Tasty Treats for the Spookiest Season

My favorite time of year has finally settled in and restaurants and bakeries are in full swing of selling pumpkin flavored everything. The air has begun to turn brisk in the evenings and sometimes there is nothing better than curling up in the evening with a book and a hot drink. Even better are all of the fall goodies that you can make! Below are easy recipes for my top five favorite Fall treats.

Spiced Apple Cider
To me, nothing is more seasonal than a mug of hot apple cider. Not only is it amazing on a cold night but also it is easy to make and can be prepared in big batches for entertaining.
Bring 1 bottle of apple cider to a boil in a medium saucepan. To the apple cider add 2 tablespoons of whole cloves, 1 tablespoon allspice and 2 cinnamon sticks. Boil for 5 minutes and immediately strain through a sieve into a glass pitcher.

Pumpkin Cookies
This is my grandma’s recipe for pumpkin cookies. She would let us mix in the chocolate chips and always let me eat the raw cookie dough (something my mom wouldn’t!)
Preheat the oven to 350º. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together 1.5 cups of butter, 2 cups of brown sugar, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1 can of pumpkin and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until thoroughly mixed. In a separate bowl, mix 4 cups of flour, 2 cups of oats, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice (equal parts of cinnamon and nutmeg work if you don’t have the spice mix). Mix wet and dry ingredients together and add 2 cups of dark chocolate chips. Mix until thoroughly incorporated (no dry clumps of flour!). Place spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets and bake for about 10 minutes or until golden. Remove from the trays and cool on wire racks.

Pumpkin Spiced Granola with Pumpkin Seeds and Pecans
This delicious granola is easy to make and eat!
Preheat the oven to 325º. In a large bowl mix together 2.5 cups of oats, 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup of chopped pecans, 1 cup of pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and a pinch of salt. In a saucepan on low heat, mix together ½ cup of honey, 1 small can of pumpkin, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Whisk until the honey just starts to become runny. Mix honey mixture into oat mixture and spread in an even layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes stirring every 10 and then add in pepitas. Bake for another 20 minutes or until golden.

Homemade Caramels
Make these in advance and wrap them in wax paper for a tasty Halloween treat!
In a large saucepan, melt 1 cup of butter. Add 1 package of brown sugar and a pinch of salt to the melted butter and stir. Add 1 cup of light corn syrup to the mixture and gradually add 1 can of sweetened condensed milk to boiling mixture making sure to consistently stir. Boil for about 15- 20 minutes until mixture reaches a dark golden color and starts to firm. Stir in 1 teaspoon of vanilla and spread mixture into a buttered baking dish. Wait for caramels to cool and cut into squares.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Rosemary and Sea Salt
As a kid, I used to carve pumpkins with my parents. We would always roast the seeds afterwards in humongous batches that would be gone within a few days!
Preheat the oven to 325º. Mix 1.5 cups of raw pumpkin seeds, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, and 1 teaspoon of salt and spread over a baking sheet in one single layer. Bake until golden brown stirring every 10 minutes. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of crushed rosemary on the seeds halfway through baking. Serve warm.


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