New twists on classic Thanksgiving desserts

You don't have to give up the Turkey to make your Thanksgiving meal a little less predictable. Use the dessert course as an opportunity to try a few new takes on the classic treats.

Love pumpkin pie? Add a little dark chocolate and you'll love it even more. When creating the custard pie filling, stir in six ounces of melted dark chocolate. The bittersweet tang will complement the pumpkin and create an even gooier dessert. Serve warm.

If you like cheesecake, make it a Thanksgiving tradition by adding a little pumpkin. Use your favorite cheesecake recipe, but substitute 1 cup of pumpkin puree (canned is fine) for 1 cup of cream cheese. Add a few dashes of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to the mix and a splash of bourbon.

For a healthier alternative, consider baked pears. The natural sugar in pears turns into a delicious syrup when baked in the over. Peel eight medium-sized pears and cut them in half. Place them (flat-side down) on a non-stick baking sheet and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Bake the pears at 350 degrees for twenty minutes. When they're almost done, remove them from the oven and drizzle the fruit with a half cup of cream and one cup of melted dark chocolate. Bake for an additional ten minutes and sprinkle with chopped almonds or pecans before serving.

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