Need a dessert for Thanksgiving? Here’s what I made for my children’s table Thanksgiving shoot. I did all the baking, so you know it was easy!

  • Apple Cake
  • Pumpkin Pie Tartlets
  • Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Bars
  • Pecan Pie

Easy but impressive Thanksgiving desserts by The Party Teacher

Here’s an overhead view of the dessert table so you can see how I arranged everything. The other thing you’ll see is that while these desserts all come out kind of brown (not great planning on my part!), I’ve added color to the table with faux pumpkins, printables and the ribbon wreath.

If you want to see the whole party, check out this post.

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The first dessert is my Grandma’s apple cake. It is so moist and needs no frosting. (It’s also great for breakfast with a cup of coffee or hot apple cider.)

Bright and Colorful Thanksgiving Children's Table by The Party Teacher-45

Grandma’s Fresh Apple Cake

Mix and beat until smooth:

  • 1 ¼ cup Wesson oil
  • 2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs

Stir into above mixture:

  • 3 cups chopped apples (about 3 apples) – I use Granny Smith (the green ones)
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Sift together:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Stir flour mixture into batter in four or five portions. The batter is extremely thick and you may find it difficult to use a hand mixer except for beating the eggs, sugar and oil.

Spoon batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Let cool thoroughly before removing from pan. This is a rich, moist cake and needs no frosting.

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Grandma’s Pie Crust

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter-flavor Crisco
  • ¼ cup boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Sift flour and salt. Blend with Crisco until small lumps appear. Poke holes in dry ingredients and add water and milk. Mix until dough forms a ball and sides of bowl are clean. Quickly knead dough slightly and divide in half. Roll out each half between sheets of lightly floured wax paper. Makes two pie crusts.

Truth telling time: For our shoot, I used Pillsbury Pie Crust — the kind in the red package that you unroll. Easy peasy.

Pecan Pie

I have tried a lot — I mean a lot — of pecan pie recipes over the years, but I think I’ve finally settled on The Pioneer Woman’s pecan pie. I do use dark Karo Syrup instead of light. And I use pecan halves instead of chopped pecans. And it freaks me out a little to bake the pie all at one temp instead of something higher for the first 15 minutes. But you know, just do what Ree tells you.

Now my other favorite version is Jack Daniels Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie. You make the same recipe, but throw in a quarter cup of JD and a half cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. (Or, follow this recipe.) Just don’t do what I did and bring it to Thanksgiving and serve it to your teetotallng Southern Baptist mother-in-law. Whoops. (More for me!!)

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Pumpkin Pie or Tartlets

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 pound can of pumpkin (two cups)
  • 1 2/3 cup (13 ounce can) evaporated milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • Unbaked pie crust

Mix dry ingredients. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Pour into unbaked 10-inch pie shell.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and continue baking for 40 minutes or until done.

To make tarts:

For our shoot, I wanted to make mini pies. I used this tart pan from Chicago Metallic (two of them, actually) and it worked out great. The removable bottom made it very easy to take the pies out of the pan. They also cooked very evenly. I baked these for 25 – 30 minutes, but you might want to check your pies at 20 minutes. If you can insert a knife into the center of a tart and it comes out clean, it’s done.

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Chocolate Chip Salted Caramel Bars

I made these from a Two Peas & Their Pod recipe. They. are. so. good. You should go buy the ingredients now.

And here’s my little stinker. Can’t you tell she’s a handful after she’s been sugared up? All. my. fault.

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