Sweet recipes to have your family falling in love

By Lilly Buffington

Thanksgiving is the time of year to spend with family, by the fire, taking walks and watching the leaves fall. Many families cook Thanksgiving dinner together, but why limit it to just the main course?

Here are four easy and festive fall desserts, including gluten-free and vegan options!

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Bread

This pumpkin bread is an easy, healthy baking project to wow your family with.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 10–12 slices

Ingredients: 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, ¾ tsp kosher salt, 2 tbsp pumpkin spice, 3 eggs, 1 cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup maple syrup, ½ cup neutral oil and 1 tbsp vanilla extract.

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8–9 inch pan with oil. Blend oats until finely ground. Add remaining ingredients into blender. Blend until it forms a smooth batter. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 40–45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature, run a knife around the edges, and flip upside down. Cut into thick pieces and enjoy!

Iced Applesauce Cookies

These applesauce cookies are topped with sweet icing, quick to bake and can be made with staple ingredients you may already have in your pantry! Additionally, they can be made vegan.

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Bake Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 20 cookies

Ingredients: 1 ½ cups flour, ½ cup old fashioned rolled oats, ½ cup light brown sugar, ¼ cup granulated cane sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp allspice, ¼ tsp nutmeg, ¼ tsp ground cloves, 1 tsp baking soda, ½ tsp kosher salt, ½ cup applesauce, 6 tbsp neutral oil, 1 egg (substitute with flax egg, applesauce or banana to make it vegan) and 2 tsp vanilla extract.

Powdered Sugar Icing: Stir together 1 cup powdered sugar and 2 tbsp milk or 2 tbsp non-dairy milk for vegans.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Separately, mix the wet ingredients. Add dry to wet and stir until a sticky dough forms. Place in a bowl to chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Make 1½ tbsp-sized balls and place them onto baking sheets. Bake 10–12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool to room temperature. Drizzle with icing and enjoy!

Homemade Apple Fritters

These fall treats are quick, delicious and packed with apples!

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Bake Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 10

Ingredients: 3–4 cups diced apples, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice, 1 ¼ cups flour, 1 tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp salt, 2 tsp baking powder, a pinch of nutmeg, a pinch of ground ginger, 1 tbsp granulated sugar, 2 large eggs at room temperature, ⅓ cup milk, 1 tbsp melted butter (cooled), 1 tsp vanilla extract and vegetable oil for frying.

Glaze: 1 cup confectioner’s sugar, ½ tsp vanilla extract and 2–5 tsp milk or water.

Directions: Place diced apples in lemon juice, set aside. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add vanilla, milk and butter, and whisk with a fork. Separately, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until a loose dough is formed. Fold in apples. Fill a frying pan with 3–4 cups of oil, heat over medium heat. Using a ¼ cup scoop, drop dough into the oil. Fry until golden brown, flip and repeat. Drizzle glaze over the cooled fritters, and you are done!

Pumpkin Brownies

These brownies are the best of both worlds: chocolate and fall, and they are perfect for a light treat to have after Thanksgiving dinner!

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 48 minutes

Yield: 9

Ingredients: ¾ cups flour, ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, ¾ cups melted butter, 1 ½ sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 3 eggs, ¼ cup cocoa powder, ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, ½ cup pumpkin puree, ½ cup chopped walnuts, ¾ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp ground cloves and ½ tsp ground nutmeg.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 baking pan. In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Using a spoon, mix in one egg at a time. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then divide batter evenly between two bowls. In the first bowl, stir in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl, stir in the pumpkin puree, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Spread half of the chocolate batter into the pan, then half of the pumpkin batter. Add dollops of remaining batter into the pan for swirling. Then, drag a kitchen knife gently through the batter. Bake for 45–48 minutes, let cool, and enjoy!

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