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Cheddar and Herb “Pennies” ~ Savory Shortbread Crackers on a marble platter

Thanksgiving Appetizers, Soups & Desserts – I’ve Got You Covered!

Thanksgiving is almost here – time to organize and cook delicious food!
Here are my best-loved dishes to cook ~ classics with healthy twists! Today: Appetizers, Soups & Desserts

NEW! Chocolate Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust – Vegan (Gluten Free too) 

Chocolate-Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust - Vegan
Chocolate-Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust – Vegan.  PERFECT for Thanksgiving! 

A wonderful decedent but not-too-rich pie with a press-in crust with a chocolate base and caramel top layer. Finished with coconut whipped cream, honey-sugared peanuts and toasted coconut flakes. Love at first bite!

Thanksgiving Appetizers:

Some light nibbles while your guests are arriving, drinking, toasting and anticipating the holiday meal.

Keep recipes simple – light & tasty. Nothing too filling before the main course!

Cheddar and Herb “Pennies” ~ Savory Shortbread Crackers on a marble platter
Cheddar and Herb “Pennies” ~ Savory Shortbread Crackers
Simple to make – roll mixture into a log – chill, slice & bake!Top with garden herbs for an elegant touch. A revised recipe from the 1950’s – these popular Cheesy Shortbread “Pennies” are the perfect little crackers with big flavor.
Mediterranean Stuffed Shishito Peppers
Mediterranean Stuffed Shishito Peppers
Blistered Shishito Peppers are cut in half and stuffed with a medley of Mediterranean ingredients for an addictive appetizer. Stuffed with softened goat cheese, colorful peppers. tomatoes and herbs, then broiled one minute.
Tuscan Marinated Mushrooms
Tuscan Marinated Mushrooms

Deeply fragrant mushrooms team with flavorful Tuscan spices – coated with a wine-lemon-olive oil marinade. Tangy, delicious, and easy to make. Wonderful served on toasted Italian or Sourdough Bread – let your guests slather the marinated mushrooms on top.

Crab Tostadas Bites with Avocado-Cucumber Mash
Crab Tostadas Bites with Avocado-Cucumber Mash

Irresistible Zesty Pick-Up Appetizer ~ Crispy, crunchy and creamy – all the textures come together; a special recipe for Holiday Entertaining… Gluten Free.

Baba Ganoush with Roasted Peppers
Baba Ganoush with Roasted Peppers

Fabulous & Smokey Eggplant Mediterranean Dip & Spread you’ll keep making and enjoying! Healthy and Delicious. A silky, creamy, delectable eggplant dip – light on calories…big on flavor!!
A recipe all good cooks should master – the perfect healthy nosh or appetizer.

Skewered Shrimp Scampi Appetizer
Skewered Shrimp Scampi Appetizer

Sautéed Shrimp in a Hearty Garlic Herbal Butter Sauce Skewered with a Cube of Sourdough Bread to Soak up the Flavors.
Another way to serve for an appetizer: Add warm shrimp scampi to a deep bowl (be careful not to reheat too much) and serve with plenty of skewers and little plates to grab the sauce too!

Karen’s Chunky Apple Maple Jelly
Karen’s Chunky Apple Maple Jelly

Karen’s Chunky Apple Maple Jelly – cooks in 20 minutes using two different types of apples.
Add cheese, I used goat cheese, might want to try brie…top with jelly and pop in the oven!

Goat Cheese and Garlic Pâté with Walnuts and Chives ~ Balsamic-Honey Drizzle
Goat Cheese and Garlic Pâté with Walnuts and Chives ~ Balsamic-Honey Drizzle

Holiday Entertaining just got a little easier with this tempting pâté – the perfect appetizer for the Thanksgiving celebration. A wonderful spread with roasted garlic cloves for a mellow touch. Add some zest with the balsamic-honey drizzle.

how to make the best Curry Coconut Slow Roasted Nuts
Curry Coconut Slow Roasted Nuts

Crunch Crunch! Raw cashews are soaked for easier digestion and are cooked in a slow oven until golden and crispy. Coat with sweet and savory seasonings: curry powder, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, smoked paprika, pink sea salt, coconut nectar, coconut palm sugar and unsweetened shredded coconut.

