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Do you struggle with holiday planning paralysis? I do. Planning has just never been my strong suit, because I either get lost in the details or I find myself sidetracked and in the kitchen instead. Food is such a big part of holiday celebrations, and getting everything just right requires a bit of advanced planning. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as we might make it sometimes. This year, I’m getting a head start on my planning for Thanksgiving. I’m shaking things up a little bit with a new holiday dessert table and some fabulous pumpkin spice fudge.
I love dessert. In fact, if you ask my father, he’ll tell you that my first word was “bessert.” That hasn’t changed – I’m still the first one to reach for the sweets, though I’m more moderate about it these days. Maybe that’s why I’m starting my planning with dessert – I always want to eat it first! And with things like NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Pumpkin Spice Morsels and other NESTLÉ® baking products, it’s easier than ever.
When I got the idea to make this fudge, my first stop was Wal-Mart, because I knew that the holiday baking aisle would have everything I needed to get the job done. The NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Pumpkin Spice Morsels are there because they’re a seasonal thing. And really, it wouldn’t be fall without that pumpkin spice flavor. These morsels have the perfect balance of pumpkin and warm cinnamon and spice.
Not only could I grab those, but I was also able to get the pumpkin I needed for my pumpkin pie. No matter what else I make this year, the classic pie recipe from the LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin, 15oz can labels will be my go-to pie recipe. Why mess with it? It’s been around since 1950 and it’s super easy to make. Nestle’s Very Best Baking homepage has lots of recipes just like this one if you’re looking for more ideas for your holiday. You can also get inspiration on the Flavorful Moments Pinterest board.
But, when we’re talking pumpkin, we have to talk about this pumpkin spice fudge. I knew I wanted something different for everybody this year, but I wasn’t expecting it to come out so dang yummy! I don’t know who’s been into it more – me or the kids! If you want something that’s going to keep everybody coming back to the table AND talking about your holiday meal until Christmas, here’s the recipe you need:
- 2 cups of granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
- 1 bag of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Pumpkin Spice Morsels
Line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Combine the granulated sugar, salt and the evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring it to a rolling boil (so you’ve got constant, big bubbles). Let it boil for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the whole bag of morsels. Keep stirring until they’re completely melted and incorporated. Pour the mixture into the pan, then tap the pan on the counter two or three times to shake out any air bubbles. Put the pan on a cooling rack and let it sit until hardened, about 2 hours.
The fudge never gets super-hard. It gets hard enough to cut it easily with a sharp knife, but soft enough that it turns melty and creamy when you eat it. The texture and the warm pumpkin spice flavor makes this stuff completely irresistible!
Here are my go-to tips for creating the perfect holiday dessert table that’s as tempting as it is accessible:
- Don’t Crowd It – make sure that there’s enough space between the desserts that your guests can easily reach them. Nobody’s going to dive in if they’re concerned about getting a sleeve in the whipped cream. The same goes for the table perimeter – it should be easy to get around.
- Focus on the Food – keep the spotlight on the treats by avoiding dishes and serving utensils that detract from them. Opt for clear glass, crystal or even clear plastic serving trays and plates for your table. It reduces the visual obstructions and lets your guests focus on the decorations and the food.
- Add Decorations – don’t underestimate the benefit of a few well-placed props on the table. Don’t clutter the table, but consider adding a gourd or two and some other decorative seasonal items.
- Stock Up on Napkins – place a large stack of holiday napkins alongside the guest plates on your dessert table. That way, everybody can grab them as they’re diving in for dessert. People will be more likely to dig into things that might be messy if you’ve supplied plenty of napkins.
For more great ideas for your holiday table, check out the Very Best Baking and Flavorful Moments Pinterest boards. You can also get great ideas on Facebook and Instagram! What are your must-have desserts for Thanksgiving this year? Tell us about them in the comments!
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
- 1 bag of NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Pumpkin Spice Morsels
- Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil.
- Combine the granulated sugar, salt and evaporated milk in a saucepan over medium-high heat.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling boil and allow it to boil for 2-1/2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the entire bag of morsels.
- Stir until the morsels are completely melted and fully incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and let it cool until set, about 2 hours.