These candy-topped treats are a blast for kids to help decorate for your feast — or a Thanksgiving school party. You can use our sugar cookie recipe here or store-bought dough.
* 1/2 cup butter
* 1 cup sugar
* 1 egg, lightly beaten
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 2 cups flour
* 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* Vanilla frosting
* Green fruit leather
* M&M’s or Reese’s Pieces candies
1. Using an electric beater, cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix in the flour a little at a time until the ingredients are well combined. Chill the dough for several hours or overnight.
2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Divide the dough into 3 parts. Working on a floured surface with one part at a time, roll out the dough to a 1/4-inch thickness. Using a knife, cut out corncob shapes about 4 inches long. Place the cookies on ungreased baking sheets and bake for 9 minutes or just until the edges brown. Let the cookies set on the sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.
3. Frost the cooled cookies. Next, use kitchen shears to cut husks from the fruit leather to fit the sides of each cookie. Press the husks in place atop the frosting, with the tips down a bit. Now fill in the middle with candy kernels gently pressed into place. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies.
This fanciful treat adds a refreshing finale to the standard holiday spread. Plus, it’s an ideal dessert to make a day or two ahead.
* 9-inch chocolate crumb pie shell
* 2 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
* 1 cup canned whole-berry cranberry sauce
* 1 tablespoon orange juice
* 2 cups whipped topping
* 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
1. Chill the pie shell in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
2. Place the softened ice cream, cranberry sauce, and orange juice in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well blended.
3. Spoon the filling into the chilled shell and freeze the pie until firm (4 hours or more). Next, spread the whipped topping over the ice cream layer and sprinkle on the almonds. Cover the pie and return it to the freezer. Allow the pie to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes before slicing it. Serves 8.
This layered pie serves up a deliciously unique combination, bringing together two classic fall flavors in one creamy sweet-and-tart dessert.
* 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
* 3 eggs, at room temperature
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/4 cups solidly packed pumpkin mash or canned pumpkin
* 3/4 cup light cream
* 9-inch piecrust (use your favorite recipe or our Foolproof Pie Shell)
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* 1 16-ounce can whole-berry cranberry sauce
1. Heat the oven to 375º F. Using an electric mixer, blend the cream cheese in a large mixing bowl to further soften it. Beat in the white sugar and the brown sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract, spices, salt, pumpkin, and cream, and blend the filling on a low speed until it is smooth.
2. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake the pie on the center rack for 30 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350º and continue baking until the pie puffs slightly around the edges and the center is no longer soupy, about another 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven and let it cool to room temperature. Cover the pie and refrigerate it for at least 4 hours.
3. To prepare the topping, blend the orange juice and cornstarch in a small saucepan until smooth. Stir in the cranberry sauce. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring all the while. Let the filling boil for 1 minute, then remove it from the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
4. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the topping over the pie and smooth it up to the edges with a spoon. Pour the rest of the topping into a serving bowl. Chill the pie for 15 minutes before serving, and set out the remaining topping for those who prefer an extra-tart flavor. Makes 12 servings.
These autumn treats are so adorable and easy to assemble, they won’t scare anyone away. In fact, set out a batch, and kids are sure to flock to them.
* Cookies (ours were about 2 1/2 inches in diameter)
* White frosting
* Assorted sugar wafers (ours were about 2 1/2 inches long)
* Candy corn
* Mini chocolate chips
* Bran cereal (we used Kellogg’s All-Bran Extra Fiber)
* Chocolate sprinkles
1. Frost the top of each cookie.
2. Sweet Scarecrows – Cut a sugar wafer in half. Add a dollop of frosting to the top edge of the cookie and stick a wafer half to it for a hat top, as shown.
3. Place a whole sugar wafer just below the hat top for a brim. Use a little more frosting to decorate it with slices of candy corn or mini chocolate chips.
4. Press pieces of bran cereal hair into the frosting around the hat.
5. For the face, press on a candy corn nose, mini chocolate chip eyes, and a chocolate sprinkle stitched mouth.
You can harvest a whole pumpkin patch full of these sweet treats in minutes.
* Circus peanuts
* Green gumdrops
* Granulated sugar
* Skewer or toothpick
1. For each pumpkin, cut one circus peanut in half. Cut a small piece from a green gumdrop and trim away the sugar coating so you have a dot of the sticky inside. Use this piece as glue to stick the two halves of the peanut together, bottom to bottom.
2. Roll the pumpkin in the palms of your hands to make it round. Press lightly; you don’t want to compress the candy too much.
3. Use a skewer or toothpick to poke a hole in the top of the pumpkin and draw lines down the sides. Cut another small piece from the green gumdrop and roll it in granulated sugar, molding it into a slightly conical stem shape with your fingers. Insert the stem into the hole on the top of the pumpkin.
These apple cupcakes with a faux bite — adapted from a “What’s New, Cupcake?” by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson — are clever to the core. Make a crateful to celebrate the start of a new school year.
* Cupcake batter
* Red frosting
* Red sugar sprinkles
* Tootsie Roll Midgees
* Green Tootsie Fruit Roll
* White frosting
1. Apple of Our Eye Mix your favorite cupcake batter and divide it evenly among cupcake wells lined with red paper or silicone cups (see Tip below), filling each one about three-quarters full. Bake the cupcakes according to the recipe directions and let them cool.
2. Carve a shallow, dime-size well in the top of each cupcake, then cover the tops with red frosting and coat them with red sugar sprinkles. Mold a small piece of a Tootsie Roll Midgee into a stem shape. Form a leaf from a small piece of green Tootsie Fruit Roll, pinch it against the stem, then insert the stem into the cupcake.
3. To make a bitten apple, spoon a small well from the side of the cupcake and line it with white frosting. Press tiny bits of Tootsie Roll Midgee in place for seeds.
The silicone baking cups shown were part of a multicolor set from Michaels, but Le Creuset makes an all-red set that would also work ($10 for 6 cups at cookware.com).
There are many more Fall recipes at Family Fun, if you’re interested. These were just my favorites.