Soups!
Ladle into bowls before the feast ~ OR serve in Asian ceramic tea cups  (these are lovely) or glass shot glasses served on a tray and passed.

Thai Inspired Honeynut Squash Soup with Toasted Rice Garnish
Thai Inspired Honeynut Squash Soup with Toasted Rice Garnish

My Favorite New Soup of the Season – Perfectly Seasoned and Quite Easy to Prepare.
The fabulous creamy texture of Honeynut squash makes a velvety soup – Thai spices from an unexpected place – in a little can… how convenient!  Easily made Vegan using Vegetable broth. Use any other squash you like too!

Kabocha Squash Soup with Apples and Cashew Crema - Vegan
Kabocha Squash Soup with Apples and Cashew Crema – Vegan

Perfect for Thanksgiving! See my easy way to peel a Kabocha Squash. You’ll love the Cashew Crema with hints of maple & cinnamon ~ the Spiced Cashews make a terrific, crunchy garnish.

A Creamy & Chunky Soup with a Coconut Cream Swirl and Hatch Chiles… very comforting and healthy! Perfect for weekdays, special enough for company and holidays.

Acorn Squash & Celeriac Soup for Fall
Acorn Squash & Celeriac Soup for Fall

A Creamy & Chunky Soup with a Coconut Cream Swirl and Hatch Chiles… very comforting and healthy! Perfect for weekdays, special enough for company and holidays.

Delicious Desserts – Something for Everyone!

Something Apple:

Applesauce Linzer Bars (Gluten-Free Variation as well)
Applesauce Linzer Bars (Gluten-Free Variation as well)

Tastes like an apple crumb pie in a bar! Perfect for your Thanksgiving dessert buffet – not too sweet with a touch of warm spices. These can be made a few days ahead!

Vegan Apple Raspberry Crisp
Vegan Apple Raspberry Crisp

This easy to prepare fall dessert is bursting with harvest flavors: fruit is blanketed with a crisp cinnamon, pecan and oat layer. Vegan, gluten-free and irresistible! Add some coconut whipped cream on the side to dollop.

Karen's Fall Apple Cake with Streusel and Caramelized Apples
Karen’s Fall Apple Cake with Streusel and Caramelized Apples

A spiced apple cake dotted with chunks of apples topped with a generous height of crunchy streusel. Go a step further and add caramelized apples and a dripping caramel sauce to each slice. A gluten-free option too!

Karen's German Pink Pearl Apple Cake
German Pink Pearl Apple Cake

An easy and delicious butter-moist cake is “sunken” as the apples are fanned and placed over the batter, which then rises up around them as the cake bakes. Top with my Maple Caramel Sauce for a little decadence!

Something Nutty:

Lightened-Up Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Chocolate
Lightened-Up Peanut Butter Cheesecake with Chocolate Biscotti Crust and Honey Peanuts

A Creamy Cheesecake made with Cottage Cheese – no cream cheese here!
Decadent and creamy – Make my recipe: Chocolate Peanut Biscotti for the crust and pile on some Honey Peanuts on top ~ see that recipe too! 

Pecan Pie Bars (with a Secret Ingredient)
Pecan Pie Bars (with a Secret Ingredient)

A MUST! My family favorite The Ultimate Pick-Up Bar ~ Perfect for the Holidays! 
A press-in shortbread crust with a pour-on-top filling enriched with a crunchy pecan topping. Delish!

Something Chocolate:

Lightened-Up Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée
Lightened-Up Dark Chocolate Crème Brûlée

A cracked caramel-sugar top with a creamy chocolate dessert underneath.
Made entirely with milk, not a drop of heavy cream!
Lightened-Up: Creamy, decadent and delicious… decadent but not too rich!

