Two Non-Pie Thanksgiving Desserts

18 Nov

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

My kids don’t like pie. I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, we had pie on Thanksgiving Day—always sweet potato and pecan. (And if you’ve never had sweet potato pie, imagine pumpkin pie, only much, much better.) But alas, my kids won’t eat it. And my husband’s not real keen on it, either.

So for a few years, I’ve been making a pumpkin roll for Thanksgiving. This year, since my mother is abandoning us to spend Thanksgiving with my sister in Utah (I already miss her, and not just because she usually makes about half the food, including at least one dessert) I’m baking a second dessert, one recently discovered and immediately cherished.

So for your enjoyment, two awesome non-pie Thanksgiving dessert recipes.

Pumpkin Cake Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

Serves 8 to 10

1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
6 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup powdered sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15×10 inch jelly roll pan. Line pan with waxed paper. (Don’t skip this step!) Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle clean towel larger than the pan with plenty of powdered sugar and set aside.

Combine flour, powder, soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt in a small bowl. In another bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts, if desired.

Bake 13-15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched.

Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake and towel together, narrow end to narrow end. Cool, rolled up, on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in all mixer until smooth. Carefully unroll cake and remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake and re-roll it. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour (can be refrigerated a day or two.) Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

Apple Pie Bars with Caramel Drizzle

Makes 12-16 bars

Apple Pie Bar with Caramel Drizzle

Apple Pie Bars with Caramel Drizzle

1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour


2 large, tart apples (I use Granny Smith), peeled and thinly sliced (1/4 -1/8 inch thick)
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup butter, cold and cubed
Smucker’s Simple Delight Salted Caramel or other caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 300°.

Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper. Be sure to leave an overhang on two sides, which will make it easier to remove and slice the bars later.

To make the crust, mix the butter, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Add the flour and stir until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg until all of the apples are evenly coated.

To make the topping, whisk the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two forks (I admit it—I used my hands) until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.

After the shortbread is removed from the oven, turn the oven to 350°F. Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. Sprinkle the apple layer with streusel and bake for 30–35 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.

Let it cool at least 20 minutes at room temperature, then in the fridge for at least 2 hours. With the foil or parchment overhang, lift the bars out of the pan and cut into bars. Place them on a pretty serving dish, if you like, and drizzle some room temperature salted caramel sauce on top of each. (Tip: Put the caramel sauce in a squeeze bottle. If you don’t have a squeeze bottle, use a zipper bag and snip the corner and squeeze the sauce out. This will help you to drizzle it with style.)

*recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction,

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Robin Patchen lives in Edmond, Oklahoma, with her husband and three teenagers. Her third book, Finding Amanda, released in April, and its FREE prequel, Chasing Amanda, released in July. When Robin isn’t writing or caring for her family, she works as a freelance editor at Robin’s Red Pen, where she specializes in Christian fiction. She is one of the contributing editors to Five Editors Tackle the 12 Fatal Flaws of Fiction–a new self-editing resource for novelists, available for preorder now. Read excerpts and find out more at her website,


Posted by on November 18, 2015 in Holiday Greeting, Recipe, Robin Patchen


2 responses to “Two Non-Pie Thanksgiving Desserts

  1. Candice Sue Patterson

    November 18, 2015 at 8:07 am

    These both look delicious! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jericha Kingston

    November 19, 2015 at 8:24 am

    Ohh, Robin, these look SO good! I love new recipes, so thanks for this!



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