Is it just my imagination or have apple dishes taken a back seat to pumpkin spiced EVERYTHING over the past few years?! I have always loved pumpkin treats! I have shared that love here many times. I have made pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin waffles, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pies, pumpkin crisp, and pumpkin fudge. I have decorated with pumpkins. I have dressed my children as pumpkins. I’ve even supported pumpkins for a cause!

So, yes, I guess it is safe to say the apple has taken a back seat to the pumpkin. Let’s not forget this fabulous apple cake recipe or these applesauce cookies with frosting that is to die for! We have also had apples in savory dishes and “craft” projects.

Last fall, I purchased this lovely cookbook. (Ha! It didn’t come with Pork Chop Tuesday on it.)

Fall Baking

The pictures were all so lovely, and the recipes all looked so yummy!

The first one I tried was Cream Cheese Oat Bars. They were delicious! I didn’t think the name was quite right though, so I renamed them Apple Butter Bars. It was nice to have a non-pumpkin fall treat.

Apple Butter Bars

I had every intention to blog about these bars last fall. The above photo is from a couple of weeks ago. I was not happy with the ones I took last year. I tried to be all fancy–like I was a food stylist or something.

acorn plate

hay bales and denim

The lighting wasn’t right. My “props” weren’t quite right. Blah, blah blah!

So, my pictures sat there in my to-do file for a year.

This year I had plans to make the photos better, complete with step-by-step photos.

pantry ingredients

chopped cashews

I got as far as the chopped cashews and forgot to take any more photos. I started to scrap the whole post.

The recipe is just too yummy to not share. I hope you will try it along with some of the others listed at the top of this post.

Apple Butter Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups quick-cooking oats

2 cups chopped salted cashews

1 cup sugar

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 cup butter, melted

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 T lemon juice

2 tsp vanilla

2 cups apple butter

•Preheat over to 350˚. Spray a 9×13 inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.

•Stir together flour, oats, cashews, sugar and baking soda. You’ll want to use a pretty big bowl.

•Add melted butter and stir well.

•Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture to used as the topping.

•Press the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan.

•Bake 15 minutes. Cool completely.

•Beat cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl at medium speed until creamy.

•Add eggs one at a time . Beating well after each one.

•Add the lemon juice and vanilla. Beat to combine.

•Spread apple butter over the cooled crust. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the apple butter. Sprinkle the reserved oat mixture on top.

•Bake until cream cheese layer is set–35-40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

It’s funny the things you save.

I was recently going through a stack of papers, okay–recipes, when I came across this…

Kindergarten Kaleidoscoope

This was the weekly newsletter sent out by Megan’s kindergarten teacher–2002!!! Yes, I have a senior!

We loved Union Elementary. It was a small school in the country. We moved back to Arkansas right after school dismissed for the summer. Our only experience there was Kindergarten, but we loved it!

I remember the Fall Fun Fest. I remember the kids being excited. Grammy had sent Halloween shirts. They arrived just in time for the Festival. Megan wore her orange headband. Of course, Katie had to have one too, even though she hardly had any hair.

halloween sisters

kindergarten party

scary face

moon

scary face 1

Oh, we had such fun! We were so busy having fun, there was no time for pictures. Seems like Chip was helping some of the other Dads with some of the games. I was doing good to keep up with the kids.

On the back of the weekly newsletter was a recipe. That is why I saved it, of course!

Pumpkin Pancakes with Pumpkin Maple Sauce

Some of our weekend plans got cancelled. The air was cool and crisp. It was the perfect day to try out the Pumpkin Pancakes recipe. It only took me 12 years!

Pumpkin Pancakes topped with nuts

from above

We took advantage of the weather and enjoyed breakfast on the porch. Ahhh, fall!

Pork Chop Tuesday on the porch

Pumpkin Pancakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 3/4 cups milk (I used almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • a little butter for the pan

Mix the dry ingredients. Mix the wet ingredients. Mix the wet with the dry.

Pour on a hot, greased skillet. Turn when you start to see bubbles.

Pumpkin Maple Sauce

  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/4 cups pumpkin
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Heat ingredients in a saucepan until warm.

(The Sauce seemed more like a pumpkin butter to me. I bet if you added a little cream to it, it would be more “saucy”.)

Top with toasted pecans!

Do you remember this picture from a couple of posts ago? Well, here is the recipe!

These Applesauce Cookies are out of this world! The recipe comes from the Chef in Training blog. She has some great looking recipes on her blog. I hope to explore more when I have time.

Applesauce Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
2 cups applesauce (I used unsweetened applesauce.)
4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves (I accidentally looked at the line for the cinnamon that said 1 tsp and added 1 tsp of cloves! At first I panicked and tried to scrape out some of the ground cloves. Seeing that it was an impossible task to complete, I decided to leave it. It made for a tasty cookie! I think I will always make it that way.)

•Preheat oven to 375˚
•In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and cloves.  Set aside.
•Cream together sugar and shortening
•Add eggs and applesauce and mix well
•Add in dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated
•Drop small spoonfuls of batter on greased cookie sheet
•Bake at 375˚ for 8-10 minutes

While cookies are cooling, prepare frosting.

