 tbsp vanilla extract

 2¾ cups (352g) all-purpose flour

 1 tsp cream of tartar

 1 tsp baking soda

 ¼ tsp kosher salt

Cinnamon sugar

 3 tbsp granulated sugar

  3 tsp ground cinnamon

Directions for the apple filling: 

  1. In a medium bowl combine diced apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter. Stir to combine and set aside.

Directions for the cookie dough: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare three cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand-held mixer on the highest setting) cream together butter and sugar. (about 2-3 minutes)
  3. Add in the eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Mix until fully incorporated.
  4. With the mixer on low (or off) add in the flour, cream of tartar, soda, and salt.
  5. Using a 1-tablespoon scoop, scoop out rounded balls. Make a well in the center and place a heaping teaspoon of the apple mixture inside. (Avoid the liquid in the bowl.) Form the rest of the cookie around the apple filling and place them close together on one of the cookie sheets.

Directions for the cinnamon sugar: 

  1. Mix the 3 tablespoons of sugar and the cinnamon in a wide bowl. I like to use a fork but a small whisk also works.

Directions to assemble it all:

  1. Roll balls of dough in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  2. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Carefully remove immediately from baking sheets and place on a cooling rack.

Caramel Apples

What is the fall season without caramel apples? They are an absolute classic. Despite what you may think, they are not as intimidating as they seem to be. This is a super fun social activity to do with others as it allows you to get creative with all the toppings. 


8–9 cold apples

1 and 3/4 cups (420ml) heavy cream

1 cup (240ml) light corn syrup

2 cups (400g) packed light or dark brown sugar

1/4 cup (4 Tablespoons; 60g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract


  • Prep the apples: Rinse the apples with water, then wipe completely dry. Removing the slippery waxy coating will help the caramel seal to the apple. Remove the apple stem and insert a caramel apple stick about 3/4 down into the apple.
  • Line a large baking sheet with a silicone baking mat (preferred) or grease the pan with butter. Caramel usually sticks to parchment or wax paper.
  • Make the caramel: Combine the heavy cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a 3-quart heavy-duty saucepan over medium heat. Do not turn the temperature up or down– keep at medium the entire time the caramel cooks. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the butter is melted. Once melted, brush down the sides of the pan with a water-moistened pastry brush and attach a candy thermometer to the pan, making sure the bulb is not touching the bottom of the pan (as you’ll get an inaccurate reading).
  • Without stirring, let the mixture cook and bubble until it reaches 235°F (113°C). Some readers have been cooking to 240°F (116°C) and saying the caramel sticks much better to the apples that way. Stick with anywhere between 235°F – 240°F. Reaching this temperature should take about 15 – 20 minutes, though don’t use time as your guide because it depends on your stove. Don’t be alarmed if your caramel is taking longer, just use the candy thermometer as your guide. The temperature will heat up slowly, then move quickly, so keep your eye on the pot. Once at 235°F – 240°F, remove caramel from heat and stir in the vanilla. Avoid over-stirring which can create air bubbles in the caramel (and then on the apple). Allow caramel to cool for 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened. If caramel is too thin to coat apples, let it cool and thicken for 5-10 minutes longer.
  • Dip the apples: Holding the caramel apple stick, dip the apple into the warm caramel, tilting the pot as needed to coat all sides of the apple. Lift the apple up and swirl it around or gently tap it against the side of the pot to let excess caramel drip off. Place the coated apple on a prepared pan. Repeat with remaining apples. Enjoy immediately or allow caramel to set, about 45-60 minutes. If desired, you can add toppings. Immediately after coating in caramel and before the caramel sets, roll the caramel dipped apples in finely chopped nuts, toffee pieces, mini M&Ms, sprinkles, or coconut. You can even drizzle with melted chocolate or white chocolate, too.
  • Loosely cover and store the leftover dipped apples in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.


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