7 Easy Fall Treats

If you’re looking for ideas for sweet fall treats, here’s a roundup of some I’ve made before. They’re fun and colorful and very easy to make, which is a plus! Have fun trying some of these out!

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Candy” Corn Pay” Day Mix for sweet-and-salty lovers, and just 2 ingredients–candy corn and peanuts! This is probably the easiest treat you’ll ever make! Pack some up in treat bags to give away.

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Candy Corn Trail Mix is also really easy and yummy, made with Golden Grahams, pretzels, peanuts, golden raisins, dried cranberries, sunflower kernels, M&M’s, chocolate chips, and candy corn, of course!

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How about some Owl Cupcakes? Yummy and chocolatey, with Oreo Cookie and M&M eyes!

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Candy Corn Bark will satisfy any sweet tooth and is a feast for the eyes with all the colorful goodies in it!

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Candy Corn–Peanut Popcorn Balls are super fun and make great homemade treats!

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Candy Corn M&M’s Crispy Bars are definitely hard to resist!

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And Acorn Treats are so much fun–they’re the perfect bite-sized treat!

These are all so yummy! Have you tried making any of these treats before?

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Big and Small Things

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The God who created, names, and numbers the stars in the heavens also numbers the hairs of my head….He pays attention to very big things and to very small ones. What matters to me matters to Him, and that changes my life.

ELISABETH ELLIOT

Linked to Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Caramel Apple Coffee Cake

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Caramel apples are the best…I love the combination of gooey, buttery caramel and crisp, slightly sweet and tart apples. Yum! What could be better? Maybe nothing. Or maybe this Caramel Apple Coffee Cake! It has yummy bits of caramel and chopped apple, and a sweet, crunchy, brown sugar/oatmeal topping. There’s also some Greek yogurt mixed in the cake batter to make it extra moist. It’s a great combination, and it tastes best served warm, while the caramel bits are still soft and gooey. It makes a sweet autumn breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or tea!

This recipe also gave me a chance to try some samples of butter I had received from Président® Premium Butter–they had sent me a Butter Bar, a tub of Spreadable Butter, and a container of their Sea Salt Butter. It definitely is a premium butter–made from cultured cream–and is so good, whether you use it in baking, cooking, or just as a spread on crackers or bread. It’s actually the #1 butter in France. I used some butter from their unsalted butter bar for this recipe.

CARAMEL APPLE COFFEE CAKE by NancyC

Makes an 8 x 8″ coffee cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup chopped, peeled tart apple (I used a Granny Smith apple)
  • 2/3 cup Kraft Caramel bits

Topping:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
  • 1 Tablespoon butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8″ baking pan; set aside (if you use a 9 x 9″ pan, your cake will be thinner and baking time will be a little less; I think this works best with an 8 x 8″ pan).

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl, whisk the egg, milk, yogurt, melted butter, and vanilla, blending well. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chopped apple and caramel bits.

Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Combine topping ingredients and sprinkle evenly over batter.

Bake at 350˚F for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting. Serve warm.

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I had to do quite a bit of experimenting with this coffee cake before it came out right and my taste-testing friend Rick helped me refine it. I really appreciate those friends who taste-test for me and fortunately, they never seem to get tired of it! :) Have you been baking any caramel-apple flavored desserts?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener and Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy.

Pumpkin Spice Granola

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After making a few pumpkin recipes that didn’t require much pumpkin, like the Pumpkin Pie Latte and the yummy Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars, I still had some pumpkin to use from the can. So I decided to continue with the Pumpkin theme and try using it in granola! This is a pretty basic recipe as granolas go, with oats, hulled pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chopped pecans, and dried cranberries. And it’s spiced up cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin pie spice. You can also add in other things like coconut flakes or sunflower seeds if you like. The hulled pumpkin seeds I used were already roasted and lightly salted, which worked really well in this granola. If you use raw hulled pumpkin seeds, you may want to add an extra 1/4 teaspoon salt to the recipe.