Fresh Mint Chocolate Truffles – Vegan
Fresh Mint Chocolate Truffles – Vegan

Easy! These delectable, creamy truffles are truly all-natural with Fresh Mint from my garden. Coconut Milk swaps in for heavy cream for a lighter, vegan treat. Cacao nibs adds a little crunch. Can make well ahead! 

A yummy slice of the Chocolate-Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust
A yummy slice of the Chocolate-Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust

I’m serving this NEW pie on Thanksgiving!

Something Fruity:

Poached Pears in Spiced Red Wine and Pomegranate Juice with Caramel Zabaglione
Poached Pears in Spiced Red Wine and Pomegranate Juice with Caramel Zabaglione

The perfect ending to a holiday meal (Thanksgiving!) Spiced, beautiful pears swimming in a ruby syrup with a creamy zabaglione custard.

Ice Cream, Sherbet & Frozen Yogurt:

Caramel Vanilla Bean Vegan Ice Cream
Caramel Vanilla Bean Vegan Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream does not have to take a supporting role next to your holiday desserts, this one is delicious on it’s own! Simple ingredients blend into a creamy, decadent dessert, infused with Ginger and Pumpkin Spices.

Karen's Raspberry Sherbet with White Chocolate Shavings
Karen’s Raspberry Sherbet with White Chocolate Shavings

A flavor explosion with beautiful color and texture. This simple Sherbet has just the right sweetness and is so refreshing! Totally loving the white chocolate shavings mixed-into the sherbet. 

Karen's Key Lime Frozen Yogurt
Karen’s Key Lime Frozen Yogurt

A light and tasty frozen yogurt with a creamy texture and a fresh, zesty flavor. The tartness will pair well with many Thanksgiving sweeter desserts. 

I like to offer desserts with many flavors and textures.
Think; Nutty, Chocolatey, Fruit and of course an Ice cream to serve alone or on the side.
ALSO SEE: Thanksgiving 2022 MY FAVORITE RECIPES /Main Dishes and Sides  See how to make the best Turkey Gravy!

Need a deep dish ceramic pie pan? This IS the one: deep dish pie plate

A Few Words About Organizing for the BIG Day:

  • Shop for non-perishable foods & goods NOW! (Avoid long lines; might need to visit multiple stores.)
  • Make Broth for your Turkey… I do not used canned.
  • Write detailed lists for shopping. 
  • Write a TIMELINE; This really helps me! I get a big pad and write columns for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thanksgiving Thursday. And a column for whatever you can make ahead and freeze.
    This really organizes what you will have time for each day ~ let’s keep it stress free!
  • Asks your guests about dietary restrictions: Be ready for Gluten Free, Nut Free, Vegan, Keto…
  • Shop at Farmers’ Markets!!! Ask farmers what will be available the week of Thanksgiving. Stock up on winter squashes, cheeses, honey… 
  • Review recipes you will be making – make sure you have the right baking & roasting pans.
  • Take a deep breath ~ you can do this! Make it enjoyable and enjoy the process.

Hoping your Thanksgiving Cooking & Baking is rewarding and delicious!
Questions… contact me.

Karen

Chocolate-Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust - Vegan

Chocolate Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust - Vegan

A wonderful decedent but not-too-rich pie with a press-in crust with a chocolate base and caramel top layer. Finished with coconut whipped cream, honey-sugared peanuts and toasted coconut flakes. Love at first bite! Gluten Free too!
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 12 servings
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Ingredients

Press-In Granola Crust

  • 1 3/4 cups granola (gluten free) see my recipe!
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil I use organic
  • 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes* make 1/2 cup total; 1/4 cup for garnish

Chocolate Filling:

  • 1 1/2 cups coconut milk full fat not "lite"
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips I use Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Caramel Layer:

  • 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 4 tablespoons filtered water
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot starch*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon filtered water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt I use pink Himalayan

Instructions

Press-In Granola Crust

  • Grind 1 cup of granola and 1/4 cup toasted coconut flakes in a food processor (I used a 4 cup one) until fine-small crumbs, like graham cracker crumbs. Melt 2 T. of coconut oil.
  • Add the Granola crumbs to a medium sized bowl. Process the last 3/4 cup of granola into a little larger pieces, with more texture. Add the coconut oil and last batch of coarser granola to the bowl. Mix to combine all. Press into the pie pan, making a 1″ high edge. Freeze until firm, 15 minutes.

