When you think of Thanksgiving, you probably think of pies, because pies are the warm, gooey, crispy pinnacles of the holiday season. Pies are wonderful — but so are other Thanksgiving desserts, too. Cakes and cookies don't get nearly enough credit on Thanksgiving, and they totally should. So this year, do the unexpected: make some cupcakes. Or whip up some fudge bars. Have fun, and experiment with recipes you've never tried before. Here are 12 amazing recipes that you should totally incorporate into your Thanksgiving meal that have nothing to do with pumpkin pie — a fact that, surprisingly, is totally OK.
Maple Syrup Cake with Toasted Almonds
I love real maple syrup. I love it so much, I make sure to bring like 20 jugs back with me to California every time I visit the East Coast even though I have to pay the extra money to board my flight because it is SO WORTH IT. This maple syrup cake, made by Pastry Affair, includes all the spices of the season (cinnamon and nutmeg), and gives you something new to try out. Be sure to use real maple syrup though!
Image: Pastry Affair
Apple Cheesecake Crumb Bars
These crumb bars really just taste like apple cheese danishes. They’re rich, dense, and superbly sweet. So, move over apple pie (don’t worry, I still love you). Brown Eyed Baker has the perfect recipe for these lovely treats.
Image: Brown Eyed Baker
Pumpkin Salted Caramel Thumbprint Cookies
Impress everyone with this majestic cookie recipe by Joy the Baker. I know I’m going a little overboard with pumpkins, but let’s face it. Pumpkins are the true mascots of autumn, and I will not apologize for my love and adoration of the bright orange gourd.
Image: Joy the Baker
Best Carrot Cake Ever
Carrot cake is made with carrots, so it’s healthy, right? Right. This recipe by A Cozy Kitchen calls for pineapple slices along with sugar, so you know she means business.
Image: A Cozy Kitcen
Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Blondies
These blondies combine the essence of pumpkin pie with the sweetness of snickerdoodle cookies. They’re dense and filling, so make sure you have plenty of room to enjoy these. Get the recipe over at Averie Cooks.
Image: Averie Cooks
Texan Pecan Baklava
“Texan” and “Baklava” are two words that don’t exactly go together, but when you see what bake. love. give. has in store for you, you won’t even question it. Plus, Baklava is traditionally made with nuts and honey, so really it kind of makes sense.
Image: bake. love. give.
Sweet Potato Pie Cupcakes
Cupcakes on Thanksgiving may seem a little strange, but I think we should be treating ourselves to cupcakes ALL the time. These cupcakes taste like a sweet potato and marshmallow side dish, because they’re made with basically the same ingredients. However, these cupcakes are lighter and fluffier! Try this recipe out from How Sweet It Is.
Image: How Sweet It Is
Gingerbread Caramel Corn
Does popcorn count as a dessert? I mean, it’s sweet and incredible, so why not? Get this recipe for the best caramel corn you will try in your life over at Cookie Monster Cooking.
Image: Cookie Monster Cooking
Spiced Cider Fudge
I always forget that fudge exists until I have like five tins gifted to me from friends and relatives. And then I end up eating all of it, because fudge is delicious. Try this fudge by Dessert Now Dinner Later to experience the magic that is spiced cider fudge (hint: it calls for marshmallows and white chocolate).
Image: Dessert Now Dinner Later
Tiramisu is already one of the most magnificent desserts of all time, so when you’re adding a layer of pumpkin, you’re really baking up some next level tiramisu here. Thanks, Foodie Crush.
Image: Foodie Crush
Pumpkin Toffee Whoopie Pies
I know I said there wouldn’t be any desserts that are pies, but whoopie pies aren’t really pies, OK? They’re like cookie-frosting sandwiches. And is there anything better than pumpkin toffee cookie-frosting sandwiches? No. Nothing is better. Find the recipe at Lick My Spoon.
Image: Lick My Spoon
Snickers Caramel Apple Salad
Salad for dessert, you say? It can totally be done. Especially if it’s made with Snickers and Cool Whip. Find this recipe over at My Baking Addiction.
Image: My Baking Addiction