These dry ingredients are coated with a pumpkin-maple-honey-brown sugar coating. With those yummy fall flavors, it’s a great granola to make this time of year! Note: this is a lightly-sweet granola, so if you like yours really sweet, you may want to add an extra Tablespoon or two of brown sugar.

PUMPKIN SPICE GRANOLA by NancyC

  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas–I used roasted and lightly salted pepitas)
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil (or coconut oil, melted)
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Line a large 13 x 18″ rimmed baking sheet or two 10 x 15″ rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In large bowl, mix the oats, pumpkin seeds, pecans, cinnamon, nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, and salt together until combined; set aside.

In medium bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, honey, oil, and brown sugar until smooth and well blended. Pour over dry ingredients in large bowl and mix until everything is moistened and evenly coated.

Spread evenly onto lined baking sheet or sheets and bake at 325˚F 40 minutes total, stirring the granola after 20 minutes for even baking.

Remove from oven and let granola cool on baking sheets for 20 minutes (the granola will get crunchier as it cools). Transfer granola into a large bowl and stir in the dried cranberries.

Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Serve with yogurt, milk, or eat it plain as a healthy snack!

I really like making pumpkin flavored things this time of year! Have you made any unique pumpkin breakfast dishes this fall?

Linked to Fiesta Friday at The Novice Gardener, Inspire Me Monday at Create with Joy, and Thursday Favorite Things at Katherine’s Corner.

Pumpkin Pie Magic Bars

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Have you ever heard of a “Dessert Mash-Up”? If you haven’t, it’s simply a yummy creation of two different desserts combined into one! It’s also the name of a new cookbook that has recipes like Blueberry Muffin Waffles, Pumpkin Cheesecake French Toast, Chocolate Cheesecake Sandwich … Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie Latte

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I was ready for a nice coffee break last weekend ago and decided to treat myself to a Pumpkin Pie Latte. No, I didn’t go to a coffee shop for my latte–I made it right at home, and it was really good! I … Continue reading

Apple-Zucchini Bread

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Apple-Zucchini Bread just seems so perfect for this time of year–early fall is when I’m inspired to bake apple-flavored things! This recipe not only has apples, but zucchini, too, which is great–you can never have enough good zucchini recipes for all that … Continue reading

Pumpkin Pie Dump Cake

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I think the term “dump cake” is a little misleading–it just doesn’t sound very appetizing! It’s true that you do kind of “dump” most of the ingredients into a large bowl, stir them together, and pour in a pan…and then just sprinkle on the toppings–in … Continue reading

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

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I love baking with sweet potatoes–I’ve made Sweet Potato Bread, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Loaded Sweet Potato Muffins, and Sweet Potato Cinnamon Cake… so I thought it was about time to try a sweet potato pound cake! I found a great-sounding recipe at Taste … Continue reading

Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread or Dip

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After I made my Pumpkin Hummus, I had half of a can of pumpkin left over. What to do with it? I thought some of it might be good in a cream cheese spread. I was inspired by this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens. I wanted to sweeten the spread with honey instead of sugar (although you could use brown sugar instead if you want to have a thicker spread) and made some other changes, and this is what I ended up with!

It’s a lightly sweet and spicy spread with a very creamy texture that’s great on bagels or pumpkin bread for breakfast. Or, use as an appetizer spread on crackers or as a dip for fruit. It’s very soft and creamy when you mix it up so it does need to be refrigerated for at least an hour or two after mixing. Even after it’s refrigerated, it’s more creamy than other cream cheese spreads I’ve made–so if you want a thicker spread, use brown sugar instead of honey and omit the vanilla. If you don’t have all the spices I used in this, you can use 1 1/4 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice.

PUMPKIN SPICE CREAM  CHEESE SPREAD by NancyCreative, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens

Makes 1 1/2 cups

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 3 Tablespoons honey (or substitute brown sugar for a thicker spread)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

In medium bowl, blend all ingredients together until smooth (if using an electric mixer, blend on medium speed). Pour mixture into a small serving bowl, then cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Makes about 1 1/2 cups of spread. Serve on bagels or pumpkin bread for breakfast. Or, serve as an appetizer with crackers or apple and pear slices.

