3 Awesome Thanksgiving Make-Ahead Desserts
This post written by guest blogger—Sarah De la Cruz
Thanksgiving is right around the corner and my inbox and newsfeeds are full of recipe ideas! I would love to make each and every one of them, but let’s face it, there is only so much time in the day, and many of them really need to be made right before serving.
It’s easy to spend all day in the kitchen on Thanksgiving day, and run out of time to spend socializing with friends and family. I’m trying to get ahead of things this year, and I have three different desserts that can be made ahead (ranging anywhere from a few days to a month ahead!). Better yet, they are all relatively healthy, full of fruits, and—drumroll please—completely vegan!
How can you make a choice with so many options to chose from? Consider your role on Thanksgiving day. Are you a guest at a small dinner party, a guest at a large buffet, or the host of the dinner? For a buffet you might like to bring some pumpkin ginger cookies for each guest to add to the growing collection of goodies on their plate. Pumpkin gives these cookies a beautiful golden hue, and their sugar coating makes them shimmer in the light. These can be made the week before and frozen until ready to serve, or you can make them the night before so they will be ready to go on Thanksgiving day.
For a sit down, personal apple pies might be the right choice. Store bought puff pastry makes these so simple to put together. Simply cook diced apples with rum soaked raisins and fill the puff pastry, creating flaky, rich, and delicious mini pies for every guest. Better yet, make them ahead of time and freeze them until the big day.
If you’re hosting the dinner, this is the time to pull out the showstopper—Pumpkin Spiced Trifle. Trifles can be intimidating because there are several components, but each one is simple, and they can be made days in advance. On the day of the big dinner all you need to do is pop your beautiful trifle out of the refrigerator and wow your guests with this centerpiece worthy dessert!
Here’s the recipe for Pumpkin Ginger Cookies. Check back tomorrow and Saturday for the other two!
- 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 cup minced candied ginger
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1/2 cup pumpkin pureed
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling the cookies
- In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ground ginger, ground cinnamon, and minced candied ginger. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, ground flaxseed, pumpkin, oil, and lemon zest and juice.
- Add the wet ingredients, all at once, to the dry ingredients and carefully mix together with a wooden spoon. Make sure all the flour bits are moistened and well incorporated. Form dough into a disk shape and wrap well in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for an hour, or overnight (or place in freezer for about 30 minutes).
- Place a rack in the center and upper third of the oven and preheat 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Remove the dough from the fridge and use your hands to roll dough into tablespoon-sized balls. Rolls balls in granulated sugar and place on baking sheet (they don’t spread much so you can place fairly close together). Use the palm of your hand to slightly flatten the dough ball. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until just slightly browned but still slightly soft in the center—they will still be very light. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing.
- Store cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days, or freeze until you are ready to serve.
Sarah De la Cruz lives in the Seattle area with her husband and almost 2 year old son. She is a busy mom, a former art teacher, and loves to show her creativity in the kitchen. She and her son are vegan, and she makes family-friendly recipes that keeps her whole family—even her non-veg husband—satisfied! She loves seeing the surprise on her friends’ and family’s faces when she tell them that the dish they are enjoying is vegan! Check out more of her recipes at FriedDandelions.com.