12 Dessert Recipes for Fall

dessert recipes for fall

On my run this morning I had a little brainstorming session. Does it count as brainstorming if you are all by yourself? Well that is what I am calling it.

No I did not have some world-changing, life-altering revelation. I am not quitting my blog or dropping out of school. Nor am I getting married and having a baby. Although that seems to be the thing to do lately, I am content with my independence.

Anyways, what I really thought about was how whether we are conscious of it or not, there has been a shift from fall to winter, which means a shift from fall desserts to holiday desserts. And by “holiday” what I actually mean is Christmas. This was pretty darn apparent as I jogged along, concentrating on dry pavement to avoid slipping on the ice and cracking my head open. In Calgary we have two seasons; winter and everything else. Believe me, I am not complaining, I love it. I am at the point in my life where if the weather was such a deal-breaker, I would move. But I can take snow in July so I am staying put.

Back to the dessert thing, man I am all over the map today! As I was saying, we are slowly phasing out fall things like pumpkin and moving into gingerbread-y, peppermint-y, shortbread-y, eggnog-y Christmas treats. Before I complete the switch, I wanted to do a compilation of all of my dessert recipes for fall. We have already had our Thanksgiving here in Canada but I know that many of my American readers are still planning out their Thanksgiving menus. So if you are still trying to decide what to serve for dessert, or have yet to be exposed to winter and are still enjoying the bounties of fall, here are 12 dessert recipes for fall. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Sticky Buns

PUMPKIN

Pumpkin Sticky Toffee Pudding
Pumpkin Sticky Buns
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Pumpkin Creme Brûlée Tartlets

Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars

APPLE/PEAR

Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars
Apple Cinnamon Blondies
Vegan Baked Apples with Oat Crumble
Apple Pear Crumble

Pomegranate Brownies

CHOCOLATE (because although it is fall, we can always do chocolate)

Pomegranate Brownies
Marble Chocolate Bundt Cake
Chocolate Caramel Tartlets
Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta

The Canadian Food Experience Project: Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars

Time for this month’s Canadian Food Experience Project challenge, the Canadian Harvest in….Alberta!
Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Maybe I’m following a stereotype here but harvest time in the prairies is very indicative of grains. Wheat, oats, barley; they are all grown here. Along with a lot of dry peas, lentils, soybeans and mustard seeds. But I’m not too keen on the sounds of any of those in dessert.
Let’s go back to talking about oats for a bit. Specifically these oats, my favourite oats, from Highwood Crossing. They hold a special place in my heart the folks at Highwood Crossing. Back when I baked at Boxwood they would come in, cowboy boots and all, with my weekly delivery of flour and oats. Not only did I know where the food was coming from, I made the connection that there were real people behind it. By supporting local producers like Highwood Crossing, not only do you promote community, you also contribute to the livelihoods of the people in it, rather than CEOs of industrial agribusiness. The food you get might be a little more expensive but it makes up for it in taste, nutritional value and simply knowing that you made a sustainable choice.
These vegan apple pear streusel bars are my take on apple crisp in a sliceable format. BC apples are sandwiched between an oatmeal cookie crust and an oat streusel topping, for a double whammy of oat goodness. Speaking of goodness, they are pretty darn healthy too. I always love myself a dessert that can double as breakfast the next morning. Especially when that dessert/breakfast is made from oats like these!
Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Vegan apple pear streusel bars

Vegan Apple Pear Streusel Bars
Makes 9 portions

Ingredients

Base

– 3/4 cup flour
– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
– 2 tablespoons canola oil
– 2/3 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup pumpkin puree or unsweetened applesauce
– 1 cup rolled oats

Filling

– 2 apples, peeled and sliced thinly
– 1 pear, peeled and sliced thinly
– 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1/8 tsp. each allspice and cloves
– 2 tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 tbsp. flour

Topping

– 1 cup rolled oats
– 1/2 cup flour
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
– 1/4 cup slivered almonds
– 1/4 cup canola oil

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 350F. Line a 9″ square pan with parchment paper.
2. To make the base, mix together the canola oil and pumpkin puree (or applesauce). Add the brown sugar and stir until it forms a paste of sorts.
3. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and oats. Stir until combined and press into the bottom of your prepared 9″ pan.
4. For the filling, mix the sliced apples and pears with the cinnamon, allspice, cloves, maple syrup and flour. Pour this on top of the base.
5. Finally the topping. Mix together the oats, flour, brown sugar, almonds and oil. It should be crumbly but moist enough that when you squeeze a handful of it, it somewhat holds together. Sprinkle this over top of the apples in a nice, even layer.
6. Bake at 350F for about 30-35 minutes.
7. Cool for at least 20-30 minutes before removing the vegan apple pear streusel bars from the pan. Slice and serve!