If you like pumpkin-flavored things, you’ll need to try this out! What other ways do you like to use leftover canned pumpkin?

Pumpkin Hummus

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I started eating hummus about 10 years ago. A coworker and friend of mine made the best hummus, and he’d bring me some every so often. And I have been a big hummus fan ever since! I usually make this hummus recipe, but I thought I’d try making some hummus with pumpkin in it for the holidays. I liked most of the ingredients in this Pumpkin Hummus recipe and this one, so I used them as a starting point. I really like this Pumpkin Hummus! It’s a great healthy dip–really smooth and creamy, with a light pumpkin, savory taste. Perfect for balancing out all those holiday sweets! If you’re making this for a party or large group, you may want to double the recipe.

PUMPKIN HUMMUS by NancyCreative

Makes about 4 to 6 servings

  • 1 (15-ounce) can garbanzo beans (also called chickpeas), drained
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/4 cup tahini (sesame paste)
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or a little more, to taste)

Add all ingredients in a food processor, starting with the garbanzo beans, and process until smooth.

To serve, spoon out on a platter or in a small bowl. Sometimes I garnish it with a little paprika. Serve with veggies, crackers, or pita bread.

It’s nice when a dip that tastes good is healthy, too! What are some of your healthy holiday snack recipes?

I Will Give Thanks

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This chalkboard art is available on Etsy at Lily & Val.

“I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart….The Lord is gracious and merciful. He provides food for those who fear him; He remembers His covenant forever. He has shown His people the power of His works, in giving them the inheritance of the nations. The works of His hands are faithful and just….” PSALM 111:1, 4-7 (ESV)

Wishing you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Sourdough-Sage Dressing

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I’ve just recently discovered how much I like making recipes with fresh sage! After making some White Cheddar and Sage Biscuits, I was wanting to try something else with fresh sage. While I was looking through recipes, I also found out, conveniently, that my friend Denise had a big patch of sage growing in her garden and she was willing to share it! She said her plant is very hearty and stays alive through the winter. So, here’s what I came up with…Sourdough-Sage Dressing…because I thought sourdough bread would be a great combination with  sage, onion, and celery.  There’s also fresh parsley in this–I have parsley growing in a pot and it’s great to always have it on hand! This dressing is very buttery and savory…so if you like that type of thing, you really must try this!

I also learned something new when I was deciding what to name this recipe. I wasn’t sure if I should call it dressing or stuffing, because I didn’t know what the difference was. Well, I found the answer at eHow.com–dressing and stuffing differ in these ways:

Preparation: The key difference between dressing and stuffing is the method of preparation. Dressing can be prepared separately from the bird on the stove top, either from scratch or a store-bought mix. Stuffing, however, is made by stuffing the mixture into the cavity of the bird and cooking them in the oven together. 

Time: Another difference between stuffing and dressing is in the time needed to prepare it. Stuffing inside the bird must be cooked as long as the bird needs to cook, and also increases the cooking time of the bird. Dressing can be made quickly on the stove top or in the oven; either way it will take less time than stuffing.

Flavor: Stuffing made inside the bird can pick up flavors from the bird and impart flavors to the bird. This may be desirable or undesirable depending on the method of preparing the bird. The flavor of dressing depends solely on its ingredients.

So this recipe is definitely dressing. Consider yourself informed on the dressing/stuffing question! :)

SOURDOUGH-SAGE DRESSING by NancyCreative

Makes a 9 x 13″ pan, about 8 to 10 servings

  • 1 loaf sourdough bread (my loaf was 1 lb. 4 oz. and I did not use the end slices), with slices cut into 1″ pieces (or you can cut them smaller if you want)
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/3 cup celery, finely chopped
  • 4 to 5 Tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 4 Tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped (or use 4 teaspoons dried parsley)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth (this dressing can be a little on the dry side in some places, so if you like your dressing more moist, add an extra 1/4 to 1/3 cup chicken broth).

