Tag Archives: fall

Caramel Appledoodles.

The theme for October’s What’s Baking was “Fall Flavors.”  Of course, pumpkin and apple are the first things that come to mind but our lovely host, Ange, challenged us to think outside the box.  I spent some time in the blogosphere looking at different ideas and had even picked one out.  But then, on one of my at-least-twice-weekly Target trips, I found a bag of caramel bits: tiny balls of unwrapped caramel that I knew would be perfect to bake with (ok, let’s be real, eat straight out of the bag).  And thus, the caramel appledoodle came to be.

They had all the Fall flavors you could hope for and as an added bonus, filled the house with a delicious cinnamony scent as they baked.  It would probably be best to keep these in an airtight container, as after a few hours sitting out on the counter, the caramel bits were kind of hard to chew.

Caramel Appledoodles – adapted from Gimme Some Oven

  • 1 Stick (8 Tbsp.) Unsalted Butter
  • 2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 Golden Delicious Apple, peeled, cored and finely diced
  • 1 Cup Kraft Caramel Bits (If you can’t find the bits, use 1 Cup chopped Caramel)
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Cinnamon

Using a mixer, cream the butter and the sugars together.  Add the eggs and beat until fully incorporated.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, cornstarch, baking soda, sat and nutmeg.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the mixer bowl and stir until combined.  Fold in apples and caramel bits.  Chill for one hour in the refrigerator.

Preheat oven to 350.  Mix together the 1/2 cup sugar and 3 Tbsp. cinnamon in a small bowl.  Form the cookie dough into balls and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 14-16 minutes, turning the pan once to ensure even baking.

Ginger Pumpkin (or Apple Cinnamon) Truffles.

Just when I was getting used to Fall, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of an Indian Summer.  It hit 82 degrees today!!  I was incredibly unprepared wearing jeans and a t-shirt at the park this morning and ended up a big sweaty mess.

But despite the warmer temps, I’ve completely crossed over into Fall mode:  We’ve switched out our Summer candles to Autumn scents, my sweaters and sweatshirts have found their home again in the closet, and the necessity for all things pumpkin and apple has set in.

In years past I’d heard of there being a pumpkin shortage, where the shelves of all grocery stores were devoid of pumpkin and everyone freaked out, hoarding cans if they happened upon them.  Living in Chicago, I laughe since cans of pumpkin were always readily available whenever I needed them.  That was, until last week as I stood in the baking aisle staring at the empty shelf in front of me.  I was dumbfounded, but had better luck at another store nearby.  I may have hoarded a few cans myself…  You know, just in case.

Seemed only fitting that this week’s recipe swap theme was Pumpkin/Apple recipes.  These truffles were little balls of goodness, the essence of Fall in two or three bites.  Because of my little pumpkin scare, I picked up a can of apple pie filling, which I also used to make a few Apple Cinnamon Truffles.  They were equally delicious, so feel free to substitute to your heart’s content if all of the pumpkin in your area has been hoarded by freaks like me.  :o )

Ginger Pumpkin (or Apple Cinnamon) Truffles – slightly adapted from Cooking with Christen

  • 1 Package Golden Oreos
  • 6 oz. Cream Cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup Pure Pumpkin Puree (or Apple Pie Filling that has been pureed)
  • 1 tsp. Ginger, divided
  • 2 Packages White Chocolate Baking Bars
  • 2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • Crushed Pecans, for garnish

Add the Oreos to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fine crumbs form.  Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl) and mix together with the pumpkin (or pureed apple pie filling), cream cheese and 1/2 tsp. ginger.  Once combined, use a cookie scoop to form into small balls and place on a plate.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes, until firm.

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper and set aside.  Melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring after each time, until fully melted.  Stir in the cinnamon and remaining 1/2 tsp. ginger.

Remove the balls from the fridge and dip into the chocolate, making sure they are coated evenly.  Place on the wax paper and repeat until all balls are covered in chocolate.  Sprinkle pecans on top and refrigerate until hardened.

Apple Cinnamon Bites.

One of my favorite things about September is the abundance of apples everywhere.  Each year, we pack up the car and drive about an hour and a half to our favorite little orchard and farmstand where we pick apples straight from the trees, take a hay ride out to the pumpkin patch, drink cider and eat cinnamon sugar covered donuts to our hearts’ delight.  To me, it is the absolute signification that Fall is truly here.

