The recent harvest moon, the cool autumn evenings, the abundance of apples and pumpkins remind me that we're magically entering that special season known as fall.
This time of year always transports me back to lively Sunday afternoons with my sisters in our mother's kitchen, the air warm and flavourful with the heady fragrances of cinnamon and nutmeg. I loved how the kitchen windows would steam over as testament to the various sweet treasures we were busy creating that day - muffins and breads and cakes.
Sitting and chatting at the kitchen table over cups of milk-infused strong coffee and the comforting recipe of the day. It was usually chocolate, or banana, or apple-based, slathered in generous dollops of cream and served with plenty of chatter.
Between bites of just baked, we spent the afternoon gossiping and laughing and talking about life.
Those memories of baking in my mother's kitchen always makes me smile.
Here's a selection to help bring back memories for you, too.
Skillet Caramel Apple Crisp
Apple crisp is a perennial favourite dessert. Give it a twist by making it quickly on the stove top! Recipe courtesy of Dairy Farmers of Canada.
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) large-flake rolled oats
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) ground cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) butter
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 tsp. (1 ml) ground cinnamon
- 1 cup (250 ml) 35% cream
- 4 large firm cooking apples, peeled and sliced (6 cups/1.5 L)
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla
Topping: In a large skillet, toast oats over medium heat, stirring often, for about 3 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Add sugar, cinnamon and butter; cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes or until sugar is dissolved and starts to bubble. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
Apples: In same skillet, combine brown sugar, cinnamon and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Boil, stirring often, for about 4 minutes or until thickened and turns a dark caramel colour (do not let burn). Add apples; reduce heat and simmer, gently stirring apples and coating with sauce occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes or until apples are tender. Stir in vanilla.
Serve apples hot or let cool until just warm. Using a fork, crumble topping. Spoon apple mixture into six heatproof bowls; sprinkle with topping.
Choco-Banana Bread Bites
Your kids will go bananas over these moist and delicious cookies. Recipe courtesy of Robin Hood. (Note: Robin Hood has recently introduced its latest Nutri Flour Blend varieties to the lineup including Tastes Like White, Gluten-Free and Omega 3 & Fibre; check out Robinhood.ca.
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) fat-free evaporated milk
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) vinegar
- 1 cup (250 ml) ripe mashed bananas (2-3 medium)
- 1 banana, sliced (¼” /5 mm) and quartered
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) baking soda
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) canola or vegetable oil
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (625 mL) four (Robin Hood Nutri Flour Blend Tastes Like White suggested)
- 1 tsp. (5 ml) baking powder
- 1/3 cup (75 ml) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 36 banana chips (optional)
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine evaporated milk and vinegar in a medium bowl. Stir well. Mixture will thicken. Add mashed bananas, sliced bananas and baking soda to the evaporated milk mixture. Whisk egg, brown sugar, oil and vanilla in a separate large bowl. Stir in flour and baking powder. Add banana mixture and stir until mixture is well combined. Add chocolate chips.
Drop 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) of dough on prepared baking sheets, about 2-in. (5 cm) apart. Place a banana chip on top of each cookie (if using).
Bake in preheated oven, 13 to 15 minutes or until edges are lightly golden. Cool cookies on baking sheets, 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire cooling rack. Store cookies loosely covered or in the freezer.
Makes about 36 cookies.
Tips: If cookies become too soft, place them in a 350F (180C) oven for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add some crunch with addition of 1/3 cup (75 ml) chopped pecans or walnuts.
Apple Pecan Cake with Apple Butter Glaze
Apple butter and chopped apples make for a moist, easy-to-put-together cake. Despite its name, apple butter is fat-free. Recipe courtesy of Foodland Ontario.
- 2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. (2 ml) each baking soda, salt and ground nutmeg
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) apple butter
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) each vegetable oil and plain low-fat yogurt
- 2 medium apples, peeled and diced (about 2 cups/500 ml)
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) apple butter (approx)
- 2 Tbsp. (30ml ml) chopped toasted pecans (optional)
- Line 9-inch (2 L) round cake pan with circle of parchment paper. Brush side of pan with vegetable oil.
In large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
In small bowl, beat together eggs, brown sugar, apple butter, oil and yogurt; stir in apples. Stir into dry mixture until moistened. Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake in 350F (180C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Run thin spatula around edge of cake; invert cake onto wire rack to cool completely. Invert cake onto serving plate.
Glaze: Spread apple butter evenly over cake. Sprinkle with pecans, if using.