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Spread out pieces of bread onto a large baking sheet and let dry out at least 6 hours or overnight.

In large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, then add olive oil and stir to blend well. Saute onion and celery in this mixture until tender.

In large bowl, mix together bread pieces, onion-celery mixture, sage, parsley, salt, and pepper (and garlic powder, if using), tossing to coat all the bread pieces. Spoon this mixture into a 9 x 13″ pan and pour chicken broth evenly over entire mixture. Cover with foil and bake at 350˚F for 30 minutes, uncovering the last 10 minutes of baking time. Serve immediately.

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This would be a great Thanksgiving side dish, if you’re still looking for ideas! Are you making dressing or stuffing for your Thanksgiving meal?

Candy Corn M&M’s Crispy Bars

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Crispy bars are great, and I think they’re even better when you make them with extra add-ins! Last winter, I made some Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cup Crispy Treats which were really good, so I thought I’d try an autumn version with candy corn. I found this recipe at MyRecipes.com which had both candy corn and M&M’s. I thought I’d add some chopped peanuts in there, too, since I like the candy corn-chocolate-peanut combination. You could use cashews instead of peanuts, if you like. I also changed the amounts of some of the ingredients from the original recipe, which I’ve noted in my version below. If you like sweet-and-salty treats, I think you’ll like these, although they’re more sweet than they are salty. If you’d like them saltier, you could add a little less candy corn or M&M’s, and a little more chopped nuts to the crispy treats mixture. If you prefer your crispy treats all sweet, you can omit the nuts and add in some extra candy corn or M&M’s. I liked using the M&M’s Minis in these treats, but you can also use the regular size M&M’s.

CANDY CORN AND M&M’s CRISPY BARS by NancyCreative, adapted from MyRecipes Makes a 9 x 13″ pan

For Bars:

  • 5 1/2 cups rice cereal
  • 3/4 cup candy corn
  • 3/4 cup M&M’s Minis (or regular M&M’s)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely-chopped salted peanuts (or cashews)
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 (10-ounce) bag miniature marshmallows

For Chocolate/Candy Corn Topping:

  • 1 cup white semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup candy corn

ncCndyCrnMMBrs2nmSpray a 9 x 13″ pan with nonstick cooking spray, grease well with butter, or line pan with parchment paper; set aside (I lined my pan with parchment paper).

In a large bowl, add the rice cereal, candy corn, M&M’s, and nuts. Stir these dry ingredients with a large spoon, until all ingredients are blended well; set aside.

Melt butter in large sauce pan over low heat. Add marshmallows, stirring constantly until completely melted and well-blended with the butter, about 3 to 3 1/2 minutes. Pour melted marshmallow mixture over the cereal/candy/nut mixture in the large bowl. Immediately stir mixture until all the dry ingredients are coated with the marshmallow mixture.

Using a buttered spatula or waxed paper, press mixture evenly and firmly into  your greased or lined 9 x 13″ pan. Then top with chocolate/candy corn topping.

To make the topping, microwave chocolate chips for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave another 30 seconds and stir, continuing this until chocolate chips are completely melted and smooth–about 2 minutes (be careful not to overcook)! Stir in coconut oil while chocolate is still warm, blending well (the coconut oil helps make the chocolate more drizz-able). Drizzle melted chocolate diagonally over crispy mixture in the pan, and sprinkle the candy corn evenly on top. Then drizzle another layer of chocolate on top of that, going the other direction diagonally, for a cris-cross effect.

Let crispy mixture and topping cool and set, then cut into bars (you can refrigerate them to help them set more quickly, for about 30 minutes). These are best eaten the same day; you can store for up to 2 days at room temperature in an airtight container.

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Crispy bars are so quick and easy to make! Do you like your crispy bars plain or with add-ins?