Archive for: fall
The seasonal Harvest Bites Cakelette Pan from Nordic Ware is a fun pan for fall entertaining. The heavy duty, nonstick pan bakes up two dozen miniature cakes in classic autumn shapes at one time. The shapes include pumpkins, walnuts, pinecones, and acorns. Each cakelet is about the size of a mini muffin cavity, so the baking time and the amount of batter that you’ll need to create them is about the same. They’re cute enough to stand on their own, but the small shapes can also be sandwiched together with a filling or frosting to create 3D cakes that are even cuter.
If you sandwich the mini cakes together, the resulting 3D cakes will look surprisingly realistic. The sizes of the cakes are just about right to make convincing stand-ins for acorns, walnuts and small pumpkins. A spice or gingerbread cake batter will give your harvest shapes a convincing color, too. There is a lot of detail in the designs, but the nonstick finish on the pan helps them to come out cleanly and preserve the tiny lines and leaves. Still, you’ll want to grease and flour this pan before using just to be on the safe side.
I can’t resist putting pumpkin into all kinds of goodies during the fall. Pumpkin pie is a classic, and pumpkin soup is a great choice for something savory, but there are all kinds of other pumpkin goodies to make if you get a little creative. A batch of Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies is a great way to use up a little bit of leftover pumpkin puree if you have some sitting around after making other pumpkin recipes. The easy-to-make cookies fill both a pumpkin and a chocolate craving, and don’t need much pumpkin to have a fall flavor.
The cookies are soft and chewy, but not cakey, and they are just packed with chocolate chips. Pumpkin has a fairly mild flavor, so I added traditional pumpkin pie spices – cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg – to the cookie dough to draw more attention to it. The spices really add character to the cookies and blend well with the chocolate. You can still taste the oatmeal in the cookies, too, which adds a nice nuttiness to the mix. I prefer quick cooking oatmeal in these cookies and find that you get the best texture in the finished cookies with it. If you only have whole rolled oats, simply pulse them in the food processor a few times to break them up a bit.
I definitely recommend using semisweet or dark chocolate chips with these cookies for the best results, as milk chocolate can be a little too sweet with the pumpkin and the spices. Nuts would be a great addition, however, and could add a nice crunchiness to the cookies. To add the nuts, just replace about a half cup of the chocolate chips with chopped, toasted pecans or walnuts. This cookie recipe can be doubled easily if you want to make a big batch, and the cookies store well for several days when stored in an airtight container.
Fall is baking season, a time when you want to start filling your house with fresh pies and the smell of warm spices after a hot summer where you might not have wanted to turn on your oven at all. It is easy to get into the feel of fall, and that is probably why there are so many fall-inspired baking pans out there. Fortunately, any excuse to bake during the season is a good one, and a new pan is a great excuse to have. The Autumn Mini Cakes Pan from Wilton is definitely fall-inspired. The pan bakes up tweleve single serving cakes in the shapes of acorns, leaves and pumpkins. Each design has a lot of detail, which means that the cakes don’t even need to be decorated to have a treat that is perfect for the season.
The pan is made of cast aluminum and it has a nonstick finish. Since there is a lot of detail here, it would be a good idea to grease and flour the cavities of this pan just to ensure that all the nooks and crannies of the cakes come out clean. It would be perfect for baking spice cake, gingerbread, pumpkin cake or anything with maple flavoring.
Fall holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving prompt the creation of all kinds of shaped baking pans. While there are all kinds of pans available during the rest of the year, the number of pumpkin and other fall themed pans reflects how closely we associate certain icons with the fall and that many of us do more entertaining – from small dinners to big parties, from just family to a big crowd of friends – than we do at other times of the year. I suspect that cakes baked in the Dimensions Mini Pumpkins Pan will be a hit wherever they’re served. This funky looking pan doesn’t waste any space on filler between the pumpkins, but instead looks like a pumpkin patch captured in heavy duty cast aluminum. The pan bakes eight half pumpkins for a total of four 3D miniature pumpkin cakes. You can use any cake flavor so long as you fill the cavities no more than two thirds full (to avoid having the cake overflow the molds during baking), though pumpkin cake seems like a natural choice for these. The pan gives them a well defined shape and even bakes the design of a stem surrounded by leaves on the “top” cakes.
After they have cooled the cakes can leveled with a sharp knife and can be sandwiched together with a small amount of icing or caramel sauce. Green icing could highlight the “leaves” on the pumpkins, or you can plate them as-is to create your own edible tabletop pumpkin patch.
The only thing better than a slice of freshly baked apple pie is having a whole pie all to yourself. That said, it can be a little daunting (and probably a little unfair to everyone else who wants a slice of pie!) to tuck into an entire 9-inch apple pie with no one to share it with. The solution is to bake a half dozen Mini Apple Pies so that you can have your own apple pie and still share with friends and family.
These mini apple pies have a buttery pastry crust enclosing a filling made with apples, brown sugar, cinnamon and a touch of vanilla. Unlike full sized pies, where the filling bakes while the pie is in the oven, this filling needs to be prepared on the stove top because there isn’t enough time for the apples to completely soften in the oven with the mini pies’ short baking time. The advantage to making the filling in advance is that it can be made several days in advance and stored in the fridge, so you will have less prep work to do when you’re ready to bake those pies.
I used my Breville Mini Pie Maker to bake the pies pictured here, but this recipe can easily be prepared in a more conventional mini pie pan or baked inside of a nonstick muffin pan. The pies will all have slightly different shapes and baking times that will differ by a couple of minutes, but they will all turn out to be just as delicious. Depending on the size of the pan you use, you might be able to squeeze the crust for one additional mini pie out of the all butter pie crust dough recipe, too. The instructions that accompany the full recipe below give details for baking the pies in the oven, as opposed to a counter top pie-making appliance. I recommend opting for a plain top crust, but if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also assemble mini lattice pie crusts for your pies.
I like to dig into these pies while they are still warm and the center just oozes all over the plate. There is a great ratio of flaky crust to apple filling, too. You could theoretically hold one of these pies in your hand and eat it on the go, but I like to take a more traditional route and serve them with some vanilla ice cream on the side. Leftover pies can be stored at room temperature and they can be reheated by popping them into a preheated oven (375F) for a few minutes to crisp up the crust before enjoying the next day.