Tag Archives: fall baking

How to Make Apple Juice and Other Questions About Fall’s Favourite Fruit

Move over, pumpkin – it’s time to talk about that other autumn classic: apples. Whether you’re looking to whip up a piping hot cider or want to get your bake on with a fresh batch you recently picked from the orchard, there’s a plethora of ways to incorporate apples into your everyday meals. One of the most important factors, however, involves proper preservation. (Say goodbye to the dreaded browning).  From cider recipes to apple-related hacks, we answer some of your biggest questions about everyone’s favourite fall fruit.

How to Make Apple Juice

If you’ve already had your fill of apple pie and apple dumplings in recent weeks, it’s time to satisfy your cravings with the season’s fruit favourite another way: homemade juice. (Psst, it’s also a lot easier to make than you’d think — and doesn’t involve a blender or juicer).

1. Wash, quarter and core the apples, making sure to remove all the seeds. Peeling isn’t necessary, it’s baker’s choice.

2. Add apples to a pot of water (just enough liquid to cover the fruit, otherwise your juice will turn out too watery). Boil the apples for 20-30 minutes, until soft.

3. Slowly pour contents from the pot into a mesh strainer with a bowl underneath, gently mashing the softened apples with the back of a large spoon or ladle. The juice will be filtered while the apple mush remains behind.

4. Once the juice is cooled, add sugar or cinnamon, depending on personal preference.

5. Keep refrigerated and enjoy within one week of making.

Related: The Pioneer Woman’s Irresistible Apple Desserts

How to Make Apple Cider

If you’ve been apple picking lately, grab the largest pot you own and get simmering! (Hot tip: if you like your cider sweet, opt for the Fuji, Gala or Red Delicious varieties, while those who prefer their cider tart should go with McIntosh, Granny Smith or Pink Lady apples).

1. To start, add quartered apples, one sliced orange, one piece of peeled ginger, one tablespoon of black peppercorns, two cinnamon sticks, two teaspoons of cloves and a half cup of brown sugar to an oversized pot.

2. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Let it simmer for at least two hours. Alternatively, you can do this in your slow cooker for up to five hours. Although there are 15-minute variations for apple cider, more time in the pot or slow cooker will allow all the flavours blend together and will leave your kitchen smelling divine.

3. Strain apple mixture through a sieve, discard solid pieces and serve hot. Bonus: freshly made apple cider can last for up to two weeks in the fridge! Find more apple cider recipes to try this fall.

Want to try the “grown up” version? Get the recipe for Nancy Fuller’s Sparkling Apple Cider or if you’ve got extra time on your hands, try the Slow Cooker Hard Cider variation pictured above.

Related: Refrigerator Rules: How Long Do Leftovers Last?

How to Freeze Apples

If you’ve picked more than your usual amount of apples from the orchard this year, don’t let all that fine fall fruit go to waste. There’s a simple hack that will preserve your leftover apples for up to a year!

1. Peel and core apples, cutting them into thin eighths or bite-size chunks – baker’s choice.

2. Once all the slicing and dicing is done, give them a five-minute soak in a water and lemon juice mixture – the lemon will help prevent browning.

3. Once drained, arrange each piece on a baking sheet (to stop them from sticking together) and freeze overnight.

4. The next day, transfer the slices or chunks to an eco-friendly freezer bag or container labelled with the date. The beauty of this food hack is that you can freeze your apple slices for up to one year and it won’t dilute the taste!

Get the recipe for Hasselback Apples Topped With Coconut-Oat Streusel

Related: This Clever Trick Will Prevent Freezer Burn for Good (and Major Food Waste)

How to Keep Apples From Going Brown

Ah, the dreaded browning process. Think of how many apples it’s ruined over the years. Luckily, there’s more than one simple hack that’ll help you preserve fall’s most iconic fruit.

1. For same-day usage, soak sliced apples in lemon juice – the citric acid will help slow down the browning process leaving your apple pieces looking fresh and crisp for several more hours.

2. Out of citrus? Another option is to soak the apple slices in a bowl filled with one cup of cool water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let them float for about 10 minutes before storing in an airtight container for up to a week. Worried about a salty aftertaste? Fear not! That leftover brine comes off with a simple tap rinse.

