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Forget the Turkey, Start Thanksgiving with Dessert

November 19, 2012

Only four days until Thanksgiving … and I have yet to decide on which dessert to make. Maybe you’re having this problem too. I want to share with you a few of my classic Thanksgiving dessert recipes and two new dishes I tested this year. The decided to try Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices from the new Smitten Kitchen cookbook. Wow, these were so good! And not too sweet either.

Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices


2 sticks of unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

3 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1/8 tsp. allspice

1 egg


1/2 tsp. grated orange zest

1 1/2 Tbsp. orange juice

3 cups fresh cranberries

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Preheat oven to 375-degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together the Crumble dry ingredients. Add the diced butter and cut into mixture with a pastry cutter or knives. Add egg. The mixture will be crumbly – that’s okay!  Spread half of the Crumble mixture on the bottom of the baking dish and set aside.

In a bowl of a food processor or blender, briefly pulse the filling ingredients until the berries are coarsely chopped but not pureed. Spread the filling over the crumb base. Sprinkle the remaining crumbs evenly over the cranberry mixture. Bake f0r 30 – 35 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

I also tried these delicious Pumpkin Snickerdoodles, which I highly recommend if you’re a snickerdoodle or pumpkin fan.

I made the following two pumpkin desserts the last few years. I haven’t decided if I’ll make them again this year. But they were definitely worth it! Here’s my classic from last year, Pumpkin Praline Dessert …

And Barefoot Contessa’s Pumpkin Roulade with Ginger Buttercream is always worth making …

Happy Thanksgiving!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 19, 2012 2:13 am

    Looks delicious!

  2. November 19, 2012 3:26 am

    I’m breaking from tradition this year. Instead of 3 pies- apple, pumpkin, and pecan, I’m making the pecan pie and then pumpkin spice muffins- small enough for little hands, and one of my daughters-in law will make “something” apple– less work than all that pie dough making and rolling.
    Have a happy and delicious Thanksgiving!

  3. November 19, 2012 4:40 am

    These look AMAZING and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Smitten Kitchen cookbook! As for me, I am sticking with plain ol’ pumpkin pie. I’m a traditionalist and it’s my daughter’s favorite… BUT nothing says I need to be a traditionalist the day after 🙂

  4. November 19, 2012 6:12 am

    Wow, Leah. YUM. I’m all for starting Thanksgiving with dessert (and every meal, pretty much). Thanks for sharing. But where’s the chocolate-related dessert? Isn’t THE definition of dessert “chocolate”? 😉 Happy Turkey Day.

  5. November 19, 2012 6:19 am

    The all sound amazing. I’m with Melissa, though. I have a hard time imagining dessert without chocolate, even at Thanksgiving. Have a happy one!

  6. Kim Le Piane permalink
    November 19, 2012 9:20 am

    Those all look wonderful! I am thinking I want to add a cranberry dessert this Thanksgiving. Your Cranberry Crumb Bars may just fill the bill. Thank you for these fresh ideas.

  7. November 19, 2012 10:37 am

    Holy moly Leah! These pictures look fabulous – especially the cranberry thing as well as the pumpkin goodies. You sure you don’t want to fix desert as well as your delicious cream corn and mashed potatoes?! You’re such a great cook 🙂

  8. November 20, 2012 6:19 am

    I am definitely going to try the cranberry squares. Thank you for sharing your recipes and happy Thanksgiving!

  9. November 20, 2012 3:30 pm

    My mouth is watering! Don’t DO this to me when I’m on a diet 😉


  10. November 20, 2012 9:29 pm

    Gorgeous pictures. But so much work!

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