Kick Off The Holiday Season With These Fall Favorites
Three homemade recipes to spice up the autumn
November 3, 2022
With the fall season in full swing and cold weather fast approaching, it is officially time for the warm comfort foods of autumn.
I present a relatively thin cookbook filled with the flavors of my family and fall. I hope to bring warmth to homes all around the Park Cities.
These recipes come from my family and hopefully will become part of yours. Whether you enjoy spending time in the kitchen or not, my recipes are suitable for all skill levels and are sure to please everyone. The recipes satisfy those who have a sweet tooth or anyone in need of an autumn themed dessert.
Chocolate Pecan Pie
Every Thanksgiving in my house is the same. We spend hours preparing the food and when the feast is over and done with, my stomach is stuffed full. I am forced to sit and listen to the dull conversations that many adults love having on Thanksgiving, however, my boredom is worth it because in a short while, it will be time for desserts. Thanksgiving and desserts means chocolate pecan pie, my favorite fall treat.
I’ve loved chocolate pecan pie for as long as I can remember. I don’t think I have ever experienced a fall without this buttery delicious dessert.
This recipe is similar to the common pecan pie, but it has chocolate chips and a hit of bourbon. It is rich, thick and tastes great with whipped cream.
My dad was the first to make this pie in the early 2000’s. A few years back, I was helping him make it and the sugar mixture was taking a long time to cool, so we left the pot outside in the 40 degree weather to cool faster. You have to let the sugar mixture cool completely before mixing it with the eggs or it will scramble the eggs. I sat with the pot for at least 30 minutes because I was so scared it would blow away.
I prefer to use pre-made pie crust rather than homemade. However, if you do go that route, don’t make a graham cracker crust or bake your crust before putting in your filling because it will burn to a crisp.
The pie does include alcohol, which is fully cooked when served. You can use bourbon or whiskey to make the filling. If you don’t want an alcohol flavor, I would cut down the amount used. Instead of a ¼ cup just use two to three tablespoons.
I also advise you to make the pie a day in advance so the filling has enough time to completely solidify. This pie is great served cold or warm and is sure to be a success at any fall event. Whether it’s Thanksgiving or just a family dinner on a weeknight , this pie is the best.
1 cup sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
½ cup butter (1 stick)
4 eggs lightly beaten
¼ cup bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup pecan pieces
1 unbaked pastry shell fitted in a 9-inch deep dish pie plate
Preheat oven to 325 F
Combine sugar, corn syrup and butter in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved.
Let the sugar mixture cool.
Beat eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add sugar mixture, beating well with a wire whisk.
Disperse the chocolate chips and pecans evenly in the unbaked pie crust then pour your liquid mixture over top, letting it run through the cracks and spaces of the pecans.
Bake the pie for 50-55 min or until the crust is golden and pie filling is solid. If the crust gets too brown before filling is solid, take the pie out and wrap foil around the crust.
Spiced Candied Nuts
Making spiced nuts is an annual tradition for my grandma. She makes a huge batch and sends them off to friends and family while of course keeping a few for my brother and I. When she makes them, the cozy and comforting aroma wafts throughout the entire house.
These spiced nuts were a part of my grandma’s childhood. Her father, my great grandfather, used to get tons of business gifts. One year, it was a giant box of spiced nuts. They received them every year and eventually my grandmother moved out and forgot about them until the ‘90s when they popped up again. She has made them every year since as gifts and to keep around the house.
These nuts are really great by themselves as a quick snack, but could be put some in trail mix, granola, on top of a salad or just served at a party. They are particularly popular with my family during the holiday season.
To make these nuts you only need a few simple ingredients including a mix of nuts, spices, an egg and sugar. You can use any nut you like as any kind works well with this recipe.
When whipping up your egg whites, you want them to be frothy and not stiff peaked or simply unwhipped. Frothy eggs should have a layer of bubbles at the top, but should be relatively the same runny and liquidy texture of a normal egg.
Feel free to add whatever spices you prefer, such as nutmeg or ground cloves for a more fragrant approach. If you aren’t a big fan of spice, cutting out the chili powder is an option, but with the little amount that’s added, the spice level shouldn’t be a problem.
Mixing your nuts around while baking is especially important to make sure the sides of the nuts on the pan aren’t getting too caramelized. You can just pull the rack out of the oven slightly to stir the nuts or, to avoid potential burns, take the whole pan out and stir on the counter.
If you are looking for a small present for neighbors or extended family, this is a fantastic option.
(Makes 4 cups)
⅔ cup sugar
2 ¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
1 ½ teaspoon chili powder
1 large egg white
4 cups mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, and/or pistachios)
Preheat oven to 300 F and line baking sheet with parchment
Mix sugar, salt and all spices in small bowl
In a large bowl, whisk egg white until frothy then mix nuts in and toss till evenly combined.
Sprinkle sugar mixture over nuts and mix together.
Spread nut mixture evenly over the baking sheet and bake till dry for about 45 min, stirring once or twice.
Let cool to room temperature.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
I have never been to a pumpkin patch, but if I ever did, I could guarantee that my family’s pumpkin chocolate chip cookies would taste the same. When I hold one of these cookies, I can just imagine walking through rows of vibrant pumpkins of all different sizes. Big ones, small ones, white ones and even the ones with all those little warts on them.
These cookies originated and are inspired by one of my neighbors who I haven’t seen in years. One year, right at the beginning of fall, my neighbor invited me over to make an assortment of pumpkin treats, such as pumpkin cookies and bread. I fell in love with the pumpkin cookies we made and didn’t have them again until last year when my grandma randomly brought home a can of pumpkin puree. I made a batch of cookies and so my favorite cookie was born.
The pumpkin in these cookies makes them very cakey instead of thin and crisp, almost like biting into the top of a muffin. The cookie is great at absorbing an impressive amount of coffee, as the medley of sweet and bitter flavors is simple, but fabulous.
I really enjoy them with tea or coffee while I am watching “Gilmore Girls” or other fall-like television shows. Many pumpkin dishes like pumpkin bread are great, but the simplicity and taste of this recipe is superior to all other pumpkin recipes out there.
These cookies can be made in under 45 min if you are in a rush and are best served warm.
The recipe for these cookies is pretty straightforward and similar to most cookies recipes. You beat the butter, pumpkin, an egg and sugar together. Then add all your dry ingredients. Make sure you start with one cup of flour and add another ½ cup if the dough is too sticky. While mixing the chocolate chips into the batter, make sure not to over mix, as over-mixed cookie dough causes them to over spread and become tough.
These cookies always bring back fond memories of my childhood. Every time I mix the pumpkin and flour together, stir in the chocolate chips and pour in the sugar, I am brought back to my old neighborhood and friends.
½ cup butter (1 stick)
½ cup canned pumpkin
⅓ cup white sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon cloves
Add however many chocolate chips you want
Beat butter and pumpkin together with an electric mixer until barely combined.
Add both sugars and beat until combined.
Mix egg and vanilla until they become lighter in color.
Combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves in a medium bowl.
Pour flour mixture into butter mixture all at once and stop when the flour is not visible.
Fold in chocolate chips and scoop batter onto a parchment lined pan.