Autumn in Southern California isn’t really autumn at all, but the weather gets a little cooler and the leaves begin to fall. Unfortunately, they don’t change colors, but it still feels like autumn to us locals. Most of all, I feel the seasons change when I can finally bake without feeling guilty for heating up the house. With that, here are some autumn-themed sugar cookies to brighten up your day!
To make 18-24 cookies, you’ll need:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 cups of flour
- 1 egg
I use this royal icing recipe from Wilton because it’s proven the best for me. You’ll need meringue powder for the recipe. You can also make royal icing with egg whites or other ingredients, but I’ve found that meringue powder makes the icing easiest to work with and hardens quickly. This recipe is for piping the edges – you’ll want to add water for flooding. First, beat together the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add in the vanilla and egg and beat until combined. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking powder, and slowly add to the wet mixture. It will become very thick and difficult to mix. If that happens, pull the dough onto a piece of wax paper and continue to massage with your hands until the flour is completely mixed.
Spread a little bit of flour onto a rolling pin, and roll out the dough until it is about 1/4 of an inch thick if not thicker. Personally, I like my cookies soft, so I try to keep them thicker. Use cookie cutters (like these autumn cookie cutters that I used) to cut shapes out of the dough and move to a foil covered cookie sheet. Continue until all of the dough is cut. Bake on 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, checking them often so they don’t overcook. Remove when they begin the brown on the edges and cool on a cooling rack. In the meantime, mix your royal frosting. Separate into multiple bowls and mix in your desired food coloring with a spoon. Individually scoop a little of each color into its own piping bag and pipe around the edges of your design. Once done, add a little water, one teaspoon at a time, to the royal icing until it drips easily off of a spoon. Carefully use the spoon (or a squeeze bottle) to flood the area within your piping boundaries. It’s easiest to do this a little at a time because flooding too much icing too quickly can overflow your borders. Set the cookies on the cooling rack to harden before storing in an airtight container. They’ll keep for a few days and still taste like freshly baked sugar cookies!
If you don’t feel like fussing with icing, they also taste great on their own – soft and sweet. I’m looking forward to making lots of themed cookies over the next few months. Enjoy!
I had the worst week last week, and I’m happy to finally be getting back to normal. I started off the week with a really horrible sinus infection and ended it with an ambulance ride to the ER because I fell down the stairs at work. It’s been rough, but I’m back to baking and crafting and glad to finally be feeling better.
These almond butter cupcakes remind me a little of fall (I always feel that way about nutty things) and with a dash of cinnamon, they’re even better. Overall, I’d say this recipe is a fairly easy to make and pairs well with light and creamy vanilla buttercream frosting, but I bet they’d also be fantastic with chocolate or even almond butter frosting (yeah, you’ll see that soon too).Now, to get down to it, this recipe will make you 24 cupcakes and can be easily halved. You need:
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1/2 cup almond butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the vanilla buttercream frosting, you’ll need:
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Sliced almonds (for garnish, optional)
Cream together the butter, sugar and almond butter. Then add in the vanilla and eggs, beating well after each egg. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon and add 1/3 of it to the wet mixture. Mix well and alternate between adding milk and dry ingredients until the batter is completely mixed. The batter will be kind of thick, but you can add a little more milk if you need to thin it out a little.
Separate the batter into cupcake liners and baking for 22-25 minutes until a toothpick comes out of the center cleanly. In the meantime, beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla to mix the frosting. Add more or less sugar to taste. Once the cupcakes have cooled, top them with buttercream and some sliced almonds. Just remember the almonds – it’ll make you feel less guilty about eating a cupcake! If you like almonds or almond butter or even peanut butter, you’ll probably really enjoy these cupcakes. They’ll keep a few days, but they’re better kept on the counter unfrosted in order to stay moist. Enjoy!
Apple pie is my guilty pleasure. While everyone else gushes over pumpkin spice, I’m all about the apple cinnamon this time of year. To satisfy my apple-love, I whipped up this sweet but semi-healthy apple pie parfait. Seriously, it just makes me feel like I’m eating autumn out of a jar (that’s not weird, right?) The great thing about this treat is it’s easy to make as individual cups for groups – perfect for parties and get-togethers. It tastes just like dessert but with a lot less calories! Let’s dig in, shall we?These quantities will make one parfait, so adjust accordingly if you want to make multiple:
- 1 cup of vanilla yogurt
- 1/2 cup ground gingersnaps or cinnamon graham crackers
- 1/3 can of apple pie filling
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon confectioners sugar
To start, separate your apple slices into a bowl and sprinkle in about 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of sugar, mixing together with a spoon.
If you haven’t already, you need to grind your gingersnaps. I use these Dutch cookies that taste just like a gingersnap, but you can also use cinnamon graham crackers or something similar. Grind them up either in a food processor or by placing them in a bag and using a rolling pin to grind them into fine pieces.
Then it’s time to start layering your materials. Layer about 1/3 of your yogurt and gingersnaps, and then follow it with a layer of apples. Continue this layering method as you see fit. Depending on the size of your glass and whether or not you use a true parfait glass, you might see your layers turning out differently. Because my glass was tall, I was able to achieve several layers of each ingredient, topping off my parfait with the yogurt and a little bit of gingersnap. Now, dig in! Serve these at a party and your guests will devour them, I’m sure of it. If you love apple recipes as much as I do, you’re in luck. Fall is just beginning, so I’m looking forward to making even more apple pie-inspired treats.
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To celebrate the beginning of fall and to autumn-ify my apartment, I picked up a miniature pumpkin, along with several small succulents to fill it with for a fall centerpiece. While I don’t enjoy pumpkin foods, I still really enjoy the smell and aesthetic of them this time of year.
To make this centerpiece planter, you’ll need a miniature pumpkin, approximately 5 inches, and a knife, spoon and three of the smallest succulents you can find. If you prefer, you could even paint your pumpkin or coat it with glitter for a different feel. Cut a hole in the small pumpkin, about 3-3 1/2 inches wide, and hollow it out with a spoon, scraping everything out that you can. Use your knife to clean up the sides of the hole as best you can. Then carefully place your succulents inside. You will probably need to loosen the soil around the roots and let it fall to the bottom of the pumpkin in order to fit all three of the plants insides and still have soil on the bottom.
Depending on your pumpkin, you might find that you need more soil, but I didn’t need any more than what came in my small succulent pots. Clean up the sides with a paper towel once the plants are inside and your planter is complete. Put it on a table, shelf or mantle for beautiful autumn decor that will brighten the room. Just remember, a carved pumpkin won’t last forever, so when it begins to spoil, you’ll want to move out your succulents and discard the pumpkin.
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It’s almost fall, and even though I don’t see many seasons in Southern California, I’m excited for the changing colors and cooler weather.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for autumn. While I’m not a big fan of pumpkin, I love anything apple cinnamon, so this time of year is a wonderful time for my tastebuds.
1 | Puff pastry apple rosettes by Stone Gable
2 | Dutch apple pie bars by I Dig Pinterest
3 | Gourd candle holders by Revel
4 | Autumn spice whoopie pies by A Little Claireification
5 | Candy corn jello shots by That’s So Michelle
Now go bake some cinnamon apple spice something-or-others!