Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tastes of Fall: This Way and That

I have a theory I'd like to share with you. It's about the seemingly-universal obsession with all things autumnal , and the popularity of fall-flavored foods. I've always wondered why we all get swept up in the season, and how it is that no other time of year can illicit the same kind of exhilaration as can the change from summer to fall. My theory is this: blame the thermometer. To my mind, no season change is felt so drastically, so immediately, as that of balmy summer to chill autumn; it's that very first moment which steals away your breath when you walk outside and realize... holy moley, it's COLD out here!, sending a signal directly to the brain and triggering all five senses.

Well, here are three more entries in the annals of sensory yumminess: pumpkin spice cookies with browned-butter frosting, apple cranberry crisp, and apple cinnamon pork chops.

The first is a new recipe for me, though not a new concept. These cookies were easy to make, and produced a soft and cakey cookie that is extremely satisfying. They're tasty enough sans sugar, but the sweet frosting is really what makes this dessert shine. I baked a batch for my work friends -- gone! And another batch for J and my in-laws -- gone again! Something tells me that won't be the last batch I ever make.

J calls them the best cookies... ever. I'll take it!

Next up is a seasonal favorite in the family. Again, it's a relatively simple dessert to make, and with fresh apples and local cranberries, it probably qualifies as J's most-requested treat. I received the gorgeous pie plate last year, and was so happy to dust it off and fill it with all the tangy-sweet flavors that make this crisp so rich.