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Thanksgiving Desserts: Recipes

Holiday Shortbread

Buttery but still light, this holiday shortbread is another way to showcase the ultimate Thanksgiving fruit -- cranberries.


1/2 cup whipped butter, room temperature

1/2 cup less-fat margarine with no trans fat (8 grams fat per tablespoon)

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup unbleached white flour

1 tablespoon powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat an 8-inch tart dish with scalloped edges (if available) with canola cooking spray; set aside. 

2. In mixing bowl, using electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream whipped butter, margarine, and 3/4 cup powdered sugar together on low speed until blended, then increase to medium speed for about 20 seconds. On low speed, blend in the vanilla and dried cranberries. Continuing on low speed, slowly add both flours and beat only until combined. 

3. Spread dough into prepared pan by dusting the top of the dough with a tablespoon of powdered sugar and then pressing with your fingers to evenly fill the pan. Bake for 30 minutes or until just light brown around the edges. Let cool about 15 minutes then cut into 16 wedges and serve.

Yield: about 16 wedges

Per serving: 
154 calories, 2 g protein, 18.5 g carbohydrate, 8 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 2.5 g monounsaturated fat, 2 g polyunsaturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 81 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 45%. Omega-3 fatty acids = 0.2 grams, Omega-6 fatty acids = 1.6 grams. Weight Watchers points = 3

Gingerbread Muffins

There’s something magical about the smell of gingerbread welcoming guests as they walk through the door. This gingerbread recipe makes muffins, more so than a cake, because it calls for less sugar and a lot less fat than is normally used in gingerbread cake.


1 cup boiling water

2 teaspoons baking soda

1.5 cups whole-wheat flour

1 cup unbleached white flour

4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or substitute 2 teaspoons ground ginger, 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg)

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 cup canola oil

1/4 cup sour cream (fat free or light) or plain yogurt

1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup unsulfured molasses (mild flavor if available)

1 large egg, higher omega-3 if available

1/4 cup egg substitute

Powdered sugar for dusting over the top of the muffins if desired


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put muffin liners in 20 muffin cups. 

2. In a small bowl, combine baking soda with boiling water and stir briefly then set aside. In a large bowl, combine flours, pumpkin pie spice, cloves, salt and baking powder with whisk. 

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