This post is a part of the Fantabulous Fall Favorites blog chain put together by a great group of bloggers. The theme this week is pumpkins. Be sure to check out all the great ideas shared at the end of this post!
I want to share with you the pumpkin cookies that my mom would make every fall. We loved eating them, and we loved decorating them. I have now continued the tradition and make them every year with my family.
This recipe makes about 30-34 big cookies! So I will take 10-12 of them with me to our Thanksgiving dinner for the kiddos along with pies for the adults. I take some to Sunday School along with breads for a breakfast treat. The rest we eat or share with neighbors.
You know that I love to freeze just about everything, so often I will make up these cookies ahead of time and freeze them. Then I will pull them out the night before I need them, and we will decorate them. Many times they freeze okay with the frosting, but sometimes the frosting along with the candies gets a little watery or gooey.
They are relatively simple to make, but the decorating can take a little bit of time–but that is what makes these cookies great: the whole family can have fun doing them together! I also say that they are healthy as they include oatmeal and pumpkin :). It doesn’t take much for me to say that something is healthy!
To make the cookies, there are a few basic steps:
Prepare the cookie dough. (See recipe below.)
Place 1/4 cup of dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet. I then take a butter knife or a cake decorating spatula and shape the dough into a circle using a little more dough for the stem.
Bake, then cool the cookies.
Decorate the cookies. I frost the cookies, and the kids will put faces on the cookies using M & M’s; chocolate, white, or butterscotch chips; and candy corn. You could use white or orange frosting for the face, and green frosting looks great for the stem.
Peanut butter could be used as the frosting if you would like a little less sugar in the cookie!
Making the Frosting:
I combine some powdered sugar with about 1 tablespoon of softened butter. I add a little bit of milk, and continue to add more milk until I get the desired consistency. I also add about a teaspoon of vanilla. It should not be runny, but it should still be easy to spread. The frosting will get harder (not wet) after it dries.
- 1 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 can 15 ounces solid pack pumpkin
- 4 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups quick oats uncooked
- 1 cup chocolate chips I use semi-sweet.
Cream butter and sugars.
Add egg and vanilla.
Alternately add pumpkin and dry ingredients.
Mix well and add chocolate chips.
Drop 1/4 cup dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet. Spread into pumpkin shape using a thin metal spatula, using more dough for the stem.
Bake at 350º for 25 minutes.
Remove and allow cookies to cool.
Decorate using icing or peanut butter to affix candies, raisins or nuts.
Interested in more amazing Pumpkins ideas? Check out these posts!
Still want more? Head to our Fantabulous Fall Favorites Pinterest Board!
It’s that time of year when caramel becomes king! I embrace this idea whole-heartedly as I absolutely adore caramel. I grab the bulls-eyes at parades and rob the kids’ goody bags (if I’m allowed to) as well as eat the caramels before I get around to making the desserts that I bought them for. Yes, caramel and I are BFF’s.
I do concede that I might be a little over the top; but surely, everybody loves caramel in the fall, right? So last week, I put on the recipe for caramel corn, this week I’m putting on the recipe I use for caramel dip for fruit, on October 18th I’ll put on a recipe for a caramely Candy Corn Popcorn Treats for a fall blog hop I’m participating in, and by Christmas time I’ll give you my recipe for Caramel Brownies. (You really didn’t know how serious I was when I said that I adore caramel, did you?)
Now even though I really, really like caramel dip, I really, really, REALLY dislike the prices that stores charge for those little 8 ounce containers of caramel. With a family of seven people, that little tub does not go far, and it’s probably 25¢ per tablespoon. I’m just too cheap for that. So I started googling for a caramel recipe, and one of the first ones I found was this Apple Caramel Dip below. It’s super easy to make; it makes a large amount; and it uses ingredients that you already have or, at the very least, are easy to find.
All you have to do is put the first 5 ingredients in a sauce pan, stir them over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved, which is pretty quick. Then remove from it from the heat and add the vanilla. Easy-peasy!
Now let me tell you a little secret: I pour half of the caramel into a different container while it is still hot and add peanut butter to it. YUM! (I also love peanut butter!) I like the Peanut Butter Caramel Apple Dip even better than the regular caramel dip–although both are great. There is no magic amount of peanut butter. Just spoon a couple of tablespoons in, stir it until the peanut butter is melted, and taste it. If you want more, put more in!
