Fall is, without a doubt, my favorite of all the seasons. I live for cozy nights in illuminated by firelight (which I sorely miss at my chimney-less apartment). But what my home lacks in fireplaces, it makes up for in having a fully-functioning kitchen! I hated not having access to a stove or oven my first two years at school; I’m a cook and a baker, through and through. So now that I finally have a kitchen to call my own, I’ve been making ample use of it. (Sorry to my roommates for making tons of baked goods that I force you to eat!). And now that it’s finally starting to feel like fall in Chicago, I’ve been whipping up all the autumnal goodies. Read on for my favorite fall recipes!
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Muffins
I looooove flavored breads; banana bread is one of my all-time favorite
breakfast foods desserts. But when October rolls around, I reach for pumpkin bread instead. Or, in this case, pumpkin muffins (they’re much easier to grab and go on my way to class!). Wanting to go the slightly healthier route, I searched around for a recipe that included whole wheat, natural sweeteners and fewer bad-for-me fats. The recipe I ultimately loved was an adaptation of Peanut Butter Fingers’ whole wheat pumpkin muffins. These muffins are moist, soft and not too sweet – although I highly recommend sprinkling them with cinnamon sugar for extra goodness.
Yield: 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey (may be decreased for a less-sweet muffin)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk eggs, pumpkin puree, honey and vanilla extract until combined. Add in coconut oil and continue whisking until completely combined.
- Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
- Scoop the batter into muffin tins and bake 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.
- Allow to cool slightly, then remove from tin.
These taste best served warm with a hot cup of coffee! Which brings me to my next recipe…
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte
I don’t know about you, but I cannot function without a cup of coffee to start my day. I have a 12-cup coffee maker that no one in my apartment but me uses (usually because I drink it all before anyone else is awake). So when Starbucks released the PSL (sorry, I’m basic and I have no issues with it) in early September, I took that as a sign that I could start drinking my fall flavors every morning, too. But because I’m not about to spend $4+ on a single cup of coffee, I decided to start making my own. This recipe is super simple and the warmth of the spices makes my usual morning beverage much more seasonally appropriate.
Yield: Approx. 12 oz of coffee
1 cup brewed coffee
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar or three packets of Stevia
- Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan.
- Continuously stir and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat.
- Take the saucepan off heat. Strain, if desired (sometimes the pumpkin puree can lend a grainy texture to the coffee).
- Pour into coffee mug and top with whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon, or both!
Snickerdoodle Mug Cookie
More than five years ago, right when mug desserts (single-serving desserts cooked in the microwave in a coffee mug) started getting really popular, I found the best recipe for a chocolate chip mug cookie on No. 2 Pencil. But while I like chocolate chip cookies, I love snickerdoodle cookies, especially for fall.This recipe is adapted from No. 2 Pencil’s Snickerdoodle Cookie in a Cup and takes about five minutes to bake – pretty amazing, if you ask me.
Yield: 1 cookie
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
1 heaping tablespoon dark brown sugar
Pinch of salt
⅛ teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, plus additional to top
1 egg yolk
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
- In a microwave safe mug, melt butter.
- Add sugars to butter. Stir until combined
- Add salt, vanilla and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon and stir until combined.
- Stir in egg yolk.
- Stir in flour.
- Top cookie dough with a couple dashes of cinnamon and microwave 45-60 seconds. Cookie will be soft and very hot when done, and will firm up as it cools.
Cinnamon Sugar Pecans
This next recipe is honestly addictive. (And have you noticed that cinnamon is a recurring theme?) These pecans take a little bit longer to bake, but only about 10 minutes of that time is prep.
Yield: 1 pound pecans, about 12 servings
1 egg white
1 tablespoon water
1 pound pecans, halved
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 250°F. Grease one baking sheet.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk egg white and water until frothy.
- In a separate bowl, combine sugar, salt and cinnamon.
- Add pecans to egg whites, stirring to coat evenly. Remove pecans and toss in sugar mixture until coated.
- Spread pecans on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Last but not least – and yet another cinnamon recipe, (what did you expect, it’s fall!) – are these cinnamon brownies. These are fudgy, chewy and seriously the best brownies I’ve ever made.
Yield: 16 brownies
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 8×8″ baking dish with foil, leaving approx. 2″ of overhang. Coat with nonstick spray.
- Combine sugar, cocoa, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Pour butter in a steady stream into dry ingredients, whisking constantly.
- Whisk in vanilla.
- Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each.
- Add flour and stir until just combined.
- Pour batter into pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until top begins to crack and a toothpick inserted comes out with just a few crumbs.
- Allow to cool completely in pan. Lift brownie out of pan using foil overhang. Cut into 16 squares.
I’d love to hear your favorite fall recipes (dessert or not). I’m always looking to add to my recipe index!