Thanksgiving is less than a week away! Seeking a little bit of inspiration for baked goods, we challenged our team to a Friendsgiving Bake-Off this month. The holidays promise plenty of favorite dishes we’ve been enjoying for years, but they also present the perfect opportunity to try something exciting and new. Consider contributing the recipe that most catches your eye to your celebration’s table this year. You never know which creations will become new traditions for your family and friends!
Pumpkin Cheesecake (made by Annika)
We have many dietary restrictions on our team, but since this pumpkin cheesecake recipe is vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free, everyone could enjoy it! This treat is so packed with creamy, delicious, pumpkin-spiced flavor, it’s sure to win over everyone at your table. It is incredibly easy to whip up in your blender or food processor and can stay frozen until you are ready to eat it, making it the perfect holiday dessert to prepare ahead of time. I’m going to make another for my family’s Thanksgiving!
Pumpkin Spice Cookies (made by Lisa)
On a holiday dominated by pies, cookies can be a welcome addition to people’s dessert plates. My mom has been whipping up these simple, tasty pumpkin spice cookies for years, and I can never resist grabbing one when post-dinner coffee is served. What they lack in healthiness, they make up for in convenience (only four ingredients plus frosting!) and flavor—they taste like a traditional pumpkin roll with a fraction of the effort. I swap yellow cake mix for spice cake mix, add in about a half-cup of chopped pecans, and use homemade cream cheese frosting to make them my own.
Amish Friendship Bread (made by Colleen)
My mom is famous for her Amish Friendship Bread—not kidding, all of my friends request it when visiting my house—and she was kind enough to share the recipe with us. It’s called a “friendship” bread because you are meant to make it with a starter batter given to you by somebody else, which makes it an especially fun treat around the holidays.
To make the starter, combine 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup flour and mix well. Place the mixture in a sealed bag and let it sit out (do not refrigerate). Gas will form as the batter thickens and ferments—let it out and squeeze the bag for 5 days. On day 6, add 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup flour. Continue to squeeze the bag every day. On day 10, combine this mixture with an additional 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup flour and mix well. Pour four 1-cup “starters” into separate plastic bags. Keep one for yourself and give the other three to friends.
With your remaining 1 cup of starter batter, add:
1 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups flour
½ cup milk
1 large box instant vanilla pudding
1 ½ tsp baking powder
In two well-greased loaf pans, bake at 325 for 50-60 minutes, checking for doneness. Allow to fully cool on cooling racks. If you’d like, you can sub 1/2 cup frozen blueberries or strawberries for 1/2 cup canola oil before baking. I also love to add macerated strawberries (sliced strawberries soaked in sugar) to the finished product!
Cheese Rounds (made by Paige)
If you are anything like me, you want something delicious on the table, but you don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. I love homemade cheese straws with cocktails over the holidays, but making the straws can be time-consuming. These crispy cheese rounds offer all of the flavor and crunch in half the time.
Mom’s Spice Cake (made by Margaret)
Your family or roommates will love the warm aroma of spices that fills the kitchen while Mom’s Spice Cake is in the oven! After decorating the home for the holidays with twinkling lights, fresh florals, and elegant table decor, this fall-inspired cake makes the perfect finishing touch for the center of your table. It’s a simple recipe that is always a crowd-pleaser at Friendsgiving feasts.
2 cups flour (self-rising)
2 cups sugar
2 cups pecans or walnuts (chopped)
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Add to dry ingredients:
¾ cup coconut oil or vegetable oil
2 jars of pears (can use baby food jars)
Mix well (do not beat).
Bake in a bundt pan at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.
Vegan Potato Gratin (made by Julia and Thomas)
We made this recipe recently for our neighborhood Friendsgiving get together. It is similar to traditional scalloped potatoes, but less heavy due to the use of gluten free all purpose flour. It is such a delicious and easy recipe to make (especially with a nice mandolin) that we added it to our Thanksgiving menu. We can’t wait to share it with our family and hope you will try it to!