My Autumnal Kitchen

Let the fall baking season commence!  This wonderful little cold front has my mind turning to thoughts of fall baking and holiday cooking, but rather than actually baking, I suppose I'll take a healthier route and simply share some favorite recipes!   More to come throughout the season...


These can be prepared a day ahead and placed in the fridge.   Just reheat them before serving!
This is a standard recipe for our family for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even Easter.   When you look closely at the ingredients, you'll see why this is a special dish that only needs to be eaten a few times a year!   Be sure to cut the apples and sweet potatoes as directed; they will cook better and make a nicer presentation.

Use an apple corer to remove the core and slice apples into rings.   I used a cannoli form to remove the core.

2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup butter
1/2 cup apple cider (not juice & not the instant packets)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large Braeburn or other cooking apples, cored and cut into 1/2" rings

Cut sweet potatoes in half crosswise.   Cook in boiling water to cover 10 minutes.   Drain and cool.   Cut crosswise, into 1/2" round slices.
Combine brown sugar and next 3 ingredients in a med. saucepan.  Bring to a boil; boil 10 minutes.   Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
Layer sweet potato and apple slices in a greased 13 x 9 baking dish.   Pour glaze over slices.   Bake, uncovered, at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until potatoes are candied and glaze is thickened, basting with glaze after 30 minutes.   Yield: 8 servings   from Christmas with Southern Living 2002

Around September, I usually begin serving simple apple-cinnamon iced tea (from Celestial Seasonings).   The aroma as it brews just makes me happy! 

This is a delightful party punch for the season.   Cut back on the sugar if you prefer unsweetened, or less sweet tea.   

5 tea bags
5 cups BOILING water
5 cups unsweetened apple juice
1-2 cups cranberry juice (adjust to preference; it can be overpowering)
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Place the tea bags in a large heat-proof bowl; add boiling water.   Cover and steep for 8 minutes.   Discard tea bags.   Add the remaining ingredients to tea; stir until sugar is dissolved.    Serve warm or over ice.


If you don't like to bother with making pies (the horror!) or your local pie baker has too many other orders to fill, try these bars as an alternative.   I made these before I learned to make homemade pie dough.   Adding mini chocolate chips to the mix makes them even better!   Cut them into squares and arrange them in a covered cake plate for a beautiful addition to a holiday buffet.

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt

3/4 cup butter or margarine, cut up                                            
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup butter or margarine
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; cut in 3/4 cup butter thoroughly with a pastry blender until mixture resembles very fine crumbs.   Press mixture evenly into a greased 13 x 9 pan using a piece of plastic wrap to press crumb mixture firmly into pan.   Bake at 350 degrees for 17 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.
Pastry blender

Combine brown sugar, corn syrup, and 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan; bring to a boil over med. heat, stirring gently.   Remove from heat.   Stir one-fourth of hot mixture into beaten eggs (if you dump it all in, you'll have scrambled eggs); add this back into remaining hot mixture.   Stir in pecans and vanilla.    Pour filling over crust.   Bake at 350 degrees for 34 to 35 min. or until set.   Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.   Cut into bars.   Yield: 16 large bars   from Christmas with Southern Living 2000

My mom always prepared this in one of those disposable aluminum roasting pans and she stored it in her trusty big Tupperware bowl to keep it fresh.    The boxed and bagged varieties won't taste the same after you've made your own.

7 1/2 qts. popped corn (28 cups)
2 sticks butter or margarine (the recipe in her hand reads "oleo," as did many of her recipes)
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 cup spanish peanuts

Boil butter, sugar, salt, and Karo 5 minutes, while stirring.   Beat in 1 Tbsp. soda and the spanish peanuts.   Pour over popcorn.   stir.   Bake 1 hour at 200 degrees.   Stir every 15 minutes.

For anyone who likes spice cake, this recipe is for you.   Mama always made this during the fall and cut it into small squares, each with a pecan half in the middle, for a nice presentation.

1 egg
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup drained sour pie cherries
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened

Mix ingredients well and bake 40 min. at 350 degrees.

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
6 Tbsp. milk
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

Melt butter.   Add brown sugar and salt.   Boil hard for 2 minutes.   Stir constantly.   Remove from heat and add milk.   Bring to a full boil, while stirring.   Remove from heat and cool until lukewarm.   Add powdered sugar.

This is my all-time-favorite recipe for pumpkin bread.   The combination of chocolate and pumpkin is delicious in this and other recipes!

Makes 2 8 x 4 - inch loaves

4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1/2 cup water
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
1 cup PLUS 2 Tbsp. miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 Tbsp. chopped pecans
2 tsp. sugar

Heat oven to 350 degrees.   Grease bottom only of two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans; lightly flour (or spray bottoms of pans with cooking spray; do not flour).

In medium bowl, stir flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg until mixed; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat 2 cups sugar and the butter with electric mixer on medium speed 1 to 2 minutes or until creamy.   Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Beat in water and pumpkin on low speed.   Add flour mixture; beat on low speed about 1 min. or until moistened.   Stir in 1 cup of the chips.   Spread evenly into pans.   Sprinkle tops with remaining chips, the pecans, and 2 tsp. sugar.

Bake 1  hour 5 min. to 1 hour 15 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.   Cool in pans 10 mins; remove from pans to wire rack.   Cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours.   from Gold Medal's Fall Baking


  1. I will surely try the pecan pie bars! I do make my own pie crust, but this sounds like a yummy alternative to my favorite kind of pie! My mama and your must have shared this caramel popcorn recipe, as this is the one I got from Mama's cookbook (alot of her recipes, too, say "oleo" instead of margarine). By far, the best caramel popcorn I've ever eaten.

  2. These recipes sound wonderful!

  3. The applesauce-cherry cake sounds like the recipe I got from Aunt Pat years and years ago, probably before you were born!....I loved that cake. Haven't made it in years! Don't know if Aunt Louise got it from Aunt Pat...or Aunt Pat got it from Aunt Louise! I need to dig through my recipes and see if it is the same one.... It is delicious!!!!!


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