Thanksgiving 101: Desserts

When it comes to Thanksgiving, I’m a traditionalist. I want my turkey, stuffing and pecan pie the way they’ve always been, thank you very much. I actually get a little bummed out when the holiday is held anywhere but my parents’ house, as obviously my mom whips up the best spread around.

However, if Aunt Gertrude is bringing her famous pumpkin pie and your favorite niece Lucy is trying her hand at her first pecan… I suppose there’s a little room for creativity at the dessert table.

First up, a classic caramel apple makes a perfect addition to your autumnal spread. I like the variety offered by Kaitlin & Kylie’s, but I’m sure you can purchase them locally in any area of the country this time of year!

Everyone loves cupcakes. They’re perfectly portioned, and you get an ample amount of frosting with every bite. My favorite flavor at the moment? Salted caramel. It’s the perfect addition to your holiday spread, just as the tartness of the apple contrasts the sweet caramel above, the saltiness of this recipe cuts through what might otherwise be overly sweet sugary flavor. Plus the salted caramel sugar art on the top makes these a real showpiece!

And the piece de resistance? A pumkin-shaped pumkin cake of course. Read about the trials and tribulations of making that lovely Burnt Orange Silk Miringue Buttercream here, then go out and buy yourself a jar of frosting, ad a few drops of orange flavoring and viola! It’s ok to be lazy, you’ve got a turkey to worry about.

Thanksgiving 101: Décor

It probably seems a little much to totally transform your home for Thanksgiving. You’ve got some serious cooking to do, right? On the other hand, a few simple touches can go a long way and elevate an everyday family dinner to a special event.

Infuse your table with the colors (and scent!) of fall with this ombre apple centerpiece found in styled. magazine. I love the beautiful array of tones of apples available this time of year and the way they mixed and matched the napkins on this table as well—no need to go out an buy three new sets just so everyone’s is the same! (By the way—I love fabric napkins. A) They’re much prettier than paper ones. B) They make even a Tuesday night dinner feel special, restaurant-worthy even. C) That whole eco-friendly thing. Wash and re-use, people!)

Speaking of mixing and matching, are you lacking enough flatware for all your guests? Take this idea from Creature Comforts: Buy a cheap assortment of forks, spoons and knives from your local resale shop, spray paint the ends with colors that match the rest of your table and you have a funky set of silverware for any guest who comes along! I might add looking into some sort of varnish that will stick to both the paint and metal to seal the handles, as spray paint will sometimes flake off onto your hands. Best yet, send your guests home with a little something special (caramel corn perhaps?) in these easy-to-make favor bags. Simply make a tube out of paper and sew the ends in perpendicular directions. If you plan ahead and print your guests’ names on each bag, you can place one at each setting and they’ll do double duty as place cards as well!