Image courtesy of phillymag.com
By Caroline Morris
I started cooking from scratch this summer after a semi-fatal addiction to The Great British Cake and an unwavering belief that if I ever met Series 11’s Peter Sawkins, I could win his heart with my baking skills.
As a novice baker, I can tell you first-hand: starting to cook is not incredibly difficult. You need to have the ability to follow directions exactly, a great deal of confidence, and the willingness to have end products that taste better than they look.
Each week, I choose a new recipe that I want and I prepare it. None have failed (so far), although some taste better than others. But as we approach fall and the weather in Washington gets colder, I have tried my hand at heartwarming fall pastries, and they exceed all my expectations. The best part: They are all easy and only need a few tools (or rigged replacements).
My first recommendation is an East Coast classic that I swear on: Apple cider fritters. For those unfamiliar with this treat, it is life changing. The donuts are filled with apple cider, cinnamon, nutmeg and other fall flavors, baked, then rolled in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. The two big things you need for this recipe are a hand blender (although you can still get by with a whisk or a fork and a little elbow grease) and a donut pan. But do not worry ; I made it without a donut mold because I’m a normal human who doesn’t have something like that on hand. I used a cupcake or muffin pan and aluminum foil to make small cylinders. Just place these cylinders in the middle of the cups and pour the batter around and you will have homemade donuts!
The next recipe you might have seen already because it went viral on Tiktok: Pumpkin Cream Cheese Bread. This recipe received mixed reviews, but I made it and found it delicious! It was super moist and the cream cheese layering was the perfect addition to the pumpkin. My recommendation is to increase the sugar in the recipe if you have a sweet tooth (I certainly do) and have a heavy hand with the pumpkin spice blend. You will need a loaf pan for this recipe but they are reasonably priced on Amazon or Giant.
The latest fall treats that I love are Pumpkin muffins. I had leftover pumpkin puree from my bread and didn’t want it to go to waste, so I gave it a try and loved it! These muffins are super light and when eaten fresh out of the oven they have a nice crunch on top. The recipe says you can use either water or apple juice as a liquid, but I used apple cider and it really added a depth of flavor to the muffins. They can also serve as cupcakes if you toss a cream cheese frosting on top!
The coming of fall always hits me with specific cravings for apple, pumpkin and cinnamon, and all of these baked goods appeal to me. From one novice baker to another, these recipes are extremely achievable and definitely crowd-pleaser. So get ready and don’t forget to share!