Can we talk about this frosting a minute? It is so yummy! I happen to love caramel and pralines and toffee, all that salty-buttery-sweet stuff. This is just heavenly! I had a little leftover after frosting the cookies. I could not stand to throw it away. It was just that good! I have tried it on animal crackers. Yummy!

Caramel Frosting

6 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar

•In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine butter, heavy cream and brown sugar.
•Cook, stirring occasionally until mixture just begins to boil;  remove from heat and stir in vanilla.  Let cool, then stir in the powdered sugar.
•Spread frosting on cookies

When I made these cookies, it made 63 medium-sized cookies. I let the frosting set overnight before trying to store them. I stored the cookies in a couple of plastic storage boxes with parchment paper between the layers. The frosting did not get squished or smeared. The cookies kept their freshness well. They were best, however, while the frosting was still a little gooey and dripping down our arms!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Cookies like these could make apples obsolete.

Megan: These cookies are definitely up to par with the Cookie Jar. (from Joanne Fluke’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder)

Katie: These cookies are way awesome with a glass of milk. They’ve got to be one of my favorite types of cookies!

Right now I am supposed to be either loading the dishwasher, cheering on the Razorbacks, or baking cookies to take to a friend’s house later. But I’m not. I’m sharing this yummy recipe with you! (Go, Hogs!)

This recipe was in the October 2010 issue of Southern Living. (Yes, that is the actual page out of the magazine. You can see where I folded down the corner of the page and where I ripped it out of the magazine.) Check out the recipe here or click on the picture below. This was my first attempt at this recipe. It was ooooo, la, la!

Fresh Apple Cake

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 4 large), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch thick wedges

•Preheat over to 350˚.

•Bake pecans in a single layer in a shallow pan 5-7 minutes or until toasted and fragrant, stirring halfway through.

•Stir together butter and next 3 ingredients in a large bowl until blended.

•Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; add to butter mixture, stirring until blended.

Next come the apples. Apples have been rather expensive lately-$1.69 a pound! I don’t remember exactly how much apples were when I bought them, but I am telling you I DID NOT pay $1.69 a pound!

They are happy looking though, aren’t they. I love my little basket with the ceramic handles. I think my friend Tammy Shumake gave that to me. (insert a warm, fuzzy smile here)

Back in my days as a Pampered Chef consultant, the Apple Peeler/Corer/Slicer was one of the stars of the catalog. Can you tell I’ve had mine a while? I’m missing one of the little feet off of the stand.

It really is a cool tool. It was always a crowd- pleaser at parties. It does just what the name says. It peels, cores, and slices all at the same time! However, this tool is not required for this recipe. Duh, like you really thought it was!

After you have done all your peeling and such, cut the apples into smaller pieces.

•Stir in the apples and 1 cup of the pecans. (Batter will be very thick, similar to a cookie dough.)

•Spread batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.

•Bake at 350˚ for 45 minutes or do that toothpick thing.

•Cool completely on a wire rack. If you don’t cool completely, your frosting will be all melty and you don’t want that!

Now, here comes the really cool part. There were three different frosting recipes to choose from for this recipe—

Browned-Butter, Dark Chocolate, or Cream Cheese! click the picture-the recipe link in the second paragraph will take you to all three frosting recipes, too!

I chose the Browned-Butter Frosting. Doesn’t it just sound yummy?!

I had never “browned” butter for anything—at least not intentionally.

Browned-Butter Frosting

1 cup butter

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

•Cook butter in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly, 6 to 8 minutes or until butter begins to turn golden brown. Remove pan from heat immediately, and pour butter into a small bowl. Cover and chill 1 hour or until butter is cool and begins to solidify.

With my lack of butter-browning experience, I was not very confident about my butter. Was my golden brown the golden brown it was supposed to be?

Here is what my butter looked like after a stint in the fridge. What am I supposed to do with all that junk in the bottom of the bowl?!

I think maybe I needed to let my melted butter solidify a little longer, then scoop it out and leave the crumbs behind. Nobody said that in the recipe!

• Beat butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy; gradually add powdered sugar alternately with milk, beginning and ending with powdered sugar. Beat mixture at low speed until well blended after each addition. Stir in vanilla.

I’m really thinkin’ that I needed a little more milk in my frosting. It was VERY YUMMY, but it was kinda hard to spread. A few more pecans wouldn’t have hurt my feelings either.

By the time I finished writing this post, the dishes got loaded, the Hogs won, and the cookies got baked and taken to the friend’s house. I’m sure you feel better knowing that. haha

Critics’ Corner

Chip: It was good.

(This short response is a personal protest! I accused him of “taking over my blog” because he wrote a long comment for the Apple Slaw.  Therefore, he got all sassy and wrote this short comment. I even asked him at press time if he wanted to add anything.  A curt “NO!” was all I got.)

Megan: This dessert has captured the essence of fall. It was a superb masterpiece.

Katie: It felt like it was fall. All I needed was a cup of apple cider! I savored every bite.