This recipe makes a lot of caramel–I have never measured the amount, but I would say probably around 4 cups. You can use it also as an ice cream topping or on top of other desserts. With caramel, the options are endless. And if you need a sugar-fix in the afternoon, a tablespoon of caramel by itself fits the bill. (Of course I would never have done anything like that. 😉 )
I dare you –make the recipe below, and you won’t be buying the store caramel apple dip anymore! It does not taste just like the store’s dip; but we love this dip just as much if not more than the store’s caramel dip.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 cups dark brown sugar It does make a difference if you use light brown sugar. It is more of a butterscotch flavor.
- 1 cup light corn syrup
- 2 tablespoons water
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk 1 can
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Cook the butter, sugar, corn syrup, water, and sweetened condensed milk over medium heat until all the sugar is dissolved, stirring continually. After the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat and add vanilla.
If desired, stir peanut butter to taste in part of the caramel.
This can be stored in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 weeks. Rewarm before use in the microwave or on the stove top.
So, do I have any caramel lover friends out there? What’s your favorite caramel food item that you like?
This recipe of caramel corn is a recipe that my mom has always done in the fall ever since I was a young girl.
People remember how yummy this caramel corn is and ask me about having some every year. Earlier this summer, a person was talking to me about how they came over and had my caramel corn and how she wanted to have some again this year. I truly don’t remember any of the occasion they were talking about–but they remembered the caramel corn!
I find that the caramel corn is very addictive for me, and I have to give some away so that I don’t eat it all! So every year I give some to my girls’s teachers. I shared yesterday how I recycle Pringles containers to put the caramel corn in.
This recipe really isn’t hard to make, and you probably already have the ingredients on hand! It just takes a little bit of time to cook.
Here is how you make Caramel Corn:
Pop 8 quarts of popcorn (I pop it in my hot air popper) and spread it in shallow pans.
Boil the other ingredients for 5 minutes. This will make the caramel mixture.
Pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir it to get the caramel mixture evenly distributed on the popcorn.
Bake at 250° for 1 hour.
- Boil for 5 minutes:
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 2 sticks butter
- 1/2 cup white corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon burnt sugar flavoring*
- Remove from heat. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon baking soda.
- Pour all ingredients over 8 quarts popped popcorn.
- *If burnt sugar flavoring is not available put 1 T. sugar (caramelized) into boiling mixture. (I don't even do this step at all, and the popcorn tastes great.)
Spread popcorn in shallow pans. (I split the popcorn between the two largest cookie sheets I have—pans similar in size to 18" x 12" or 17" x 11". I use cookie sheets that have 1" edges on them.)
I then pour the caramel mixture over the popcorn and stir it in the pans using a metal spatula. Bake at 250° for 1 hour. Stir several times. (I stir about every 15 minutes—so 3 times total.)
When it is done baking, stir so that the popcorn will not stick to the bottom of the pan.
Cool. Store in a covered container. The popcorn will stay good a long time when stored in an airtight container. (Maybe a month? It's always eaten before that in our house!)
Today, I finally switched over to my fall decorations, so I feel like making caramel corn or one of my fall recipes . . . but I first I want to share my family’s cucumber relish recipe with you. This is the canning time of year as produce is either ripe out of your garden, or it’s really cheap in the stores!
I only can 3 things: jalapeno salsa, cucumber relish, and applesauce. I’m not a huge canner; but I have to do something with the overabundance of tomatoes we get, we like to go apple picking and make applesauce as a family, and my mom tells me that relish tastes much better that is homemade.
I really wouldn’t know if homemade relish tastes better than store bought relish as I don’t like any thing that has been pickled; but my husband likes it, and I grew too many cucumbers one year as well, so I made relish out of them. It took us 5 years to run out of my stash of relish, so I made a batch of it again this year. I had planted my own cucumbers, but they did lousy in part to my terrible work in the garden. So I bought 4 large cucumbers at Aldi, and those cucumbers along with the 3 cucumbers I had were enough for a batch of relish.
This recipe is my grandma’s recipe. My mom grew up on a farm, and they had a huge garden and canned tons of food so that they wouldn’t starve in the winter. So although I am not an expert canner, I call my mom anytime I have a question.
Cucumber relish is relatively easy to make; in fact, it is much easier to make than jalapeno salsa. The recipe makes about 6 pints of relish. I already had chopped and frozen some red and green peppers, and I had all the other ingredients on hand, so for me the out-of-pocket cost for the 6 pints was $2.00. If you are in a farming community where you are able to receive extra produce for free or you grow your own produce, the cost is even cheaper (and the taste is supposedly much better!)