3. If you’re looking to pack or use an entire apple, slice it into quarters and then put it back together before wrapping a rubber band around it. The band will ensure your ready-to-eat slices aren’t exposed to the air.

Get the recipe for Bobby Flay’s Apple Pancake Bars With Brown Butter Crumble Topping

Related: 10 Brilliant Ways to Use Fruit That’s Going Bad

Don’t know the difference between butternut and acorn squash? Our ultimate squash guide breaks it down for you. You can also keep your green thumb happy this autumn by learning how to grow fall vegetables.

First two images courtesy of Unsplash.

Savoury Pumpkin, Feta & Sage Muffins You’ll Crave More Than Cornbread

It’s fall, so you know what that means: cue pumpkin everything! But instead of opting for all the sweet treats, think savoury for a change. We wanted to make a muffin that would stand up to its cornbread contender and taste equally full-flavoured with hints of sweetness. The marriage of pumpkin, feta and sage makes for a sweet, salty and earthy flavour that achieves just that. A quick tip: when buying pumpkin puree, grab the unsweetened, sugar-free stuff. And, if you like a little extra texture, you can always dice up about 1 cups’ worth of pumpkin or butternut squash, roast it and fold it into the batter along with the feta and sage for extra bite. Slather some butter on these when warmed, or eat them as is – either way, they make for the perfect addition to your autumn menu.

Savoury Pumpkin, Feta & Sage Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 9 muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp sea salt
Pinch of pepper
½ cup + 2 Tbsp pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp almond milk
1 tsp maple syrup
½ cup crumbled feta
2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
3 Tbsp pumpkin seeds

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, milk and maple syrup). Then pour the dry ingredients into the wet bowl and mix to combine. Fold in the feta and sage.

4. Oil a muffin tin or add liners to them, pour about ¼ cup of batter into each muffin hole.

5. Top the muffins with pumpkin seeds and bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Ensure the muffin tray is placed on the top rack of the oven to prevent the bottoms from burning.

We’re here to keep you salivating with these 20 perfect pumpkin recipes that aren’t dessert. Still craving sweets? Try these 30+ warm and cozy fall treats.

Pumpkin S’mores Sheet Cake is the Fall Dessert to Make This Season

Just when you thought you’d heard of all the pumpkin spice desserts out there, let us introduce you to this Pumpkin S’mores Sheet Cake. Anything baked in a sheet pan is already party-ready, but top it with silky ganache and fluffy, marshmallow-like frosting and it’s definitely a celebration. Dotted with chocolate chips and punctuated with show-stopping toasted meringue, this recipe is sure to impress this fall.

Pumpkin S’mores Sheet Cake

Bake Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 12 to 16

Ingredients:

Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp pumpkin spice
½ tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cups brown sugar
14 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 cup chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
6 ounce bittersweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
3 ounces heavy cream

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
3 large eggs whites
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-by-13-inch cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin spice and salt. Set aside.
3. Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the eggs, granulated sugar and brown sugar together on medium speed for 3 minutes, or until pale in colour. Mixing on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bottom of the bowl.
4. With the mixer on low speed, add in half of the flour mixture. Stream in the melted butter and mix until combined. Add in the remaining flour and mix until just barely incorporated. Add in the pumpkin and mix until combined. Stop the mixer and fold in the chocolate chips.

5. Tip the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
6. Allow the cake to cool completely before spreading the top with the Chocolate Ganache Frosting. Allow the ganache to set (at room temperature or in the refrigerator) before topping with the Marshmallow Meringue Frosting. Use an offset spatula or the back of a spoon to make swirls and peaks with the meringue. Gently toast the meringue with a culinary torch.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting
1. Place the chocolate chips and butter in a heat-safe bowl.
2.
Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until it just begins to simmer. 

3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and butter. Let stand for 30 to 60 seconds, then whisk until smooth.
4. Allow ganache to thicken before using (at least 30 minutes at room temperature, or 20 minutes in the refrigerator, stirring every 5 to 10 minutes).

Marshmallow Meringue Frosting
1. Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Stir to gently combine. Fill a saucepan with a few inches of water and bring to a simmer. Place the mixer bowl on top to create a double-boiler.  Stirring intermittently, heat the egg mixture until it is 160°f on a candy thermometer.

