Sweet flavors of fall: Make it all about cookies

 

Welcome autumn with cookies that celebrate fall flavors we love, like cinnamon, pumpkin, pecans, apple and cranberries. Clockwise from top left: Caramel pecan shortbread, cranberry chip cookies, cinnamon roll macarons and caramel-apple shortbread cookies.

Welcome autumn with cookies that celebrate fall flavors we love, like cinnamon, pumpkin, pecans, apple and cranberries. Clockwise from top left: Caramel pecan shortbread, cranberry chip cookies, cinnamon roll macarons and caramel-apple shortbread cookies. Photo by: Courtesy photos

 

Glazed maple shortbread cookies are an elegant sweet for any fall occasion.

Glazed maple shortbread cookies are an elegant sweet for any fall occasion.
Photo by: tasteofhome.com

 

 

Jan Swoope

 

 

Those of us who savor cooling days and crisp nights are happily savoring the week we've been given. What a refreshing way to welcome October. The changing season brings with it an appetite for "fall flavors" -- cinnamon, pumpkin spice, brown sugar, cranberries, pecans, apples. There's something about them woven through the snuggly, cozy ambience of autumn. And they make the house smell pretty awesome, too.

 

What better time for fall cookies? Maybe cinnamon roll macarons inspired by the classic cinnamon roll will be a new family favorite. Or caramel pecan shortbread cookies topped with chocolate and pecans. Or maybe cranberry chip cookies chock of sweet berries, chocolate chips and nuts. There will be time enough for pies and cakes as Thanksgiving and Christmas inch closer. For lunches, brunches, snacks or neighborly happies, today's cookie recipes provide plenty of ways to wrap our taste buds around autumn and the hope that we can soon put the weird, unsettling spring and summer behind us, that we'll be able to celebrate the holidays ahead "normally," that the new season brings with it breath of renewal.

 

 

 

GLAZED MAPLE SHORTBREAD COOKIES

 

Prep: 25 minutes+chilling

 

Bake: 20 minutes/batch+cooling

 

Makes 1 1/2 dozen

 

 

1 cup butter, softened

 

1/4 cup sugar

 

3 tablespoons cornstarch

 

1 teaspoon maple flavoring

 

1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour

 

 

Glaze:

 

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

 

1/3 cup maple syrup

 

 

  • In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and cornstarch until blended. Beat in flavoring. Gradually beat in flour.

     

  • Shape dough into a disk; cover. Refrigerate until firm enough to roll, about 45 minutes.

     

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-3/4-inch leaf-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.

     

  • Bake until edges are light brown, 20-25 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

     

  • In a small bowl, mix confectioners' sugar and maple syrup until smooth. Spread over cookies. Let stand until set.

     

    (Source: tasteofhome.com/Lorraine Caland)

     

     

    CARAMEL PECAN SHORTBREAD

     

    Prep: 30 minutes+chilling

     

    Bake: 15 minutes/batch

     

    Makes about 4 dozen

     

     

    3/4 cup butter, softened

     

    3/4 cup confectioners' sugar

     

    2 tablespoons evaporated milk

     

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

     

    2 cups all-purpose flour

     

    1/4 teaspoon salt

     

     

    Filling:

     

    28 caramels

     

    6 tablespoons evaporated milk

     

    2 tablespoons butter

     

    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

     

    3/4 cup finely chopped pecans

     

     

    Icing:

     

    1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

     

    3 tablespoons evaporated milk

     

    2 tablespoons butter

     

    1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

     

    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

     

    Pecan halves

     

     

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy, 5-7 minutes. Beat in milk and vanilla. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour or until easy to handle.

     

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut into 2-by-1-inch strips. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.

     

  • Bake at 325 F for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool completely.

     

  • For filling, combine caramels and milk in a large saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until caramels are melted and smooth. Remove from the heat; stir in the butter, sugar and pecans. Cool for 5 minutes. Spread 1 teaspoon over each cookie.

     

  • For icing, in a microwave-safe bowl, melt chips and milk; stir until smooth. Stir in the butter, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Cool for 5 minutes.

     

  • Spread 1 teaspoon icing on each cookie; top each with a pecan half. Let stand until set. Store in an airtight container.

     

    (Source: tasteofhome.com/Dorothy Butler)

     

     

    CRANBERRY CHIP COOKIES

     

    Prep: 10 minutes

     

    Bake: 15 minutes/batch

     

    Makes about 6 dozen

     

     

    1 cup butter, softened

     

    1 cup sugar

     

    2 large eggs

     

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

     

    2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

     

    1/2 teaspoon baking powder

     

    1/4 teaspoon salt

     

    1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

     

    1 1/2 cups dried cranberries

     

    3/4 cup chopped pecans

     

    1/2 cup English toffee bits or almond brickle chips, optional

     

     

  • In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually add to the creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips, cranberries, pecans and toffee bits if desired (dough will be stiff).

     

  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350 F for 11-14 minutes or until set and edges are lightly browned. Cool for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.

     

    (Source: tasteofhome.com)

     

     

    CINNAMON ROLL MACARONS

     

    Prep: 45 minutes

     

    Bake: 10 minutes/batch

     

    Makes 5 dozen

     

     

    4 large egg whites

     

    1 1/2 cups almond flour

     

    1 1/4 cups confectioners' sugar

     

    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

     

    3/4 cup sugar

     

     

    Filling:

     

    4 ounces cream cheese, softened

     

    3 tablespoons butter, softened

     

    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

     

    1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

     

    Additional ground cinnamon

     

     

  • Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Sift almond flour, 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar and cinnamon together twice.

     

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. Beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high until stiff peaks form. Fold in almond flour mixture.

     

  • Cut a small hole in a corner of a food-safe plastic bag. Pipe 1-inch-diameter cookies 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until lightly browned and firm to the touch, 9-12 minutes. Keeping cookies on the parchment, transfer to wire racks; cool completely.

     

  • For filling, in a small bowl, beat cream cheese and butter until creamy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fluffy. Refrigerate until mixture firms to a spreading consistency, about 10 minutes.

     

  • Spread about 1/4 teaspoon filling onto the bottom of each of half of the cookies; top with remaining cookies. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon. Store in airtight containers in the refrigerator.

     

    (Source: tasteofhome.com)

     

     

    CARAMEL-APPLE SHORTBREAD COOKIES

     

    Prep: 35 minutes+chilling

     

    Bake: 10 minutes/batch

     

    Makes 3 dozen

     

     

    1 cup butter, softened

     

    2/3 cup confectioners' sugar

     

    2-1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

     

    2 cups all-purpose flour

     

    1/3 cup finely chopped dried apple chips

     

    15 caramels

     

    2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

     

    Additional finely chopped dried apple chips, optional

     

     

  • In a large bowl, beat butter, confectioners' sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon until blended. Gradually beat in flour. Stir in 1/3 cup apple chips.

     

  • Divide dough in half. Shape each into a disk; wrap and refrigerate 1 hour or until firm enough to roll.

     

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of dough to 1/4-in. thickness. Cut with a floured 2-inch apple-shaped cookie cutter. Place 1 inch apart on greased baking sheets.

     

  • Bake 9-11 minutes or until light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

     

  • In a small saucepan, melt caramels with cream and remaining cinnamon over medium heat, stirring frequently. Drizzle over cookies. If desired, sprinkle with additional apple chips. Let stand until set.

     

    (Source: tasteofhome.com/Amber Taylor)

     

     

  • Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.

     

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