- 3 quarts ground up cucumbers peeled
- 4 onions diced
- 2 red sweet peppers chopped
- 2 green peppers chopped
- 1 hot pepper chopped
- 1/4 c. salt
- 2 cups cider vinegar
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons mustard seed
In my food processor, I chopped all my vegetables and put them in a big stockpot (around 6 quarts). You can also shred the cucumbers if you do not have a food chopper/processor.
Add enough water to cover the vegetables.
Add the salt and stir.
Let this mixture stand overnight.
Drain the vegetables.
Add vinegar, sugar, curry powder, and mustard seed.
Cook for 15 minutes at simmering boil.
After cooking, you can add green food coloring to look more like store-bought relish, if desired. If you want to avoid food coloring and be all-natural, that is fine too--it just will not be such a bright green color.
Add the relish to hot, clean canning jars. Screw on the lids. Put in a water canner with boiling water for at least 10 minutes. Remove from hot water. The inner seals should "pop" so that you know they are sealed. This relish will stay good for years as long as the seal is not broken!
These Rice Krispy spin-offs are one of my family’s favorite recipes for summer.
My mom has been making them for years; and I think she originally got the recipe from a Frosted Flakes cereal box, hence the name Tony Tiger’s Bites.
THEY’RE G…R…E…A….T! (Remember the Tony Tiger commercials :)).
They’re also very easy to make! And they are NOT gluten free. Pinterest has added that to my pins; but Pinterest is not always right. I’m sorry about that misinformation, but there is nothing I can do about it.
Just mix up the few ingredients and put it in a pan!
Melt the butter and marshmallows, remove from heat and add peanut butter.
Stir in the Frosted Flakes.
Pour mixture in a greased/buttered 13″ x 9″ pan.
Place waxed paper over the mixture and press it until it is flat and even.
When it is cool, cut into squares and eat!
- 10 ounces regular marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
- 1/4 cup butter 1/2 stick
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 7 1/2 cups or 10 ounce package Frosted Flakes cereal. I use Aldi's cereal.
Melt together marshmallows and butter.
After marshmallows and butter are melted, remove them from the heat.
Add peanut butter.
Once peanut butter is melted, add the cereal.
Stir gently until well coated.
Using a buttered spatula or wax paper, press the mixture into a lightly greased 13" x 9" pan.
This will make 32 bars if they are cut 1 1/2" x 2". (I cut mine bigger.) They are 90 calories each for the size listed.
Go HERE to see a few more of some of Creative K Kids’ favorite recipes:
I found a recipe for chocolate oatmeal cookie bars that used coconut oil. It is a lot like a recipe that I make quite often that I found in Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, 11th edition, called Chocolate Revel Bars.
This recipe sounded great; however, it only used an 8″ x 11″ pan. I knew that I wanted to take the dessert with me on our extended family vacation, so I wanted to use a bigger pan. I doubled the recipe and used a 15″ x 10″ x 2″ pan. The bars tasted terrific; and my mom, grandma, and I chose this dessert above the others whenever the cookie platter went by! I left a cool whip container full of them with my grandma so that she could have some dessert after we all left her–and she definitely wanted to have some left with her!
I love oatmeal in my desserts, but the ultimate seller of this dessert is the chocolate layer in the middle. Talk about scrumptious! Anyway, this recipe was a winner!
In the recipe below, I will give you the doubled measurements for baking these bars in a 15″ x 10″ x 2 pan. If you want to use a 8″ x 11″ pan, then either half the measurements below, or go to the well traveled wife’s recipe. I also will include my recipe for the Chocolate Revel Bars as it is so similar and does not use coconut oil (in case you don’t win my giveaway!)
- 1 1/2 cups coconut oil The original recipe said that you could use butter if you didn't have coconut oil; but, of course, I used coconut oil!
- 3 cups packed brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 3 3/4 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4 1/2 cups oatmeal
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk 14 ounces
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream together coconut oil, brown sugar, and eggs.
Add vanilla, flour, baking soda, salt, and oatmeal. Mix well.
Take 3/4 of the dough, and press it into a greased rectangular pan.
Set the remaining dough aside.
Make the filling--Melt chocolate chips, coconut oil, sweetened condensed milk, salt, and vanilla just until it is melted (do not boil!).
Pour the filling evenly over the bottom layer. (Make sure it is even by spreading it over the top.)
Take the rest of the dough, break it up, and dot it over the frosting. I would take a tablespoon and put tablespoons of the dough all over the top.
Bake at 350° for 20 minute (or until done--Since I doubled it, I cooked it for a few more minutes.)
Let it cool completely, then cut into squares. Eat them or you can even freeze them and eat them later!
Here is the recipe I have done for years that contains butter. It is delicious as well–but I really, really did like the coconut oil in the above recipe. You can’t lose with either recipe, and see how similar they are!
