Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Apple Crisp

This fall we made sure we went to our local pick-your-own apple orchard. The apples were by far the best I had had in a long, long time. But of course, we ended up picking way more than we could have eaten before they went bad. So, I had, I just had to find a recipe or two for apple desserts that use a LOT of apples. :) Naturally, apple crisp was first on the list. And boy, was it an outstanding recipe! As I always do, I tweaked it a little bit to add my own touches, so to speak, and it was gone so fast, I had to make it again the same week! My kids had fun helping me make it too. It is incredibly simple!
Served warm with a scoop of  some excellent vanilla ice cream it is truly one of the best fall desserts you could dream of!


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bars

Here is a terrific twist on pumpkin pie and cheesecake! It combines the favorite fall flavors of pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice with the velvety creaminess of classic cheesecake. Plus, it is super fuss-free to prepare and a great make-ahead recipe for your Thanksgiving feast. :)


Cream Cheese Filling:
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Note: If you are a huge fan of cheesecake, you may want to consider doubling the cream cheese filling. I think I may do this next time. :)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (I actually used 1/2 cup pumpkin and 1/2 cup pureed butternut squash)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsps pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2 tsp fresh orange zest (optional but highly recommended)

  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Spray a 9x13" baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. For the filling: With a hand mixer blend together softened cream cheese, sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.
  4. For the batter: Combine the pumpkin, sugar, egg and oil in medium mixing bowl and mix until well combined.
  5. Stir in flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking dish, and spread to cover bottom of pan.
  7. Add dollops of the cream cheese mixture over the batter. Cut through the batter with a knife to make a marbled effect w/ the cream cheese mixture in an up and down pattern. Repeat going the other way. When marbling make sure you don't go all the way to the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle with the chopped pecans.
  8. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Cool and cut into squares. Store in the refrigerator.
  10. Zest about half an orange on top of the bars just before serving. It adds wonderful brightness to the flavor profile of this delicious dessert.
  11. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: The girl who ate everything

Monday, November 17, 2014

Apple Walnut Muffins

These Apple Walnut Muffins are another fantastic installment in my fall recipe collection. But really, they would be terrific at any time of year! I was blown away by their moistness and how light and flavorful they were. In fact, they were so incredibly yummy, I ended up making them for my family twice in one week! :) They are not overly sweet and they are bursting with flavors- apples, cinnamon, walnuts... Such a great breakfast or anytime snack, also perfect with a cup of nice coffee or tea.

4 eggs
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 up oil (canola, vegetable, or coconut...)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp. ground flax seed meal
2 cups cored, peeled and grated apples
1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease 2 muffin tin pans or line with paper liners. This recipe makes about 2 dozen standard size muffins.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, mix eggs with sugar and oil. Beat until well combined, about 1-2 minutes.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the egg mixture. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon, and flax seed. Mix just until incorporated.

Fold in apples and walnuts. Using a large ice cream scoop, fill muffin tins 3/4 of the way, so they can form a nice dome while baking.

Bake for about 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool in pans for a couple of minutes, then take out on wire racks to finish cooling. enjoy plain or with a drizzle of simple Cinnamon Glaze (recipe below).

Cinnamon Glaze


1 cup powdered sugar
1-2 tbsps. milk
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon


Mix powdered sugar with 1 tbsp. of the milk. If you prefer a thinner consistency, add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time. Mix in cinnamon. Drizzle glaze over cooled muffins. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from: http://www.supichka.com

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Another great treat during pumpkin season: Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. Super easy to make, ultra soft and moist, simply delicious! Plus, they have oats, flax seeds, nuts, and dried fruit in them, so that makes them qualify as almost healthy. :)

  • 2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  •  1/2 cup chocolate chips (white, dark, milk- whatever floats your boat!)
  •  1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  •  1/2 cup chopped pecans
    (if you prefer to use different add-ins, that is perfectly fine; the possibilities are endless here- any dried fruits or nuts/seeds would work perfectly, just keep the total amount of add-ins to 1 and 1/2 cups)

  • Directions:

    Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats (I love my Silpat!)

    In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, ground cinnamon, pumpkin spice, salt, oats, and flax seed. Set aside.

    In a medium size bowl, mix the melted butter, molasses, and sugars. Once combined, mix in the egg. Add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract and whisk until thick and fully incorporated. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. The resulting dough will be heavy and sticky.

    Gently fold in the chocolate chips, dry apricots, and pecans (or other add-ins of your choice). Scoop cookie dough onto the cookie sheets- I use a medium size ice cream scoop that works great for this purpose. Flatten cookies just a little bit before putting in the oven.

    Bake at 350F for 12-14 minutes, or until slightly brown around the edges (it took exactly 12 minutes for mine). Cookies will still be soft when you take them out. Allow to cool completely on the cookie sheets before transferring to an airtight container. The cookies keep soft and moist for more than a week and you can also freeze them for a couple of months. They are truly delicious!

    Recipe courtesy: pumpkin oatmeal cookies

    Wednesday, November 12, 2014

    The Perfect Fall Salad!

    I love fall and I absolutely love salads... And I think I just may have managed to reach perfection when it comes to combining fall flavors- and colors- into a salad bowl. I have made my fair share of salad combos in my many years of daily salad consumption and I can truly declare this arugula salad mixed with roasted butternut squash and topped with chopped pecans, crumbled gorgonzola cheese and succulent (and oh, so good for you) pomegranate seeds to be my winner in the fall category. Hands down. It is not only beautiful (yes, breathtakingly beautiful!) to look at, but more importantly- it will send your taste buds over the moon and back with every. single. bite. Bursting with richness of flavors, delighting with a variety of textures, and so esthetically pleasing to the eye, this is by far The Perfect Fall Salad.



    (serves 2-4, depending on whether you are serving it as a first course or as an entrée)

    3 cups arugula
    1 cup roasted butternut squash *
    1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
    1/4 cup chopped pecans
    1/4 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
    a simple drizzle of olive oil and the vinegar of your choice, to taste
    freshly ground sea salt and black pepper, to taste


    In a large salad bowl, lay arugula and top with butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, chopped pecans, and gorgonzola cheese. Drizzle olive oil and vinegar just before serving. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy as a first course at lunch or as a light but super satisfying and nourishing dinner entree.

    * I roast peeled and chopped butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil in a 450F oven for about 40-45 minutes, or until cooked through. Sometimes I add a chopped onion as well- it adds a nice flavor when it roasts and gets caramelized. It's a great side dish or an addition to salads, such as this one.

    Print recipe

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