This year, however, September seems to have gotten away from us and we have yet to make the trip out to the orchard.  I know we’ll get there eventually, but I’d hate to have a repeat of last year where we waited too long and the trees were picked bare.  It’s just not as much fun to dig for apples in a giant bin.

So in order to get my apple fix before we head to the orchard, I found a great recipe for Apple Cinnamon Bites from Everyday Insanity, another blog that participates in the Secret Recipe Club.  Unfortunately, the blogger who was assigned Cindy’s blog didn’t follow through, and when our fearless leader Amanda emailed me looking for a volunteer, I jumped at the chance to make sure that Cindy wasn’t abandoned during today’s group’s reveal.   She’s been making these for over 32 years, and that’s a sure sign that they would be nothing but delicious.

And they were!  I had just happened to pick up a couple of Honeycrisp apples at the market and was super excited to try to replicate just a bit of the goodness we are so used to while tiding us over until we get to the orchard.  I was really intrigued by her method of making the dough in the food processor instead of the stand mixer and found it was another great way to create tasty treats.  The Husby walked into the kitchen just as I had finished topping the bites with the cinnamon sugar and when I turned back around, 3 of them had disappeared.  And I may have have a few of them myself before I could snap a picture.  I’m pretty sure they’ll be gone before tomorrow morning.

Apple Cinnamon Bites – slightly adapted from Everyday Insanity

  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Butter, cold
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider
  • 2 Small Honeycrisp Apples, shredded
  • Melted Butter
  • 1/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar in a food processor.  Process for 30 seconds, then add butter and process again another 10 seconds.

Mix together the egg, milk, apple cider and shredded apple then add to the processor and process for 10 seconds.

Scoop a small spoonful of batter into each muffin tin and bake for 12-14 minutes.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Mix together the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl then dip each muffin top into melted butter and roll in the cinnamon sugar mixture.



Gnocchi Mac and Cheese.

It’s starting to feel like Fall and I couldn’t be more excited.  With the slight chill in the air, I pulled on a hoodie (A HOODIE!) and jeans (JEANS!) and marched over to the Coffee Devil (you know the one) to order my first of very, very many Pumpkin Spice Lattes this season.

With Fall also comes the cravings for comfort food.  My favorite comfort food?  By far, I’m a fan of all things Macaroni and Cheese.  So when Tina of Mom’s Crazy Cooking invited me to join her Crazy Cooking Challenge in search of the ultimate Mac and Cheese, I screamed YES (well, actually I sent her a very calm email thanking her and expressing my interest).

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So the ULTIMATE mac and cheese?  I found it on The Cutting Edge of Ordinary, a new-to-me blog written by Lisa, a fellow curly haired mom who adores all things chocolate.  This lovely dish replaces your ordinary noodle with mouthwatering, light and fluffy gnocchi.  And just when you thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, I made it even better.  Because bacon makes everything better, right?  And caramelized onions?  Drool.

I even attempted to make my own gnocchi but I undercooked my potatoes so I used the packaged kind.  The end result was rich and decadent and reminded me of a loaded baked potato.  It’s the perfect “adult” mac and cheese, an elegant meal for a special occasion and a far cry from your ordinary Blue Box.

Gnocchi Mac and Cheese – adapted from The Cutting Edge of Ordinary

  • 1 Lb. Gnocchi
  • 6 Slices Bacon (I use Nueske’s – it’s the best!)
  • 1 Sweet Onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. Butter
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 Sage Leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1 Tbsp. Ground Mustard
  • 1/2 Cup (or more) Gruyere Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 Cup (or more) Fontina Cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 Cup (or more) Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium low heat, turning frequently until crisp.  Transfer bacon to a paper towel lined plate, chop and set aside.  Add onion to the skillet with the bacon grease and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and caramelized, anywhere from 10-30 minutes.

Drop the gnocchi into a pot of salted boiling water and cook until they float to the top, 2-3 minutes.  Drain in a colander then return gnocchi to the pot.

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Stir in the garlic and sage and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the flour and whisk until it bubbles, then add the milk and ground mustard.  Cook until slightly thickened, about 3-5 minutes.

Add the gruyere and fontina and stir until melted.  Mix in the bacon and caramelized onions.  Pour over the gnocchi and stir until combined.

Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to a lightly oiled baking dish and cover with the parmesan cheese.  Bake until the cheese is golden and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Don’t forget to check out the other entries below and vote for your favorite!!