Dark Autumn Week: Harvest Recipes

Autumn is a time to put aside melons, grapes and berries and move into the spices, persimmons, squash, and root vegetable flavors. Think of some classics like pumpkin, squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, apple cider, chili, doughnuts, cheese, apples, and nuts. Here's just some great recipes utilizing the flavors of autumn.

Smashed Apples and Sweet Potatoes
2 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
2 T. butter
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 Granny Smith apple peeled cored and sliced
1/8 c. milk

Place the sweet potato in a medium saucepan and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to boil. Reduce to medium heat. Simmer 20 minutes until tender. Remove from heat. Drain. Set aside. Melt butter over low heat in saucepan. Mix in sugar, cinnamon and allspice. Add apple slices, cover and let simmer for 5 minutes or until apples are tender. Mix the apple mix into drained sweet potatoes along with milk. Mix using a mixer or using a fork until mashed.

Ahhhh, the tastes of autumn harvest. We leave the summer berries and grapes behind and move into some wonderful root vegetables, squash, and spices.

Apple Cider Doughnuts

1 cup apple cider
1 cup granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups flour, plus additional for the work surface
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons butter (at room temperature)
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (low-fat or nonfat works fine)

maple syrup glaze:

1 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted 
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/3 cup pure maple syrup


Boil the apple cider in small saucepan(or a crockpot on high) until it is reduced to 1/4 cup. That will take 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside to cool. Beat the butter with your mixer, adding in the sugar.  Next, add in the eggs, one by one, until the well mixed.  Add buttermilk and reduced cider.  Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in another bowl.  Add these to liquid ingredients; mix just enough to combine. Transfer dough to lightly floured parchment or wax paper and sprinkle the doughnuts with flour. Turn the dough over onto one of the sheets and sprinkle the tops with flour. Roll the dough until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Use more flour if the dough is still sticky. Put the dough to the freezer until it is slightly hardened, about 20 minutes. Then remove the dough from the freezer. Make the glaze: While the cut doughnut shapes are in the refrigerator, make the glaze by whisking together the confectioners' sugar and the cider until the mixture is smooth. (or follow the maple syrup glaze recipe) Both are below) Set aside. Using a 3-inch doughnut cutter, cut out the doughnut shapes (You could use a large glass and a shot glass to cut the inside and outside out of the dough) Put the cut doughnuts and doughnut holes onto the second cookie sheet pan.  Refrigerate the doughnuts for 20 to 30 minutes. (If you have leftover dough scraps, just re-roll them, refrigerate them briefly and cut additional doughnuts from the dough.)  Add enough oil or shortening to fill a deep pan 3 inches; heat the oil to 350 F (check with a frying or candy thermomenter). Fry several doughnuts at a time, turning once or twice, until golden brown and cooked through. That should be about 1 minutes per side. Watch them carefully; they'll quickly burn otherwise. Remove the doughnuts with metal tongs or a slotted spoon and set on paper towels to drain. While still warm, shake a few at a time in a paper bag containing cinnamon sugar OR pour the glaze (see ingredients) over them. Cool on a rack.

Persimmon Smash Cocktail

1 oz vodka
1 oz persimmon syrup (below)
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz. orange juice
sprig of mint for garnish

Persimmon syrup:
3 fuyu persimmons chopped
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2 c. water
3/4 c. sugar

Syrup:  In a medium pot, dissolve sugar in the water over medium heat. Add chopped persimmon, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg; cook over low until persimmons are soft and water has reduced to syrup. Puree in blender. Press through strainer. Discard solids. Save syrup.

Cocktail: In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, syrup, lemon juice,orange juice with ice. Shake well. Pour into glass. Add sprig of mint.

Now, what  to do with leftover Halloween candy --

Brownie Kisses
1 package fudge brownie mix (13-inch x 9-inch pan size)
48 striped chocolate kisses
Prepare brownie mix according to package directions for fudge-like brownies. Fill paper-lined miniature muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Immediately top each with a chocolate kiss. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: 4 dozen.

Mounds Candy Bar Brownies
2 Mounds candy bars
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup plain flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Melt candy bars and shortening. Remove from heat. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Spread in greased 9-inch square pan. Bake at 350F for 25 minutes. While warm, cut into bars.

Candy Corn Bark
16 Halloween-colored chocolate sandwich cookies, chopped
1 1/2 cups broken small pretzels
1/3 cup raisins
1 1/2 pounds white chocolate, broken into squares
2 cups candy corn
orange and brown sprinkles
Spread the cookies, pretzels and raisins evenly onto a lightly greased small baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of simmering water, or in the microwave, stirring frequently until melted. Remove from the heat while there are still a few chunks, and stir until smooth. White chocolate burns easily. Drizzle chocolate with a spoon over the goodies in the pan, spreading the top flat to coat evenly. Top with candy corn and sprinkles. Let cool until firm. Break into pieces and store in an airtight container.


  1. Ugh! All of these look SO tasty!!!! Damn you and your TEMPTATIONS!

  2. Nice post! I like the recipe for persimmon cocktail. I love autumn too - but it is the time of year in academia when the chickens come home to roost, so I'm counting those days of summer and trying to draw them out. October will be here before we know it!


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