Creative Fall Baking

The summer heat is over - it's time to fire up the oven again so that everyone can enjoy the delicious aromas of cookies, pies, cakes, and bread, baking in the oven. When your family walks inside to these aromas - they know they are home... and something good is going to appear on the table soon! Fall is a wonderful time to get creative with your baking. Decorative leaf cookies, bundt cakes in the shape of a pumpkin, or nuts roasting on the stove - all of this brings a "taste" of fall into your kitchen. It's easy to do with some simple tips and instructions.

Photo provided courtesy of © 2004 Wilton Industries, Inc.

Want to make this cornucopia of cookies?
All you need are the correct shape of cutters, some royal icing, paste color, some decorating tips, disposable decorating bags, and of course your time and creative talent.
  • Apple cookie - using a disposable decorating bag, outline the cookie with stiff royal icing tinted red. Fill in the apple with colored and thinned royal icing. (To thin, add warm water a teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency is reached.) Repeat this same procedure with green tinted royal icing for the apple stem. See how easy it is to make spectacular and colorful cookies.
  • Acorn cookie - do same procedure as you did for apple using brown tinted royal icing. With stiff consistency buttercreme or royal icing and a star tip, decorate the top of the acorn.
  • Pumpkin cookie - Use orange-tinted royal icing and a #12 tip, pipe lines on the pumpkin. Complete pumpkin stem with same procedure used in making apple stem.
  • Grapes - using a leaf-shaped cookie, outline grape leaves on stem end of the cookie with stiff green-tinted royal icing; fill in with thinned royal icing. Using dark blue or purple tinted royal icing and wide plain tip, pipe ball "grapes" over remaining cookie.
  • Leaves - Tint royal icing to color wanted for leaves such as orange, gold, yellow or red. Using tinted stiff royal icing and small round tip, outline leaves. Fill in with thinned royal icing. Use a toothpick dipped in contrasting color, draw lines to show veins of leaves. Use the other end of toothpick pull color slightly away from line you just made. When dry, there will be more of a feathering effect to leaves. Allow cookies to dry overnight.
Arrange these cookies in your favorite basket or cornucopia and let the family at them!

Another way to obtain vibrant colored icing on cookies is with fondant. Simply purchase ready to use fondant in the color you want or in white and you can knead in the color of your choice. Roll out fondant and use same cutter that you used for your cookie shape to cut out the shape in the fondant. Frost the cookie very lightly with thinned buttercreme icing to adhere fondant to cookie. You can do this with any cutters for other holiday seasons.

How about making some individual pumpkin cakes - a clever way to bring the flavor of fall into the kitchen by using our brownie bundt™ cake pan to create mini pumpkin bundt™ cakes. Bake inidvidual bundt cakes (use a lemon or orange cake mix). On the flat side of the cake slice off the bottom to make the cake level. Ice the flat bottom of one individual cake with a thin layer of frosting and top with another individual cake to form a pumpkin shape. Simple simply dip in melted orange confectionery coating and top with cinnamon stick. Add a green leaf with a decorating tip and you have the perfect individual desserts for fall!

Other Quick and Easy Suggestions
  • Dip Oreo cookies into melted orange-colored confectionery coating. Use black candywriter to paint on Jack-O-Lantern face and you have Halloween treats.
  • Buy large pretzel sticks and dip halfway into coco-lite confectionary coating. Roll chocolate coated end in Autumn or Halloween sprinkle mix.
  • Bake chocolate cupcakes from a mix, frost with orange frosting and top with petite smiling pumpkin sugar charms, maple leaf sprinkles, or use Autumn stencils and colored sanding sugar to create fall designs on top.
  • Easily add a fall motif to your pies. After trimming the extra pie crust from your pie, roll it out and use miniature leaf cutters to cut out fall leaves and place around the outer edge of your pie before baking. You can add a few to the middle for extra decoration. Brush the pie crust with egg whites and sprinkle with sugar crystals. You can do this with 2-crust or one crust pies.

Maybe it's not baking - but a big treat for all ages is caramel apples. It's a great dessert for lunch or a treat at a party and you can involve your elementary-aged kids! These caramel apples have an added bonus... chocolate and decorations.
Choose medium apples, large ones are too much for younger children to eat. Simply heat caramel as directed on package, either in microwave or in a medium saucepan, stirring until all is melted. Rinse and thoroughly dry apples, insert wooden sticks into stem ends. Dip apples, one at a time into caramel mixture, coating completely. Place on waxed paper. Melt semisweet confectionary coating in microwave slowly, stirring until all is melted. Dip "set" caramel apples halfway into chocolate for 2-toned effect. For added decoration roll in chopped nuts or colored sprinkles. Even more fun - use white buttercream icing in pastry tube to write names on each apple.

Sometimes you just feel like a nut.
Don't let the squirrels have all the "nutty" fun this fall. Treat your family and friends with some sweet and tasty pecans.

Sugar-Roasted Pecans

  • 4 cups pecan halves
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. pumpkin spice
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. water
Mix sugar, pumpkin spice, ginger, add salt, then set the mixture aside. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper. Beat egg whites lightly and add water and vanilla. Mix well. Toss nuts with egg white mixture until coated. Drain off excess egg mixture with a strainer. Toss nuts in sugar mixture, and again, shake off any excess. Bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes, tossing the pecans every half hour. Remove from oven. Take the parchment sheet topped with nuts off the hot baking sheet and set aside to cool.

These are just some simple suggestions to start off your fall baking. Be creative and have fun making food gifts and treats to show off your skills this fall season!