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Amazingly Decadent Alternatives to Pumpkin Pie

Last Updated on November 13, 2017

Pumpkin fever is everywhere these days. It seems you can’t turn around without seeing pumpkin-spiced everything. While there is no doubt pumpkin is the flavor of the season – pumpkin fanatics are looking beyond the traditional pie to tempt their palettes even more.

This Thanksgiving, try switching up your dessert buffet by ditching the standard pumpkin pie and surprising your guests with some of these decadent pumpkin baking recipes. They’ll be expecting the usual – and you’ll be expecting them to come back for seconds.

Pumpkin Bread with Eggnog Glaze

Bread makes for the perfect treat for pumpkin baking. This decadent bread is fancy enough to serve at your dinner table and also doubles as a comforting breakfast treat the next morning.

Recipe/photo courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Pumpkin bread with eggnog glaze


Pumpkin Bread
3 cups sugar
1 cup coconut oil
4 eggs
3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (pumpkin spice)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup water
1 15-ounce can pumpkin

Eggnog Glaze
2 cups powdered sugar
4 tablespoons eggnog
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


  • Grease the bottom and 1/2″ up sides of two 9″ x 5″ x 3″, three 8″ x 4″ x 2″, or four 7 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ x 2″ loaf pans, and set aside. In a very large mixing bowl, beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on “medium” speed. Add eggs and beat well. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice. Add flour mixture and water alternately to sugar mixture, beating on “low” speed after each addition, just until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Spoon-batter into prepared pans.
  • Bake in oven at 350° F for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans.
  • To make eggnog glaze, stir together powdered sugar, eggnog, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Combine until smooth. Drizzle or pour over warm pumpkin bread. Cool completely on wire racks. Makes 2 loaves (32 servings).

Pumpkin Caramel Cheesecake Bars with Streusel Topping

Just the name will have your mouth watering. This creamy wonder combines two fan favorites of pumpkin and cheese cake to create mini-bites of delight. Make enough for your guests to come back for more. (Bet they can’t eat just one.)

Recipe/photo courtesy of Chelsea’s Messy Apron

Pumpkin caramel cheesecake with streusel topping


1 and 1/2 cups (~10-11 full sheets) cinnamon graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
6 tablespoons melted butter

2 packages (8 ounces each) full fat cream cheese at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling and not entire can)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Streusel and Topping
1/2 cup brown sugar packed
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup quick cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter softened (not melted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line an 8″ x 8″ baking pan with parchment paper (leave an overhang to be able to pull out these bars easily), and set aside.
  • In a bowl, combine the crust ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms. Press evenly into the bottom of the 8″ x 8″ baking pan.
  • In another bowl, combine the cream cheese with the sugar and vanilla. (It is very important for the cream cheese at room temperature for a smooth texture. Leave out for at least an hour before baking. Microwaving the cream cheese will give it a bumpy texture.) Beat with hand mixers until completely smooth and creamy. Add in the eggs (one at a time) and beat until each is combined.
  • Remove 1 and 1/2 cups of this mixture and pour on top of the prepared crust.
  • Add the canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice to the remaining cheesecake mixture and stir until completely combined.
  • Being careful not to combine the two layers, pour the pumpkin layer on top of the plain cheesecake layer.


  • In the same bowl you used for the crust, stir together the brown sugar, white flour, quick cooking oats, and cinnamon. Add the butter and vanilla and mix together until well-combined. Avoid melting the butter entirely, as it will make the streusel too wet. Sprinkle this streusel topping evenly over the pumpkin cheesecake layer.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 50-55 minutes or until the cheesecake has set.
  • Allow to cool for about an hour and then place in the fridge for 1-to-2 hours.
  • Top each bar with caramel topping of choice.

Marbled Chocolate-Pumpkin Brownies

Discover brownies in a whole new way, as chocolate meets pumpkin in these unsuspectingly delicious bites. This is a crowd pleaser that is sure to satisfy every chocolate and pumpkin lover.

Recipe/photo courtesy of: Better Homes & Gardens

Pumkin brownies

3 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cut up
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted (optional)


  • Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a 13″ x9″ x 2″ baking pan with foil. Extend foil over the edges of the pan. Grease the foil and set pan aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and the 1 tablespoon butter with an electric mixer on “medium-to-high” speed for 30 seconds. Add the 1/2 cup sugar. Beat until well-combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in 1 egg, the pumpkin, 1 teaspoon vanilla, the cinnamon, and ginger until combined. Stir in the 1 tablespoon flour. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the 1 1/4 cups flour, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large saucepan, combine the chocolate and 3/4 cup butter. Cook and stir over low heat until melted and smooth. Remove from heat. Gradually add the 2 1/4 cups sugar, beating with an electric mixer on low speed, just until combined. Add the 4 eggs (one at a time), beating well after each addition. Beat in milk and the 2 teaspoons vanilla. Gradually beat in flour mixture, just until combined.
  • Spread chocolate mixture evenly in the prepared pan. Spoon cream cheese mixture, in several mounds, on top of the chocolate batter. Using a narrow metal spatula, gently swirl the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate batter. If desired, sprinkle with walnuts.
  • Bake about 60 minutes or until center is just set when pan is gently shaken. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to lift uncut brownies out of pan. Cut into brownies.

Gluten-free/Dairy-free Crustless Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

For a delicious gluten-free (GF) dessert, try these scrumptious pumpkin pie cupcakes. Whether you’re meeting your own dietary needs or catering to your GF guests, this dessert will be much appreciated.

Recipe/photo courtesy of Meaningful Eats

Pumpkin pie cupcakes

15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
2/3 cup Erin’s Grain-Free Flour Blend or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

For Topping:
Coconut milk whipped cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Generously spray the bottoms and sides of the liners with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the pumpkin, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and egg yolk, vanilla, and coconut milk until smooth.
  • In another bowl, sift together the flour blend, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking soda, and baking powder.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir to fully combine.
  • Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan. The cups will be fairly full. Bake the cupcakes for 25 minutes.
  • Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Top with coconut milk or regular whipped cream. Enjoy.

Cinnamon-Sugar Bourbon Pumpkin Muffins

To really scratch that pumpkin baking itch, try this richly flavored muffin recipe. These muffins really get their kick from a drizzle of bourbon in the batter. The sugary crunchy topping makes these muffins fancy enough to serve on your Thanksgiving dessert buffet.

Recipe/photo courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens

Pumpkin muffins

3 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1/4 cup bourbon or water


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Line twenty-four 2 1/2″ muffin cups with paper bake cups. In a small bowl, combine 2/3 cup of the sugar, the pecans, and 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Set aside. In a very large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and the remaining 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Make a well in center of flour mixture, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 2/3 cups of sugar, the pumpkin, oil, eggs, and bourbon. Add egg mixture (all at once) to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with nut mixture.
  • Bake 25-to-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups for 10 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire racks. If desired, drizzle with Bourbon Icing before serving.

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Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!

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