Cake Mix Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are the simplest autumn cookies to make.

And I'm all about simplicity right now.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 box Spice Cake Mix
1 (14 oz) can pumpkin puree
1 bag (2 cups) mini chocolate chips (or omit the chips and frost with a good cream cheese frosting)

Combine cake mix and pumpkin puree. Stir in chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 12-15 minutes.

Italian Salsa

This is just a "top-it-yourself" bruschetta. You can flavor it to taste. We prefer more balsamic vinegar than olive oil, try equal parts at first, then adjust.

Italian Salsa
5-6 tomatoes, diced (we used a variety of heirloom tomatoes from Matt's Garden)
8-10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
pinch coarse salt
few turns of the pepper mill

Combine tomatoes, basil and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with a thinly sliced, toasted baguette.

Quick! Make this before the first frost gets your tomatoes!

Chocolate Chip Muffins


My contribution to the semi-annual omelet brunch.

Chocolate Chip Muffins
from the Worldwide Ward Cookbook
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (8 oz) plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 T brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add yogurt and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add to creamed mixture just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill paper lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Combine the topping ingredients and sprinkle over batter. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from muffin tins.
Makes 1 dozen.

Fresh Apple Cake with Warm Vanilla Sauce

The weather here has finally cooled down. I'm in the mood for some good old fashioned autumn baking. This moist, cinnamony-apple cake tastes delicious...and will make your house smell divine!

Fresh Apple Cake
adapted from Peacocks on my Porch

1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp soda
3 cups shredded apples (I prefer granny smith)

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9-x-13 inch pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, cream shortening, sugar and eggs. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and soda. Add to creamed mixture along with the apples. Beat until combined.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Warm Vanilla Sauce
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter
2 tsp vanilla

Combine in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over individual cake slices.