2. Once the egg whites are hot, carefully move the bowl back to the stand mixer. Whip on high speed with the whisk attachment until the meringue holds medium-stiff peaks, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
3. Spread the meringue on top of the ganache, being careful not to disturb or mix in the chocolate layer underneath. Lightly toast the meringue with a culinary torch.

We’ve got plenty more pumpkin-spiced desserts to make you drool. Start with these 40 perfect pumpkin treats, before exploring these healthy (and genius) recipe hacks using a can of pumpkin and 20 pumpkin pie recipes (if the classic fall dessert is your thing).

Easy No-Bake Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

Get into the fall spirit with these simple no-bake granola bars with a pumpkin twist! While store-bought varieties are often filled with unhealthy preservatives, these homemade bars contain more wholesome ingredients. The end results produce a delightfully chewy, chocolate snack that encompasses all the cozy flavours of autumn. I recommend using almond butter, as it has a much more neutral taste than peanut butter. This recipe is also vegan and dairy-free, making it an ideal treat for everyone this season.

Easy No-Bake Pumpkin & Dark Chocolate Granola Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 60 minutes
Servings: 12 bars

Ingredients:

3 cups quick cooking oats
½ cups natural almond butter
¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup pumpkin puree
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground allspice
½ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions:

1. Grease an 8-inch square baking dish and line with parchment paper. Leave an inch or so of overhang for easy removal. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan over low heat, add the almond butter, coconut oil, pumpkin puree and maple syrup. Whisk until well blended.
3. Remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and all spice. Let cool slightly.

4. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl. Fold in the oats followed by the pumpkin seeds and chocolate chips.
5. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish. Press down gently to firm.

6. Let chill for 60 minutes in the freezer before slicing. To store bars, place in a lidded Tupperware. Can be refrigerated for a week or stored in the freezer for up to a month.

Get your pumpkin fix with these grain-free chocolate chip muffins, vegan pumpkin pie cups with coconut whip or decadent pumpkin pie swirl brownies!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cups with Coconut Whipped Cream

Pumpkin-flavoured everything defines the fall season, and pumpkin pie, the original, is no exception. This vegan version (in mini, bite-sized form!) uses coconut in a few different ways – flour, milk and sugar – to achieve a tender dairy-free crust, trademark custardy interior and must-have whipped cream topping. But rest assured, even with all of that coconut, the flavour is loud and clear: pumpkin pie with whipped cream!  The coconut is used for butteriness and richness, which vegan desserts require in order to achieve the familiar texture, taste and appearance of traditional baked goods. Spelt flour lends a nutty, wholegrain note to the pastry, but doesn’t have a too-strong flavour, like whole-wheat flour can. Spelt flour is also lower in gluten (not gluten-free), which means a more tender, flaky pie crust, naturally.   

Prepare the pastry the day before so it’s ready to take form in your muffin tin the day you want to serve these miniature vegan treats. Leftover pumpkin pie cups will last for one day at room temperature, or for a few days in the refrigerator. 

Vegan Pumpkin Pie Cups with Coconut Whipped Cream

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Chilling and Cooling Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Total Time:
 60 minutes (not including chilling and cooling time)
Servings: 10 to 12 pie cups

Ingredients:

Spelt Pastry:
1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups light spelt flour, plus more for rolling
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
Pinch, salt
1/3 cup cool coconut oil (solid but still scoopable); or cold unsalted vegan stick butter, cubed
2 tsp distilled white vinegar
1 to 5 Tbsp ice water

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
3/4 cup coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp coconut flour
2 tsp pumpkin spice, plus more to garnish
Pinch, salt
1 cup canned coconut milk (not light or reduced fat)

Coconut Whip:
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk, refrigerated for 24 hours, unshaken
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Garnish:
1/4 cup crystallized ginger pieces

Directions:

