The holidays always seem like you have far less time than usually and commit to a lot more than you should. This holiday season I’m all about making sure any project/task I take on looks like I took a lot of time to complete, but actually was very easy.

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A few weeks ago I needed a dessert for a potluck I was attending. I knew that everyone would have these amazing homemade dishes to share with the group and I didn’t want mine to fall short even though I was definitely short on time. It took me longer to come up with this idea than the actual execution. With little time to spare and a toddler always at foot, I set out to make my dessert that looked like I spent hours slaving away in a kitchen, but actually took me on 30 minutes. By using store bought pumpkin cake (I like this recipe if you want to make it from scratch – I have you covered for the frosting, though), pumpkin butter (think apple butter, but with pumpkin), and spiced whipped cream, I was able to make this simple but delicious dessert that everyone loved. The pumpkin butter gave this dessert an extra pumpkin flavor without being too sweet and the spiced whipped cream really took everything to the next level. I rarely venture outside of standard whipped cream, but I was certainly glad I did this time because the end product was amazing.

I will be honest, the presentation of this dessert was really what everyone was raving about, although the taste of it was on point too. Being an event planner, I had all these items on hand, but you can easily adapt this for whatever you have available to you. I’m not ashamed to admit that I have mason jars in almost every size available and try and use them whenever possible so I’m able to justify my ridiculous stock pile of jars to my hubby #eventplannerproblems. Dessert in a mason jar is a favorite of mine–they are so adorable and allow you to give out a perfect portion to everyone. Before I started my blog I helped the lovely ladies at Casually Glam with a great holiday dessert (in a mason jar, of course!). You’ll find other flavor combo ideas we came up with for different holidays at the end of the blog post.

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If you’re willing to make an investment in mason jars, especially the little ones, here are a few more dessert ideas for you so you can get more bang for your buck – pies (try them in the lid – ADORABLE!), pot de creme (my fave), banana bread (or your favorite type of bread – also makes for a great gift), creme brulee, cheesecake, panna cotta, pudding cupsapple crisp, s’mores (yum!), tiramisu, chicken pot pie (I have to throw in something savory for your mason jars). I could keep listing off ideas, but I think you can see that the list is endless!

Pumpkin Parfait Dessert

Pumpkin Cake (store bought or homemade) – cut into 1/2 inch pieces
Pumpkin Butter
Spiced Whipped Cream (recipe below)

Spiced Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

In a large bowl, combine the heavy cream, sugar, vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and nutmeg. Using the whisk attachment on your blender, beat the mixture together on medium speed until stiff peaks are formed.

Assembling the Parfait

Scoop a teaspoon of pumpkin butter on the bottom of the mason jar. Next, place 5-6 pieces of pumpkin cake on top of the pumpkin butter, followed by 1-2 tablespoons of spiced whipped cream. Repeat these steps one more time so that you have two complete layers in the jar. Place a wooden spoon in the jar (I like these). Enjoy!

Yields: 12 servings

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For some reason everything tastes better in tiny jars with mini wooden spoons! Whether your dessert is semi-homemade or whipped up completely from scratch, you will definitely wow your guests with this adorable presentation.

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS – Love the beautiful cutting board in my photos? I just bought it from the super talented people over at Timber + Main. This husband and wife team uses reclaimed wood to make amazing, one-of-a-kind cutting boards, spoons, and French rolling dowels. Check out their shop – they are always adding new items. I always love supporting local companies whenever possible and this company is the best at what they do!