I can’t believe it, but summer is over and the best time of year is upon us once again: fall! With this season comes many great and wonderful flavors. I would like to take the time to explore some of the quintessential tastes of fall.
Apple Cider Doughnuts
Let’s start with one of my husband’s — and many men’s — favorites: Apple Cider Doughnuts. Fresh farm-made cider doughnuts only come around in the fall, and they are such a delicious taste that people wait all year for them. The doughnuts that you get from the supermarket simply can’t touch these babies as they come fresh out of the fryer.
It’s best to go to an apple orchard and have them served to you out of a little window in a brown bag, but if you don’t have that option, your next best bet is to make them yourself. Please, don’t buy them from your local supermarket; it will just make you sadder than if you had never eaten them at all. I found one recipe that I liked for these doughnuts, but I will warn you that this does take some time and effort.
I found this recipe at Dish ‘n’ That and I will warn you again, just like she does, to set aside a good bit of time to do this, maybe a lazy fall Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. These are also made to be shared, so keep that in mind when you are making them. Bring a batch with you to work and you will be the talk of the office — in a good way!
Pumpkin Spice Latte
The next taste we should explore is the pumpkin spice latte. This is one of my favorite drinks of fall, and people who don’t even like pumpkin tell me they like this drink. This shouldn’t surprise you if you have been to a Wawa, Dunkin’ Donuts, or Starbucks around fall in the past five years. The trend of pumpkin-flavored coffee and latte drinks has gone through the roof.
I, however, like to be my own trend setter, so I have taken to making my own pumpkin-spice lattes. This recipe that I found takes no time at all, and if you’re like me and you stay up past when Starbucks is open for that late-night latte, this is the recipe for you.
I only have a few suggestions. If you like a strong pumpkin flavor, double the amount of pumpkin and pumpkin spice in the recipe. Also, if you are going to use a dairy substitute like soy milk or almond milk, you may want to cut down on the amount and use slightly more coffee (unless you like your lattes really weak).
Sticking with the pumpkin theme, we also have pumpkin pancakes. Serve these bad boys warm with maple syrup and you are good to go.
Here are a few tips to make this recipe truly great. Instead of the one cup of pumpkin, I would suggest using one and a half cups of pumpkin puree. This adjustment will give you a more pumpkin-y taste; these are pumpkin pancakes, after all. I also removed the allspice, vinegar, and ginger and replaced them with one tablespoon cinnamon and ½ teaspoon nutmeg.
I would also suggest using self-rising flour because it makes denser pancakes; however, if dense pancakes aren’t your thing you can follow the recipe’s use of flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
Now, let’s move on to another great taste: zucchini. I love all the different things that you can do with zucchini, but for the sake of time and space let’s just stick with one of my favorites: zucchini bread.
Now, although I was tempted by a Paula Deen recipe, for the sake of your arteries and mine I won’t be giving you that one. I will, however, share this. Just like all other bread recipes, this one is going to take you a bit of time — but it’s worth it!
This recipe is called Mom’s Zucchini Bread, and if you had a Mom that made bread like this you are truly blessed. This recipe will not disappoint you, but I do have one tip: don’t drain the zucchini. If you do, you won’t have the moistness the bread needs not to dry out. (I am just letting you know this because I thought you should drain the zucchini before you mix it in, but that is a big no-no, I have found.)
This recipe is served best warm with apple butter but can also be eaten room temperature or heated up.
Speaking of, if you want to make your own apple butter — another wonderful fall flavor — I have a great recipe for you. There is only one seemingly large catch, in that it takes all day. This might seem like a bad thing, but it isn’t because you’re not really doing anything while it cooks. You make the whole thing in a slow cooker and have the day to do whatever else needs to be done. So don’t be put off by it.
Keep in mind that you can burn fruit butter, but you can’t overcook it. This means that if you leave it in the slow cooker for even longer than the recipe calls for you don’t have to worry about it as long as you have it on low heat and stir it every now and again. You can also make this recipe over three or four nights by just refrigerating the mixture between cooking times. I also have found that cooking it on the stove for a few minutes after it has come out of the crock, and you are ready to can it, can help give it that buttery texture you are looking for.
Just one more note, I would use about half the sugar that is called for in this recipe unless you like super sweet apple butter.
I know that this next taste isn’t always associated with fall, but it is one of my favorite things to make for a nice, cool fall weekend morning: cinnamon rolls. Cinnamon is a flavor that goes right along with the fall spirit, and this is a great pick-me-up for a lazy Saturday morning after a long week of work.
I know that it is tempting to use store-bought cinnamon rolls and just toss them in the oven, but I would suggest not cheating yourself like that and making them from scratch.
This is a great recipe that I like very much, but as it is with all good things, it takes some time. If you don’t have a bread machine on hand here is how you can make them.
Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the water with the butter. If you are using cold butter, boil the water first and pour it over the butter while stirring. Once you have done this, add the yeast, because the cold butter plus the hot water will bring the two to the perfect temperature for the yeast.
Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and make the pudding while the yeast foams. Add the egg, pudding mix, and milk together and stir.
Then you are going to want to measure out the flour, adding 4 teaspoons vital wheat to all purpose flour. (Skip this step if you are using bread flour.)
Add the pudding mixture to the yeast, mixing well, followed by the flour. The yeast should be ready for this once you have done all of the above steps.
Knead the dough in the bowl until it forms a ball. Take the ball from the bowl, add a bit of oil, and put the dough back in the bowl while rolling it in the oil. Let the dough sit so that it can rise for about an hour.
Finally, roll out the dough, spread filling, cut, and rise again. This takes time, but it is worth it. Then bake and you are all good.
I hope that this article has put you in the mood for fall cooking like it has me! Now use it as an excuse to go to a nearby orchard for some fresh apple cider doughnuts and the apples you are going to need for your apple butter.
Photo Credits: Veganbaking.net, Alayna the Extravagant, Nathan Y, ccharmon, stetted, and tudokin.