Chocolate Layer:

  • Add 1 1/2 cups coconut to a 3 quart pot. Bring to a simmer, take off heat. Add chocolate chips and stir with a rubber spatula until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add vanilla extract, mix in.
    Remove the granola crust from the freezer and pour in the chocolate mixture, smooth the top. refrigerate for 45 minutes.

Caramel Layer:

  • While the chocolate layer sets, make the caramel layer. Combine the 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot and 1 1/2 water in a small bowl and combine with a fork - set aside.
  • In a 8" skillet add the 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar and 4 tablespoons water. Bring to a simmer stirring. Cook for 3 minutes at a low simmer - the sugar will be dissolved. Add 3/4 cup coconut milk, bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat for 2 minutes.
  • Combine the 1 1/2 tablespoons arrowroot and 1 1/2 water in a small bowl and combine with a fork. Add the arrowroot mixture to the pan, whisking quickly with a wire whisk - will thicken easily! Cook until thickened and set - 1 minute. Take off heat and add the vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and sea salt; mix in. Let cool.

Finish the Pie:

  • When caramel is cool (no longer warm), take pie out of the refrigerator and add the caramel on top - I left a circle open exposing some chocolate (see photo.)
    To Garnish: Top the pie with Coconut Whipped Cream (recipe below) in rosettes around the edge of the pie. Fill in with a row of Honey Peanuts. Add reserved Toasted Coconut Flakes on top of the whipped cream.
  • Refrigerate the pie until ready to serve. Can make a day ahead. If made a few days ahead- add peanuts before serving so they do not get soggy. Yes the pie can be frozen - place in the refrigerator a few hours before serving.

Notes

Toasted Coconut Flakes: Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Add 1/2 cup Coconut Flakes to a foil lined small baking pan. Bake in oven for 3 - 4 minutes until lightly golden. WATCH carefully, these can brown very easily, remove from oven, cool. Use half for the granola crust; half for decorating the pie. 
Coconut Whipped Cream: Refrigerate a can of coconut milk overnight. Scoop out 1/2 cup of top thick layer, add to a small - medium sized bowl. Add 2 tablespoons confectioner's sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Using a balloon wire whisk - beat the coconut cream until thick. Alternately, use a stick immersion blender. Refrigerate if not using immediately. 
*Arrowroot Starch: a gluten free thickener, leaves a sauce clear and glossy. Has 2 times the thickening power compared to cornstarch. 
This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer. 
COURSE: Dessert
CUISINE: American
KEYWORDS: gluten free granola press in pie crust, vegan and gluten free chocolate caramel pie, vegan chocolate caramel pie
Nutrition Facts
Chocolate Caramel Pie with Granola Coconut Crust - Vegan
Amount per Serving
Calories
387
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
25
g
38
%
Saturated Fat
 
20
g
125
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
1
g
Monounsaturated Fat
 
2
g
Cholesterol
 
0.3
mg
0
%
Sodium
 
82
mg
4
%
Potassium
 
362
mg
10
%
Carbohydrates
 
37
g
12
%
Fiber
 
2
g
8
%
Sugar
 
19
g
21
%
Protein
 
6
g
12
%
Vitamin A
 
3
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
1
mg
1
%
Calcium
 
115
mg
12
%
Iron
 
3
mg
17
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

 

 

Cheddar and Herb “Pennies” ~ Savory Shortbread Crackers on a marble platter

These recipes may not be reproduced without the consent to the author Karen Sheer.

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