Kitchen InFerno: Gooey Fall Goodies

This week’s Kitchen InFerno is a part of our series, 13 Days of Halloween. Valley has a special love for Halloween, so it’s only natural that we want to celebrate early. For the 13 days leading up to Halloween, we’ll be reveling in all of the creepy, spooky and sometimes stylish fun. Join in with our countdown of the 13 Days of Halloween.

Fall weather reminds us of three things: pumpkins, cinnamon and apples…yum! I know I’ve been cranking out full meals every week, but today it’s all about pleasing your sweet tooth. Go ahead. Live a little.

My mom’s baked apples are dynamite! They’re the perfect comfort food when the weather starts getting chilly and can tickle any taste buds because you can pick your toppings. Aside from baked apples, my other absolute favorite fall treats are pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. They’re soft and chock-full of baby semi-sweet chocolate chips. Warm them up, and it’s ooey-gooey heaven!

These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are super simple, and you can whip them up in a jif for a crowd pleaser at any fall gathering.

What you need:

Makes about 2 dozen medium-sized cookies.

Wet Ingredients:
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup vegetable oil
½ stick butter (melted)

Dry Ingredients:
2 cups flour
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda

Optional ingredients:
2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts

What you do:

1. Whisk together wet ingredients in a mixing bowl, and dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

3. Pour dry ingredient mixture into wet ingredients 1/3 at a time, whisking until all clumps are dissolved.

4. Add your optional ingredients of choice, whisk until ingredients are well distributed.

5. Spray cooking sheets with non-stick spray. Use tablespoon to scoop mixture into cookies. (Don’t make them too big – the cookies expand while cooking!)

Onto the baked apples! They’re great alone or with ice cream… whatever your heart desires. (Hint: It’s an easy side dish to make at home for Thanksgiving – that’s what we do at the Ferno household, and my mom loves that I can make these while she’s cooking the rest of that yummy feast!)

What you need:

Makes 16 halves: about 8 servings (Trust me, make more than enough, because everyone will want seconds!

1 cup orange juice
1 ½ cups brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons butter
8 apples

Optional ingredients:
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped cashews
¼ cup chopped walnuts

What to do:
1. Heat orange juice, brown sugar, white sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, and butter on medium heat, stirring until sugar and butter are dissolved. Let simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

2. While the syrup simmers, peel apples, cut in half and use a pairing knife or melon baller to remove stems and seeds.

3. Cover casserole dish or deep pie pan with tin foil and evenly spread apples, core side up, around pan.

4. Fill cavities in apples with optional ingredients and use a spoon to cover them with syrup. (Make sure to fill the bottom of the pan with syrup too to ensure the apples get seasoning from the base up!)

5. Cook for 40 minutes, redistributing syrup over apples every 10 or so minutes so they don’t dry out while cooking.

6. Serve warm!

Tip from inside the inFerno: Though easy to make, these treats pack a mean punch. Get ready to impress your guests…and to make more.

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