NORTHWOODS COOKS: Pumpkin desserts for Thanksgiving

Pumpkin desserts are good all autumn, but especially at Thanksgiving! In addition to the traditional pumpkin pie, here are some variations to serve at family gatherings or with leftovers.

Pumpkin mousse is one tasty way to top off Thanksgiving dinner. Pumpkin dump cake, Paul's pumpkin bars and pumpkin cheesecake swirled brownies are some other options.

Pumpkin desserts are good all autumn, but especially at Thanksgiving! In addition to the traditional pumpkin pie, here are some variations to serve at family gatherings or with leftovers.

Pumpkin Dump Cake

With only three ingredients, this moist cake is from

1 box spice cake mix

15 ounces canned pumpkin


2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients with a mixer on medium. Spread into pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely and serve with whipped cream if desired.

Pumpkin Mousse

1 tablespoon butter

24 marshmallows

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/3 cup confectioners' sugar

1 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a large skillet. Stir in the marshmallows, milk, and pumpkin. Stir frequently until melted and smooth. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pumpkin pie spice. Cool completely, about 30 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 cup heavy cream in a large bowl. Use an electric mixer to beat until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into cooled pumpkin mixture. Pour mousse into ramekins or chocolate shells. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.


Paul's Pumpkin Bars

4 eggs

1-2/3 cups white sugar.


1 cup vegetable oil.

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin puree.

2 cups all-purpose flour.

2 teaspoons baking powder.

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon salt

1 (3-oz.) package cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined. Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10-by-15-inch jelly roll pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in preheated oven. Cool before frosting. To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners' sugar a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars. Cut into squares.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Swirled Brownies

8-oz. package cream cheese

1-1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1-1/2 cups chocolate chips

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. On medium speed, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 egg until blended. Add cream, pumpkin and spice and beat until fluffy. In a large bowl, microwave chocolate chips and butter until melted. Cool slightly. Whisk in remaining sugar and eggs. Whisk in flour, baking powder and salt. Spread 3/4 of batter in greased 8-inch baking pan. Top with pumpkin mixture, then remaining brownie batter. Swirl with knife. Bake 30 minutes or until set. Chill before serving.

This recipe is from Women's World magazine.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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