Fun and Festive Thanksgiving Desserts

Faith Watz, Staff Writter

Although holiday traditions may need to be altered this year, and MHS students need to be distanced from loved ones, one thing that can connect everyone is good food.


When Thanksgiving is mentioned, many people immediately think of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. For many Minnesotans, Thanksgiving is a food-centered holiday. Many have their tried and true Thanksgiving recipes that are used year after year. 


If one’s Thanksgiving routine menu needs some change, here are some fun desserts to bring something new and different to the table this year. 


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread


Source: The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen 



1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1 c. canned pure pumpkin

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c. packed brown sugar

2 large eggs

2 tbsp. milk

2 tsp. grated fresh ginger

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1/2 c. plus 2 tbsp. bittersweet chocolate chips



  • 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat 81/2- by 4 1/2-in. loaf pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment, leaving an overhang on the two long sides; lightly coat paper.
  • 2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
  • 3. Transfer melted butter to a large bowl and whisk in pumpkin and sugars (this will help cool it down if it is still hot). Whisk in eggs, milk, ginger and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix to combine; fold in 1/2 cup chocolate chips.
  • 4. Transfer mixture to prepared pan, scatter remaining 2 Tbsp chips on top and bake until a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean, 45 to 55 minutes.
  • 5. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before using parchment overhangs to transfer bread to the rack to cool completely.



I love this recipe! It was fairly simple and so delicious. This bread could also be easily customized. Bakers could add nuts or take out the chocolate chips, and they could also throw butter or whipped cream on top.

  I had Jacqueline Pezhman, ‘23, try this pumpkin bread and she said, “It’s very good, it has a really nice texture and flavor.”

 I also love the versatility of this recipe. You could eat it for breakfast or serve it as an appetizer or dessert at a gathering.


Helpful notes: 

I used a KitchenAid mixer, and it really helped speed up the prep time–using any form of electric mixer would be useful, if possible. I also recommend grating the ginger beforehand; it will save bakers a lot of time.


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes


Source: The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen




For the cupcakes:

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 c. pure pumpkin

2 tbsp. molasses (not blackstrap)

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

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

3/4 c. granulated sugar

2 large eggs


For the cream cheese frosting:

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature

2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract




  • 1. Heat oven to 350°F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. 
  • 2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, combine pumpkin, molasses, and vanilla.
  • 3. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in eggs, one at a time. Then alternately add flour and pumpkin mixture, beating until just combined.
  • 4. Divide batter among muffin-pan cups (heaping 1/4 cup each) and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool for 5 minutes before removing cupcakes from the pan to cool completely. 
  • 5. Make Cream Cheese Frosting: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, and butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy. To serve, frost cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Yields 12



This recipe was my favorite of the three. These cupcakes are so delicious! The cream cheese frosting is one of the best ones I’ve had. 


Helpful Hints: 

For me, these cooked faster than expected. I would recommend starting by baking them for 15-20 minutes and then adding time if necessary. Using a piping bag to frost the cupcakes would be useful, but, if bakersa don’t have the supplies to do so, using a knife works just fine.


Apple Hand Pies

Source: Butter with a Side of Bread


1 pkg pie crust mix

1 can apple pie filling

¼ cup melted butter

1 ½ cup powdered sugar

3 tsp milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon and sugar for garnish



  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Pour apple pie filling onto a plate and cut up each apple slice into small chunks
  3. Follow instructions for pie crust mix (each is a little different)
  4. Roll pie crust out thin, about ¼ an inch
  5. Use a cookie cutter to cut out circles (I recommend a 4-inch cookie cutter)
  6. Spoon out a small amount of pie filling into each circle
  7. Carefully, fold the circle pie crust in half, use a fork to crimp the edges. Cut two slits in the top of the pie crust to allow steam to escape. Repeat with remaining circle pie crusts. Gather up the pie crust scraps and repeat.
  8. When all of the hand pies have been made, bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  9. Let cool a few minutes before covering with glaze.
  10. For the Glaze: Mix the butter, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla together until smooth using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  11. Dip and roll the hand pies in the glaze, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar if desired.
  12. Let cool before serving.


 I liked this one. I made these last year with my cousins around Christmas time. We had so much fun. We made all different shapes and sizes and had mini contests to see who could make the best one. I’m not the biggest fan of pie, but these were so much fun to make, especially with loved ones.

Helpful hints: 

Once again, a KitchenAid or some form of mixer is really useful. Don’t feel attached to the circle shape; bakers could use practically any cookie cutter to make some unique and creative pies! Bakers could also opt to make a flavor other than apple; just use the same amount of desired filling that the recipe calls for.

After trying all these recipes I can say I thoroughly enjoyed all three of them. I hope you’ll give some of these a try this year. Happy Thanksgiving!