Fall Comfort Foods: 8 Recipes to Try

Can you smell it? Fall is in the air. The mornings are getting crisper and have that earthy, fresh scent that defines autumn days. The new season’s arrival triggers a desire to fill my kitchen with quintessential fall aromas – apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. For me, nothing signals the start of fall more than taking a bite of my mom’s apple crisp.

Autumn is my favorite time of year to bake and cook. I love using the spices that were absent during the summer months. Over the years, I’ve accumulated my fair share of apple and pumpkin recipes. Every fall, I excitedly make these foods that define the season for me. I’m thrilled to share a few of my favorites.

fall comfort foods - pumpkin soup

Fall Pumpkin Recipes

Sweet Pumpkin Dip
Quick to prepare, this dip makes a perfect after school snack that is bursting with flavor.

1 package of cream cheese softened
7.5 oz canned pure pumpkin
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1. Beat cream cheese and pumpkin in large mixer bowl until smooth.
2. Add sugar, cinnamon and ginger; mix thoroughly.
3. Cover. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
4. Serve with sliced apples, cinnamon teddy grahams, gingersnap cookies, graham crackers and/or toasted mini bagels.

Pumpkin bars
You can’t go wrong when combining pumpkin, cream cheese and all the classic fall spices. These bars are delicious!

Batter:
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
15 oz canned pure pumpkin
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

Frosting:
6 Tablespoons butter
12 oz cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat eggs and add sugar, oil and pumpkin.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture.
5. Pour batter into greased jelly roll pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
6. While the bars are baking, mix frosting ingredients with a hand mixer.
7. Frost bars once cooled.

White Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Cookies
This treat is like pumpkin pie in cookie form. It’s full of spices that bring out the pumpkin the flavor, and the white chocolate chips give the cookies the perfect amount of sweetness.

1 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 egg
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups white chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar until the mixture is fluffy.
3. Beat egg, pumpkin and vanilla.
4. Stir flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.
5. Add white chocolate chips.
6. Drop spoonfuls of batter 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool.

Sassy Salsa Pumpkin Soup
This soup took first place when I entered it in a healthy recipe cook-off at my work. I love it because the pumpkin adds density to the soup without making it too heavy.

1 Tablespoon minced garlic
1 Tablespoon chili powder
½ teaspoon cumin
3 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
15 oz canned pure pumpkin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup corn
¾ cup salsa
Toppings: shredded cheese and sour cream

1. Spray pot with non-stick cooking spray and heat pan on medium.
2. Add garlic, chili powder and cumin. Stir for one minute.
3. Add broth to spices and bring to a simmer.
4. Add pumpkin and mix well.
5. Add remaining ingredients and bring soup to a boil.
6. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
7. Serve soup with cheese and sour cream if desired.

Fall Apple Recipes

Mom’s Apple Crisp
Instead of the traditional recipe that uses oatmeal, my Mom’s apple crisp has a cobbler-like topping that provides a perfect sweet crunch.

1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup melted butter
6 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 375.
2. Blend brown sugar, 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder and salt.
3. Stir in butter until mixture is crumbly.
4. Combine apples, sugar, 1 Tablespoon flour and cinnamon.
5. Spread apples in 9×13 inch pan and cover with crumbly mixture.
6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Easy Apple Cinnamon Muffins
(Adapted from All Recipes)
My family loves these apple muffins that combine our favorite fall fruit with our favorite breakfast bread.

1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 cups peeled, cored, sliced apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan or line with paper muffin liners.
2. Stir together flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt, baking powder and 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
3. Mix in oil, egg and milk. Fold in apples.
4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about 2/3 full.
5. In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Sprinkle over unbaked muffins.
6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

Homemade Apple Cider
I discovered this recipe in sixth grade, and it’s been my go-to cider ever since. The addition of orange juice gives the drink a unique and delicious taste!

1 cup orange juice
2 cinnamon sticks
4 whole cloves
4 cups apple juice

1. Combine orange juice, cinnamon sticks and cloves in a saucepan.
2. Bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
4. Add apple juice.
5. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
6. Remove the cinnamon stick and cloves using a slotted spoon.
7. Pour into mug and serve hot.

Apple pork chops
(Adapted from All Recipes)
There’s something about the tanginess of apples that makes them the perfect pairing for pork chops. Make this recipe to bring the apple flavor to your dinner table.

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 (1/2 inch thick) pork chops
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground pepper to taste
1 apple peeled, cored and sliced
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground mustard
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup and 2 Tablespoons hot water

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Heat oil in large skillet. Sauté onion in oil for 1 minute, or until tender. Remove onion and set aside.
3. Brown pork chops on both sides in oil.
4. Place pork chops in an 8×12 inch baking dish and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cover pork chops with the apples and cooked onion.
5. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, ground mustard, cloves and water. Pour over chops.
6. Cover and bake in preheated oven for 30 to 45 minutes. Enjoy!

Now it’s your turn. Share your favorite fall recipes in the comments below. Happy fall cooking and baking!

Rachel is one of those rare people who has never had a cup of coffee. She’s decided to start drinking coffee once she grows up. In the meantime, she gets her energy from the loves of her life: her husband of 11 years, 7 year-old son, and 3 year-old daughter. She also loves Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the Thanksgiving holiday and the beauty of Minnesota. Rachel is a writer at heart and has built a career in corporate communications. The job closest to her heart is being a mom to her gregarious son and spirited daughter. As a Christian, Rachel aims to give and receive grace every day.

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