Spelt Pastry:
1. In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar and salt until combined. Distribute pieces of coconut oil or butter over top of flour and pulse until incorporated and a coarse meal forms. Sprinkle over vinegar followed by 1 Tbsp of water. Briefly pulse dough until it begins to hold together. If it’s too sticky, add more flour; if it’s too dry, add water 1 Tbsp at a time.
2. Tip dough onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a disc. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, up to 1 day.
3. Bring the dough out of the refrigerator and rest at room temperature until still cool but you are able to roll, about 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Sprinkle a large clean surface and rolling pin with additional flour. Unwrap dough and roll into a large, 1/4-inch-high round. Using a 4- to 5-inch cookie cutter or drinking glass, cut circles of dough, re-rolling as needed, for 10 to 12 circles. Fit circles into a 12-count muffin tin, removing any air pockets from the bottom. The pastry should be almost or just touching the top of the muffin rim.
5. Refrigerate formed pastry cups for at least 1 hour, or until completely chilled. Meanwhile, prepare the filling and coconut whipped cream.

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1. In a large bowl, whisk to combine pumpkin and sugar. Sift over coconut flour, pumpkin spice and salt, and then whisk again until smooth. Slowly whisk in coconut milk until fully incorporated.

Coconut Whip:
1. Remove coconut milk can from refrigerator (don’t shake) and open. Spoon only the thick creamy top into a bowl and reserve watery liquid below for another use (in baking, smoothies, soups or sipping).
2. With electric beaters, whip coconut cream until it begins to get fluffy with soft peaks, 2 to 3 minutes. Once desired texture has been reached, beat in maple syrup and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 1 day.

Baking and Assembly:
1. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Fill chilled pastry cups to the top with filling, smoothing slightly to flatten.
2. Bake for 15 minutes, rotate pan and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes until filling is dry to the touch and both the filling and pastry are beginning to brown. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the outside of each cup to loosen, and transfer to a wire cooling rack to cool completely, about 5 hours.
3. To serve, dollop cooled pumpkin cups with coconut whip and sprinkle with crystalized ginger and/or additional pumpkin spice, if desired. Enjoy immediately.

Looking for more vegan pumpkin recipes? Try these Vegan Pumpkin Scones with Maple Glaze or Vegan and Paleo Pumpkin Blondies.

Pumpkin Pie Bars

These Pumpkin Pie Bars Belong on Your Thanksgiving Menu

Pumpkin pie bars take your favourite fall slice and transform it into an easy, yet elegant, three-layer dessert These beautiful baked bars start with a buttery shortbread base, which is then topped with a creamy pumpkin pie filling before being covered with a generous nutty brown sugar crumble. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream or a homemade pumpkin spice latte, and slide into fall.

PumpkinPieBars-10

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Cool Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Makes: 15 to 18 bars

Ingredients:
Shortbread Base
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups all-purpose flour

PumpkinPieBars-1

Pumpkin Pie Filling
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1 (15 oz.) can pure pumpkin purée
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
2 large eggs
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Pecan-Hazelnut Topping
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup hazelnuts, chopped
1⁄4 cup brown sugar

Directions:
Shortbread Base:
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Line the bottom and sides of 9×13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour and mix on low speed until everything is combined. Press the mixture evenly into prepared baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes, until dry to the touch. Reserve for second baking with filling.
3. Increase oven temperature to 350°F.

PumpkinPieBars-4

Pumpkin Pie Filling:
1. In a blender or food processor or large bowl, combine all filling ingredients and blend until smooth.

PumpkinPieBars-5

2. Evenly pour filling over the baked shortbread base and smooth top with a spatula.
3. Bake at 350ºF for 20 minutes. Reserve for third baking with nut topping.

Pecan Hazelnut Topping:
1. In a medium bowl, combine nuts and brown sugar. Mix well.

PumpkinPieBars-8

2. Sprinkle pecan hazelnut topping in an even layer over baked filling layer. Bake for a final time for 15 to 20 minutes, until pumpkin pie filling has set.

PumpkinPieBars-12

3. Remove from the oven and cool for at least 1 hour at room temperature. Lift the parchment out of the pan using overhang, and transfer onto a cutting board. Cut into 15 to 18 bars or squares. Serve.

PumpkinPieBars-17

Of course, pumpkin pie bars are begging for little whipped cream. Master the basic technique (or fix an over-whipped batch) with this tutorial.