November 20, 2011

Three last minute recipes for a sweet Thanksgiving

Even though I've been in Fall-mode for several weeks now, Thanksgiving has officially swooped in from nowhere for me this year. You too?

If you're in a pinch to come up with seasonal recipes for Thanksgiving weekend, here are a few ideas. I made all of them for a lovely little ladies' brunch in October but each is perfectly appropriate for the beginning of holiday season. And trust me - I'm no expert cook (I leave that to Bradd) so if these were easy enough for me, you can definitely make them too!

Buttermilk-Glazed, Baked Pumpkin Donut Holes
I spotted this Cheeky Kitchen recipe in a Philly Mag newsletter back in September. They are a great alternative to traditional pumpkin bread or muffins and healthier than fried donuts, even with the delicious buttermilk glaze. You can get the full recipe on Cheeky Kitchen BUT I have to share a few tips and critical alterations to the recipe.

For one, the donuts don't come out super pumpkiny, so toss in a few extra dashes of pumpkin pie spice. Two, don't skip the glaze. It's sweet but not too sweet and absolutely makes the dish. Third, follow the exact directions, making sure you pay attention to the steps for mixing wet and dry ingredients and immediately dipping in the glaze.

Now here's the twist: My sister-in-law thankfully attempted to make the donuts the week before my brunch and warned me that the dough comes out far too sticky to roll out and cut with a donut cutter. She suggested rolling the dough into little balls and making donut holes instead. My dough was still a bit sticky to make round balls, but the "mounds" I ended up with worked just fine, looked cool on the plate and were easier for people to pick at than full-size donuts.

Fairly basic ingredients required.
Mix all the dry, then all the wet, then combine like this and stir.
Resulting dough. Sticky but workable into mounds.
After baking and a quick dip in the glaze - delicious!

Chocolate-Dipped Apricots
Talk about a crowd pleaser! I've brought these insanely-easy-to-make treats multiple places and people rave about them. All you do is buy a 15 oz. canister of dried apricots and a bag of dark chocolate chips. Melt the chips in the microwave and dip each apricot half way into the hot chocolate before it cools. (Don't melt the whole bag at once, do it in small groups. You won't need the whole bag anyway.) Spread them out on a plastic board or tray and pop them in the fridge to harden. Take them out an hour before your party so they aren't cold when people arrive. Bam! Watch them fly off the plate.

Fall Sangria
Spotted this recipe in the book Cooking with Friends from Williams-Sonoma.The night before your Thanksgiving or related party, core and cut up 2 Bosc pears, 1 red apple and 1 green apple. Combine with one 750 ml bottle of hard apple cider, 1/2 cup of Calvados (or another apple brandy), 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 tsp of ground cinnamon. Let it sit overnight so the flavors blend together. Take it out a half hour before your party, pour in your punch bowl and add 1.5 cups of ginger ale. The book says this serves 6-8. I made 1.5 times the recipe for 12 people and had plenty. Alcohol content was just right but adjust depending on your crowd.

Voila, a fantastic little drink!

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!!! What are your favorite recipes?


Anonymous said...

Great recipe ideas. Regarding the pumpkin doughnuts, I've long wondered if various brands of canned pumpkin have varying percentages of liquid in them. Making pumpkin recipes is often hit or miss in terms of how moist the results are. Maybe a little extra flour would make the dough more workable. Definitely a recipe I want to try.

Anonymous said...

It's enlightening to read the Readers' Comments to the Cheeky Kitchen post.

Kristy said...

I haven't tried multiple brands of pumpkin so can't comment back to the first post. But I did have a hard time finding it at the grocery store, so I ended up with whatever was left on the shelf of a small local mart. May not have been the best option.

Anonymous said...

You might take a look at the npr story, "Thanksgiving Secrets: Cook's Tips From Chris Kimball." He talks about draining some of the liquid out of canned pumpkin, for a cheesecake.