• Mini Caramel Chocolate Apples

    How to make Mini Caramel Chocolate Apples

    Yield: about 40

    Prep Time: 25 minutes

    Cook: 40 minutes

    The yield will greatly depend on the size of your apples and the size of your melon baller.


    4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    1/2 cup corn syrup
    1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
    3/4 cup heavy cream
    1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    5 medium organic Granny Smith apples
    12 ounces good quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
    Toppings as desired (nuts, candy, sprinkles)


    In a small heavy saucepan set over medium heat melt the butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt and bring to a boil. Add in the cream and spices if using and cook until a candy thermometer or instant read thermometer registers 250°F. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract.

    Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each burst, until melted and smooth.

    Using a melon baller, scoop out balls from each apple. Place a candy stick into the center of each ball. Dip into the chocolate, coating evenly. Let the excess drip before placing on a parchment or silicone mat lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set.

    Dip the apples into the warm caramel, letting the excess drip before rolling in any desired toppings and placing back on the lined baking sheet. Let cool and set completely before serving. Apples that are completely coated can be stored in the fridge for up to 1 day before serving, though they are best served sooner rather than later.

  • Pumpkin Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

    How to make Pumpkin Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting

    Yield: 9 large or 16 small bars

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 40 minutes

    This recipe is easily doubled for a crowd!


    For the bars:

    1 1/2 cups (6.75 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/4 teaspoon baking soda
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
    2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 cup (7.5 ounces) pumpkin puree

    For the frosting:

    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 tablespoon milk, plus more if needed


    To make the bars:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 8 by 8-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, leaving an overhang.

    In a large bowl combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda and salt.

    In another medium bowl whisk together the butter, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Add the butter mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

    Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overbake. Set the pan on a wire rack to cool completely.

    To make the frosting:

    In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light, fluffy, and smooth. Add in the cinnamon and salt. On low speed gradually add in the powered sugar until incorporated. Add in the vanilla and milk and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat until very light and fluffy. If too runny, add more powered sugar, If too thick, add more milk. Spread evenly all over the pumpkin bars.

    Cut into squares before serving. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 day or in the fridge for up to 5 days.

  • Loaded Cookie Bars

    How to make Loaded Cookie Bars

    Yield: 24 bars

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour


    1 1/2 cups (6.6 ounces) all-purpose flour
    1 cup (4.5 ounces) bread flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon fine sea salt
    2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
    1/2 cup granulated sugar
    1 1/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
    20 Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped
    1 cup M&M’s, or other candy
    1 cup chopped Reese’s or other candy


    Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 13-inch pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    In a medium bowl combine the all-purpose flour, bread flour, baking soda, and salt.

    In a large bowl, vigorously stir the melted butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until very well combined. Add in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolk and stir until well combined. Gradually add in the flour and stir until just combined. Fold in the Oreos, M&M’s, and Reese’s, reserving some to sprinkle on top.

    Remove the dough to the prepared pan, pressing evenly. Sprinkle with the reserved candy, pressing down lightly with a spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown but not overcooked. Cool completely before cutting into squares and serving. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

  • Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin

    How to make Fresh vs. Canned Pumpkin

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook: 1 hour


    1-2 pie or sugar pumpkins


    Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

    Using a large sharp knife, slice off the stems then cut each pumpkin in half. Spoon out all the seeds and pulp, reserving the seeds for roasting if desired. Place the pumpkin on the baking sheet, skin side down, and roast for about 45 minutes, or until fork tender. Let cool until comfortable enough to handle.

    Use your fingers to peel off the skin. Place the pumpkin flesh in the bowl of a food processor, high-powered blender, or food mill. Puree until completely smooth, this may take several minutes. Turn off motor and stir mixture occasionally to ensure an even puree. If the puree looks dry, add a tablespoon or two of water.

    Use or store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for 6 to 8 months.

    To Roast the Seeds:

    Place the pulp and seeds in a colander and run under cold water, removing the pulp from the seeds. Spread the seeds out evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and let air dry for several hours or overnight, do not attempt to blot with paper towels. Drizzle with 2 teaspoons olive oil and generously season with salt and other desired flavorings. Roast low and slow at 250°F for 1 hour, or until golden. Serve.

  • Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

    How to make Pumpkin Bread Rolls with Cinnamon Butter

    Yield: 15 bread rolls

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook: 2 hours 40 minutes


    For the bread:

    1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast
    1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
    1/4 cup granulated sugar
    3 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces or 43 grams) unsalted butter, melted
    1/2 cup (4 ounces or 113 grams) pumpkin puree
    2 large eggs, divided
    1 teaspoon salt
    3 3/4 cups (16.88 ounces or 479 grams) all-purpose flour

    Sliced pecan pieces, for the “stems”

    For the butter:

    1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/4 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 cup honey
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


    For the bread rolls:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

    Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a pairing knife, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the wooden end of a small utensil or your finger to poke an indentation in the center of each roll to create a space for the “stem.” In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.

    For the cinnamon butter:

    In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for 30 seconds, or until pale in color. Add the powdered sugar, honey, and cinnamon and beat until well combined, light, and fluffy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Serve immediately or store, covered, in the fridge for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

    Serve the rolls warm with the cinnamon butter.

    Adapted from my Ultimate Dinner Roll recipe

  • Monster Cookie Bars
  • Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Tart

    How to make Pumpkin Chocolate Spiderweb Tart

    Yield: 1 10-inch tart

    Cook: 2 hours 15 minutes


    For the crust:

    • 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
    • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    • 1 large egg
    • 4 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

    For the filling:

    • 1 can (15 ounce) unsweetened pumpkin puree
    • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 cup sour cream
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

    For the topping:

    • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped


    Make the crust:

    Whisk together flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a bowl. Add butter. With an electric mixer on low speed beat until butter is the size of small peas, about 5 minutes. Add egg, mix until ingredients form a dough. Wrap dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to just more than 1/8-inch. Press dough into bottom and up sides of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim excess dough flush with rim. Pierce bottom of shell all over with a fork. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

    Place tart pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until dry, about 15 minutes. Immediately sprinkle the 4 ounces chocolate evenly over crust; let it begin to melt, then smooth with an offset spatula.

    Make the filling:

    In a medium bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, sour cream, eggs, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and cloves until smooth. Pass mixture through a fine sieve into a clean bowl, discard the solids. Pour filling into prepared crust, just to top edge.

    Bake at 350 degrees until filling is set, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool at least 30 minutes.

    Make the topping:

    Place the 2 ounces chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 15 second bursts, stirring between bursts, until melted and smooth. Transfer chocolate to a resealable bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner. Pipe about 15 evenly spaced lines radiating out from the center of the tart. Pipe curved lines around the perimeter of the tart, connecting each spoke. Continue piping curved lines, spacing them closer together as you near the center. Refrigerate until set, 1 hour or up to 2 days.

    From Pies and Tarts

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