Vegan apple pear streusel bars
Vegan apple pear streusel bars

 

Squash Risotto with Maple Cheddar

I really don’t get what psychs people out so much about risotto. Is it the fancy Italian name? Or maybe it’s the fact that every time you see someone try to make it on Chopped, they fail miserably. See the thing is, it’s really no more difficult than any other rice. Even the whole “you have to stand there stirring it – you can’t take your eyes off of it or else it will be ruined” is a total myth.
Do you know another myth related to risotto? That it has to be ridiculously unhealthy, full of butter, cream and cheese. Sure you can make it that way, but there’s really no need. The great thing about arborio rice is that it is super starchy. When the rice releases this starch it thickens up the stock that you add, becoming creamy and delicious all on its own. Typically I add a couple handfuls of cheese just for some extra flavour. Another tip; go for the stinky stuff so you only need a bit to pack a punch.
All you need to do is add some vegetable in there and it’s virtually health food. Skip the cheese and you would even have yourself a vegan dinner. See, not scary at all!
Squash Risotto
Squash Risotto
Squash Risotto with Maple Cheddar
Serves 4-6
Ingredients
1 small acorn squash, peeled and diced
2 shallots, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup arborio rice
4-5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup grated maple cheddar cheese (if you can’t find maple cheddar, use normal cheddar and add a tablespoon or two of maple syrup)
salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
In a large saute pan over medium heat, cook the squash until lightly golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic, cooking until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Once you can smell them, add the arborio rice. Essentially you want to toast it off so stir it in with the squash and aromatics and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Now you can start adding the stock. People say that you should add it ladle by ladle, stirring constantly until each addition is absorbed before adding any more. I’m here to tell you that it’s not worth your time.  Your risotto won’t be any creamier if you add the stock in 20 additions vs. adding it in 2 additions. With this much rice, I add my vegetable stock in two additions, no more, no less. Well unless it is still a tad al dente after two additions, then I will add a splash more. But that’s it!
So once the rice is toasted, add in about half your vegetable stock (2 cups). Stir it to incorporate and put the lid on, leaving a tiny crack for steam to escape. Leave it alone, go set the table, fold some laundry, whatever you need to do. In about 7 to 10 minutes you will see that all of the liquid is absorbed, at which time you can add the second half, 2 more cups of vegetable stock. Another 7 to 10 minutes and the rice should be cooked. If it’s not and you would like it softer, add a final splash of veg stock or even water. Cook another 3 to 5 minutes over medium heat as before and you should be good to go.
Add in the cheese (or cheese and maple syrup if you cannot find maple cheddar). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with some fresh bread and a nice glass of wine. Who knew risotto could be so easy?
Squash Risotto
Squash Risotto

Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay we have to be quick today ladies and gents. 3 midterms in the next 24 hours so I better get to some last minute studying! Of course it’s crucial to have some energy bites (ie. cookies) to keep us going through these times of stress and anxiety. Actually there’s not too much stress and anxiety for me right now and the fact that it is absent is almost causing me stress and anxiety in and of itself!
Thankfully we’ve got some soothing vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies to get us through it all! I think I’m just going to eat these and crank up some Andrea Bocelli while I study and it will make for complete relaxation. Opera and cookies, I’m starting a trend with this people. You just wait and see, it’s going to catch on as the next big thing in relaxation techniques!
Ok but seriously now, I have to go. Peace, love and happiness friends! Oh and we can’t forget vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies!!!
**An update as of October 10th – I survived. I wrote 3 tests, handed in 3 papers and even managed to blog yesterday, woot!
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes 56
Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled slightly
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups vegan chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup oats
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
Instructions
1. Heat your oven to 350F.
2. Beat together the melted coconut oil, brown sugar and maple syrup.
3. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and pumpkin puree, beating until smooth.
4. Stir in the remaining ingredients until fully incorporated. It will be thick so make sure that all of the flour is completely mixed in.
5. Portion the cookies using a mini scoop, 12 per parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 350F for about 10 minutes.
6. Cool and enjoy. The cookies keep well in an airtight container for 3-4 days and can be frozen if you need some treats for later!
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
Vegan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta

What do you do on Saturday?
Sleep in?
Study (or pretend to study while you actually browse the interweb)?
Catch up on work around the house?
Or maybe do nothing at all?

Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta

Those all sound like valid, sane options. But the life of an insane, food blogging student doesn’t always work that way.
Instead, it looks more like this:
Wake up before 8. Stay in bed for awhile solidifying your recipe ideas. Get up, because you want to actually be able to eat the breakfast cookies you are about to bake for breakfast, not lunch.
Bake some cookies, cool some cookies. Make some more cookies (that are actually fancy cookies called “tuiles” not normal cookies – and if my Mac autocorrects “tuiles” to “tuples” one more time I am going to lose it!). Burn some cookies. Clearly both my oven and my computer have it out for me.
Move on to making chocolate chai panna cotta. Cookies are still cooling. Rummage through the cupboard and pick out fancy wine classes to serve the panna cotta. Finish and refrigerate the chocolate chai panna cotta, back to the cookies (the non-tuile, not burned ones, you with me?).
Picture time. No family, you can’t eat any yet because there are only 8 and I need them for pictures. Ok fine, 5 will be enough, go to town. Strike a pose cookies, looking good out there! Take about 100 shots which will eventually be edited down to 5 or 6.
Pictures done, props away, dishes in the dishwater. Can I eat my breakfast cookie now? Only 9:30am, still breakfast time, right?
Go get groceries because I ran out of milk making chocolate chai panna cotta and also need food to make dinner. Come back home, eat lunch, back to blogging. Stock up on posts for the week and take pictures of completed panna cotta (only about 30 this time). Upload and edit pictures.
And type up this dramatic little tale. I’m going to confirm my insanity here because I have to admit, I love it. It makes me sad when I don’t have time during the week to contribute to my blog as much as I would like to. I feel as though I have to compensate for that by the time the weekend rolls around.
But then come Sunday I am about ready to do nothing at all. Maybe I still have a tad bit of sanity left after all.
Yeah…probably not.
Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta
Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta
Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta

Chocolate Chai Panna Cotta
Serves 4 (but I only had 3 pretty wine glasses so I omitted the extra, boring glass I had to use in the pictures)

Ingredients

2 cups milk
1 chai tea bag
1/4 cup white sugar
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 tsp. or 1/2 tbsp. gelatin
3 tbsp. cold water

Instructions

1. Bring the milk to a boil. Add the tea bag, remove it from the heat and allow it to steep for 15-20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile bloom the gelatin by sprinkling it over 3 tbsp. of cold water. No need to stir or anything, just let it sit for 5-10 minutes and absorb the water. Set it aside until you are ready to use.
3. Once the milk and tea are done steeping, remove the tea bag. Add the sugar, chocolate chips and vanilla to the milk. Return it to low heat and stir constantly until the chocolate chips are fully melted.
4. Off the heat, whisk the bloomed gelatin into the hot milk mixture. Portion the liquid into 4 serving vessels of your choice (I used wine glasses but ramekins or bowls will also work).
5. Cool slightly at room temperature so you don’t put piping hot liquid into the fridge and cause condensation. Then you can cover each glass with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours. You can even make this dessert a couple days in advance and have it all ready to go.
6. Serve with fresh berries and honey tuiles (see recipe below)

Honey Tuiles
Makes 20-25

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1/4 cup flour

Instructions

1. Heat your oven to 400F. Meanwhile, heat the butter, sugar and honey in a pot over medium high heat.
2. Onces it begins to bubble (the butter should be all melted and the sugar dissolved), remove it from the heat. Add the flour and stir until smooth.
3. Dollop about 1 tsp. of the batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet for each tuile. Be sure to space them out as the batter will spread – a lot. No more than 5-6 per cookie sheet should do it.
4. Bake at 400F for 5-7 minutes (but probably closer to 5). Watch these babies like a hawk, they will go from golden to burned in a second.
5. Remove them from the oven and let them cool for 1-2 minutes before shaping them as desired. You can leave them flat or make little cups by draping the tuiles over an upside down mini muffin tin. Or you can wrap them around the handle of a wooden spoon, essentially making little tuile cigars.
6. Cover and keep at room temperature until you are ready to serve the chocolate chai panna cotta.