Chocolate Revel Bars:
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 2 cups packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces
- 1 (14-ounce can or 1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk or low-fat sweetened condensed milk
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional–I don’t use.)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Set aside 2 tablespoons of the butter or margarine.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the remaining butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.
- Add the brown sugar and baking soda. Beat till combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
- Beat in eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla till combined.
- Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Stir in the rolled oats.
- For filling, in a medium saucepan combine the reserved 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, chocolate pieces, and sweetened condensed milk. Cook over low heat till chocolate melts, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in the walnuts or pecans, if desired, and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
- Press two-thirds (about 3 1/3 cups) of the rolled oats mixture into the bottom of an ungreased 15″ x 10″ baking pan. Spread filling evenly over the oat mixture. Dot remaining rolled oats mixture on filling.
- Bake in a 350° oven about 25 minutes or until the top is lightly browned (chocolate filling will still look moist.) Cool on a wire rack. Cut into bars.
I think I’m a little crazy. . . and those who know me probably would agree!
Why, you ask?
Well, every summer I grow my own tomatoes . . . and I don’t really like tomatoes.
I grow my own tomatoes partly so I that I will be able to can my own salsa . . . and I’m not a big salsa lover!
Yeah, that’s weird.
The first year that I grew tomatoes, I had so many of them that I didn’t know what to do with them. So I asked a friend for her salsa canning recipe. Now I have made this salsa for four years, so when I recently used Aldi’s salsa in a recipe–I didn’t like the taste! So I decided that I better keep up the canning of my own salsa!
I use the salsa mainly in the different recipes I make that require salsa. I use it in my Make-Ahead Burritos and in my **slow cooker cheese dip** that I use with tortilla chips. **(I just put a 2 pound block of Velveeta cheese (Aldi’s generic version), one pint of my homemade Jalapeno Salsa, and 1 can of refried beans in a medium size crockpot. I heat it on low or high depending on how much time I have until the cheese is melted. I use this for large get-togethers!)**
Now, I have to add a few disclaimers about this salsa:
(I know I’m not selling this very well, but I’m trying to be brutally honest with my opinions! Some of you may love to can your food. I am neutral: I don’t love all the work, but I like the end result!)
- I have never tried another kind of homemade canned salsa, so I have nothing to which to compare my recipe.
- There is no magic amount of jalapeno peppers to add. Sometimes I get it a little spicy! (Which might be perfect for some people–I like my salsa mild!)
- It takes a long time to prepare. Every time I make it, I think, “Is all this work really worth it?” It is if you like the taste of it better than store-bought salsa (which I do), and if you like more organic/home-grown foods. There are no preservatives, additives, or food coloring. And it is a cost savings–even over Aldi’s salsa. However, it took me about 3 hours to do make 7 pints of salsa (12 cups of tomatoes). My tomatoes were small, so maybe it took me longer than it would if I had large tomatoes as I had to core and peel every single stinkin’ little tomato!
- I would highly recommend having a food chopper/processor. I used to only have a mini 2-cup food processor, and even that was wonderful in chopping all those vegetables/fruits. I burned up the little processor’s motor this past year and invested in a 9 cup food processor, and it was wonderful! I really admire all those homesteaders years ago who canned all their food–and did it all by hand. It makes me feel quite lazy every time I can salsa and complain how time-consuming it is!
Here is the original Jalapeno Salsa recipe as it was given to me– and then I will put in parentheses what I actually did. If I used the amount of jalapeno peppers that the recipe called for, I think I would be on fire forever! I rally don’t see how that could be the right measurement, but I’ll include it just for fun!!
- 3 cups chopped peeled, cored tomatoes (I did 12 cups of tomatoes. I would wash and core the tomatoes, boil hot water, pour it over the tomatoes, let them sit in the hot water for about a minute, then pour the hot water off, and peel the skin off the tomatoes. Then I would chop them. I would put the chopped tomatoes in my 8 cup measuring cup until it was full; then pour the tomatoes into a big six quart stockpot. When I got done with my tomatoes, I would adjust all my other measurements according to the tomatoes. So here, I had 4 times the amount of tomatoes, so I quadrupled the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the Jalapeno Peppers.
- 1 cup chopped onions I did 4 cups chopped yellow onions.
- 6 cloves garlic minced (I only minced about 19 cloves--so thankful for my garlic press, or buy the pre-minced garlic in a jar!)
- 2 tablespoons minced cilantro I did 8 tablespoons or 1/2 cup cilantro.
