4 Desserts for Everyone at the Thanksgiving Table

  • Copy by: Allyson Fulcher
  • Contributing Food Editor: Jenna Kincaid

Cooking Thanksgiving dinner can be daunting. Whether it’s the number of dishes or the audience you are trying to please, what should be a fun day can easily turn into an incredibly stressful one. That’s why we turned to Jenna Kincaid, blogger and baker behind Grapefruit & Gold, who created four dessert dishes that will please any palate or any diner, no matter their dietary restrictions. Her delicious recipes range from gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, and vegan. Gather your baking supplies and follow these easy instructions for stress-free and delectable results.


Yield: About 36 mini-doughnuts

For the doughnuts:

1½ c. gluten-free all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ginger
½ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. allspice 
1/3 c. granulated sugar
4 tsp. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
¾ c. buttermilk

For the cinnamon sugar coat:
1 c. granulated sugar
2-3 tsp. cinnamon
½ c. unsalted butter, melted

For the raspberry reduction:
6 oz. fresh raspberries
½ c. granulated sugar

For the doughnuts:

1. Spray a mini-doughnut pan with non-stick cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Begin by mixing together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and all of the spices in a large bowl. Use a whisk to incorporate the ingredients well.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl using a handheld mixer) cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes.)
4. Reduce the speed and add the egg. Return to medium speed and mix until the egg has been well incorporated.
5. Reduce the speed to low and add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and then add half of the buttermilk. Repeat until all of the ingredients are mixed. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides with a spatula to make sure that the batter is completely incorporated. 
6. The easiest way to fill your doughnut pan is to pour the patter into a pastry bag and pipe the batter into the pan. However, small scoops will work as well. Fill the molds about 2/3 of the way full.
7. Bake the doughnuts for 8-10 minutes or until they are springy and lightly brown. 
8. Cool the doughnuts in the pan for 10 minutes and then empty them onto a wire rack to let them completely cool. 

For the cinnamon sugar coat:
1. Once the doughnuts are completely cool, you can begin to coat them. Melt the butter in a mug or a small bowl that makes for easy dipping. 
2. Mix together the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.
3. Dip each doughnut in the melted butter and then place in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat, turning it over and letting the butter soak up the sugar as needed.

For the raspberry reduction:
1. In a medium saucepan, add the raspberries and sugar. 
2. Cook over low heat, using a rubber spatula to gently smash the berries. 
3. Cook until the mixture thickens and becomes jam like (about 10-15 minutes.)


For the pie crust:
1 c. rolled oats
1 c. all-purpose flour
½ c. vegan butter, melted (such as EarthBalance)
¼ c. brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

For the filling:
5 & ½ c. peeled and thinly sliced apples (about 4-5 large apples)
¼ c. granulated sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tblsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt

For the oatmeal crumble:
½ c. brown sugar
½ c. all-purpose flour
½ c. rolled oats
½ c. vegan butter, cold and cut into cubes (such as EarthBalance)

For the vegan caramel:
1, 15 oz. can coconut cream
1 c. brown sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the crust:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. 
2. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar and salt.
3. Pour in the melted butter and mix until the mixture comes together (it can be crumbly.) 
4. Press the mixture into an ungreased pie pan, spreading evenly on the sides and across the bottom. 
5. Bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. 
6. Let cool completely.

For the filling:
1. In a large mixing bowl, toss the chopped apples in the sugar, cinnamon, flour, and salt until coated.
2. Pour the filling into the pre-baked piecrust.
3. Make the oatmeal crumble.

For the oatmeal crumble:
1. Mix the sugar, flour, and oats together in a medium-sized bowl. 
2. Add the cubed, cold butter and using a pastry blender or fork blend the butter into the flour mixture until it is crumbly. 
3. Pour the crumble over the pie filling.
4. Bake the pie for 20-30 minutes and then cover with aluminum foil. Bake another 20 minutes until it is golden brown and tender. 

For the vegan caramel:
1. While the pie is baking, combine the coconut cream and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. (The coconut cream may have separated in the can, simple stir together once opened or shake the can before opening.)
2. Bring to a low boil, stirring very often. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens (about 20-25 minutes)
3. Once thick, remove from heat and let cool for 10-20 minutes. 
4. Spread the caramel over the baked pie.


Yield: About 12 bon bons

1 15 oz. can coconut cream, just the cream
2 c. shredded coconut
1½ c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 package vegan baking chocolate (or unsweetened dark chocolate if not vegan)
Chopped almonds for garnish, optional

1. Start by lining a cookie sheet with wax paper. 
2. You want to have a can of coconut cream that has not been shaken at all. Open the can and scoop out the solid part of the cream, leaving the watery part at the bottom. 
3. In a medium sized bowl, combine the shredded coconut and powdered sugar and mix together until well incorporated. Stir in the coconut cream and vanilla. The mixture should be thick and sticky (if the mixture doesn’t seem thick enough, add some more powdered sugar until you can form the bon bons.) 
4. Using your hands, form small balls with the coconut and place them onto the lined cookie sheet. Note that the mixture may not hold form completely when you set the bon bons on the cookie sheet. Freeze the balls for at least 2 hours, or until they are firm enough to work with. 
5. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler until smooth. Dip the frozen bon bons in the chocolate, using a spoon to cover the top completely. Set back on the cookie sheet.
6. While the chocolate is still melted, sprinkle some chopped almonds on the bon bons (if you wish.)
7. Place the bon bons back in the freezer until the chocolate is completely frozen. 
8. Serve cold*
*Note: Vegan chocolate can have a chewy texture if it is not completely frozen when served. Regular chocolate can be frozen and then served 
at room temperature. 


For the cake:
16 ounces medjool dates, pitted
1¼ c. water
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. freshly brewed coffee
¼ c. pure maple syrup
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 large eggs, room temperature
½ c. canola oil

For the maple pecan topping:
1 c. raw pecan pieces
½ c. pure maple syrup

For the cake:

1. Start by slicing the dates in half and pulling out the pits. In a pan, combine the water and the dates and cook over medium-high heat. Cook until the dates have absorbed most of the water and are soft.
2. In a food processor or high-speed blender, puree together the softened dates (can be hot still), vanilla, coffee (can be hot), and maple syrup. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
3. Meanwhile, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl. 
4. Spray a 9-inch cake pan liberally with non-stick cooking spray. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
5. In the bowl of a stand mixer or in medium bowl using a hand mixer, add the cooled puree. Then, turn to low speed and add the eggs one at a time. 
6. Slowly add the canola oil and beat the mixture on medium speed until fully incorporated. 
7. Add the flour mixture to the date mixture ½ cup at a time, with the mixer on low speed. Blend until just incorporated. 8. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 40-45 or until a cake tester inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
9. Let cook for 10 minutes in the pan, and then remove the cake onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

For the pecan topping:
1. In a saucepan, stir the pecans and maple syrup together until the pecans are coated. Cook over medium heat allowing the syrup bubble and thicken. 
2. After about 5-8 minutes the syrup will become thick. Remove from the saucepan onto a piece of wax paper and allow the mixture to cool. 
3. Chop the pecans into small pieces and spread evenly on top of the cake, adding some more in the middle to make a mound. 

Jenna Kincaid is a crafter, baker, blogger, and college student in her final year, studying Management Information Systems at Western Washington University in the great Pacific Northwest. She is the owner of Sweet Petite; a small dessert catering business specializing in dessert display décor and unique treats. In her free time, she writes her personal blog  Grapefruit & Gold, a lifestyle blog sprinkled with bits of design, recipes, and DIYs.