- 2 teaspoons oregano I did 8 teaspoons oregano.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt I did 2 tablespoons salt.
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin I did 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 cups chopped jalapeno peppers DO NOT QUADRUPLE THIS--CUT THIS WAY DOWN!!! I only did 2 cups of peppers for 12 cups of tomatoes, and it was still a little too spicy! Although it wasn't too spicy when it was in my cheese dip recipe. I think I should have only done 1 1/2 cups of peppers. ALSO--Make sure you wear gloves when cutting/handling the peppers, and do not touch your eyes or mouth!
- 1 cup cider vinegar I added 4 cups of cider vinegar.
Combine all ingredients in a large pot. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/4" headspace. Screw on lids and process 15 minutes in boiling water canner. Yield: @3 pints (I got 7 pints for my measurements.)
I find that the tomatoes and vegetables cook down, and I do not want watery salsa. So when I am putting the salsa into the jar, I use a spoon with very tiny holes that the juice can drain out of so that most of what goes into the jar is actual salsa. When I get to the very end of the salsa, I pour it into a colander that is mesh with tiny holes. I place the colander over a pan to catch all the juice. I put all the salsa that is in the colander into a jar, and if it needs a little juice, I pour some from the pan into the jar. Then I throw the rest of the liquid in the pan out.
While I am preparing the salsa, I put the jars that I have washed out into the water canner with water that I heat to boiling. The water needs to be boiling when you put the jars filled with salsa into it, and this also sterilizes the jars.
Scotcheroos is my ultimate favorite summer dessert to take to picnics and potlucks. Like the No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies, this dessert is fast and easy to prepare and does not require an oven! Even children could make this dessert (with maybe a little bit of supervision.) Just mix the rice krispie mixture together, press it into a pan, and spread the chocolate mixture over the krispie layer.
These bars are easy to cut into squares and easy to hold without needing any silverware. My kids love them, and they are just a slight addiction for me. I purposefully don’t make them unless we are going to an occasion where they can be shared–or I will eat way more than any single person should ever digest! You will want to make this dessert a few hours before needing them so that the top chocolate layer can get firm. (Or you can just stick it in the refrigerator for half of an hour if you procrastinate–not that I’m speaking from experience or anything :)).
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 6 cups rice krispies
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
Combine sugar, corn syrup, and peanut butter in a 3 quart saucepan.
Heat over moderate heat until mixture begins to bubble.
Remove from heat.
Add Rice Krispies.
Press into a 9 x 13" pan.
Melt chocolate chips and butterscotch chips in a small saucepan.
Spread over the krispie treats.
Cool until firm.
For our not-so-healthy, sugar-loving family, monkey bread is one of our ultimate favorite recipes. Especially since I found a recipe that uses Rhodes dinner rolls and is super easy! All it takes is 5-10 minutes the night before of prep time, bake the next morning–and it’s magic: beautiful, scrumptious monkey bread.
I found this recipe originally in our church’s cookbook. Church cookbooks are the best! I loved that I didn’t have to buy all these cans of biscuits, quarter each and every individual biscuit, roll each quarter in cinnamon-sugar–yes, it took all the fun out of monkey bread! This recipe is now our go-to recipe for birthday breakfasts!
Recipe for Monkey Bread
Cooking Time Required: 30 minutes Preheat oven @ 350
- 18 to 24 frozen rolls
- 3 ounce package of butterscotch or vanilla cook and serve pudding (not instant)–I use butterscotch pudding.
- 1/2 c. butter
- 3/4 c. brown sugar
- 3/4 tsp. cinnamon
- chopped pecans to taste (if desired)
- raisins to taste (if desired)
- Spray Bundt pan with cooking spray. Place frozen rolls in pan. Sprinkle with the dry pudding mix, raisins and nuts.
- In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until dissolved and bubbly. Pour over rolls.
- Spray foil with cooking spray and cover Bundt pan tightly.
- Leave on counter overnight. Uncover and bake at 350° oven for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, and then invert on serving dish.
- 18 to 24 frozen rolls
- 3 ounce package of butterscotch or vanilla cook and serve pudding not instant--I use butterscotch pudding.
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- chopped pecans to taste if desired
- raisins to taste if desired
Spray Bundt pan with cooking spray. Place frozen rolls in pan. Sprinkle with the dry pudding mix, raisins and nuts.
In a saucepan, combine butter, sugar, and cinnamon. Cook until dissolved and bubbly. Pour over rolls.
Spray foil with cooking spray and cover Bundt pan tightly.
Leave on counter overnight. Uncover and bake at 350° oven for 30 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes, and then invert on serving dish.