Fall Baking

Phyllis Inspiration 13 Comments

There’s nothing quite like the flavors of fall. As August heat hits its peak, I begin to look forward to cooler afternoons and all of the wonderful tastes and scents that come with them. This anticipation is no doubt familiar to many across the south and it’s the inspiration behind Editorial Director Brooke Bell’s newest book, Fall Baking. I sat down with Brooke to chat about baking and to learn a little more about the book. 

Phyllis: What inspired Fall Baking?

Brooke: I always spend the summer dreaming about that first crisp fall day, when the Southern humidity finally relinquishes its hold upon us, and fall’s glorious light makes everything outside shine. This book is for that much-anticipated day when it’s time to preheat the oven and bake, letting the comforting smell of fall ingredients fill my home.

Phyllis: What fall flavors are featured in the book?

Brooke: More than any other season, I think we identify fall with so many signature flavors—cinnamon and spice, pumpkin, sweet potato, caramel, and more. We might not always know what we want to bake, but we know the flavor we are craving. Fall Baking is organized by flavor, which allows you to choose a flavor and then a recipe you want to bake and share.

Phyllis: What is your favorite recipe in Fall Baking?

Brooke: The simplicity and humbleness of a good pound cake is always a go-to for me, so the Cream Cheese Swirl Bundt Cake is one of my favorites. It gets drizzled with Apple Cider Syrup for a punch of fall flavor. The Apple Cider Syrup—which is nothing but apple cider reduced down—is included in several recipes in this book and has become my secret weapon for fall. I also love the Brown Butter-Pecan Tassies. This is an elevated version of the two-bite treat I remember my mother making for friends and neighbors when I was a child.

Phyllis: What’s your best baking tip?

Brooke: Don’t be intimidated. If you can follow directions, you can be a successful baker.

Phyllis: Spices are prominently featured in fall desserts. Do you have any ideas for keeping them fresh?

Brooke: I replace all of my spices each year when the weather cools. This way I know they are always fresh for my fall and holiday baking.

Phyllis: What is your favorite piece of bakeware at home?

Brooke: I couldn’t imagine baking cake layers in anything but my grandmother’s tall-sided cake pans. They’re nothing fancy, but they hold decades of memories.

Phyllis: Favorite baking tools?

Brooke: I love a French rolling pin, a small offset spatula, and the jar of ceramic pie weights my God son, Alex, gave me.

Phyllis: What kind of music do you listen to when you bake?

Brooke: There’s nothing like streaming WWOZ 90.7 FM out of New Orleans. It always brings happiness and relaxation to my kitchen.

What are your favorite fall flavors?

Comments 13

  1. From where I’m sitting as I write this comment I can see the annual first indication of Fall here in my Sugar Land, Texas yard. It’s the blush that appears each August on my Magnolia tree’s pods. I watch for the first hint of red to appear each sweltering August because it gives me hope that Fall is in the future. I’m sure it will be awhile before I feel like lighting the oven to bake an apple pie as my mother did when she felt that first crisp, cool morning. A freshly baked apple pie and a pot of homemade vegetable soup was her annual tradition that awaited the family as we came home from school or work with Fall in the air and wonderful aromas in the house.

  2. Mother made the most delicious mincemeat cake.
    The fragrance of the spices as it baked on a fall or winter day… Usually, we didn’t wait until dessert to have at least one slice. A glass of milk or cup of tea or coffee — it was perfect with any of them. And should there be any left, toasted with butter it was scrumptious breakfast treat!
    I don’t believe I’ve ever thought of apple cider syrup! Hummm, toasted mincemeat cake with butter & apple cider syrup. I think a new tradition might be born this fall. Thank you, Brooke, for a great idea!!
    Thank you Phyllis for another great post!!

  3. It’s 106 degree outside right now so I welcome Fall early, please!
    I love all the eats Sylvia mentioned about her Mom. She sounds
    just like my Mom’s cooking. Now I carry on her traditions and eats. I remember her simple spice cake in the fall with maple flavored frosting and chopped walnuts. Delish! And, oh so many more….. For now just struggling through these sweltering days and keeping an eye on the fall colors to come, the foliage always let us know and I anxiously await! Carmel

  4. Autumn is my very favorite time of the year! Living in North Texas, I always sigh when summer breezes turn into fall’s wind storms because I know that our summer time bird visitors will be leaving soon. At first freeze, I sadly store away my hummingbird feeders and change over the no melt suet feeders to a more substantial winter suet. But, happily, pumpkins are on their way to supermarkets and pumpkin patches everywhere! My affinity for pumpkins is what inspired me to use pumpkins and ivy as the year round theme in my kitchen!

    I’m looking forward to this new Fall Baking issue! Yay all things Fall!

  5. Apple butter small fried pies my mother made. Green beans in the pressure cooker and mom’s delicious from scratch, chocolate pie. Not to be missed were her biscuits, corn bread and dumplings with a chicken dinner.

  6. Simple baked apples are a good place to start Fall Baking. Just coring them and filling the hole with chopped pecans, dark and golden raisins, a bit of brown sugar and some butter inspires me to order pecans from my favorite supplier and get out the recipes for pumpkin, pecan, apple and sweet potato pies. That is when I make up a small jar of my own spice blend for pies and begin to collect and freeze orange and lemon zest. Adding lemon juice to apple pies gives them a surprising tang and a bit of vanilla with any fruit is or fruit juice gives richness. I learned to add vanilla from a Bavarian friend. One of my best pies is a double recipe for crushed pineapple and coconut. I started making them in the ’50s when my three boys complained that I made pies and then gave them away.
    ( Don’t we all do that for friends in crisis ) The recipe came from a friend in Columbiana and is a year round treat and very good with hot tea in the Fall.

  7. I replace my spices when I think of it but doing it on a regular basis in fall is good advice. Right now I’m baking pies and crisps with the fruits in season which is blueberries and peaches for southern Ontario.
    I’ll definitely be checking out what a French rolling pin is!

  8. A delicious article and book forecasting Autumn smells in our Southern kitchens. The photo of the pecan tart makes me drool,and perhaps start the season now!? Is the recipe in Fall Baking? Thank you

  9. This is so timely. We have had such an oppressively,hot,humid and dry summer this year up in Toronto and I have been reduced to baking quick desserts such as muffins and fruit cobblers so as not to heat up the kitchen. Each night I start to dream of cooler days, and the heavenly smells of apples,pears, cinnamon,pecans and brown sugar as they bubble up in pies and coffee cakes! I too love fall for so many reasons…colourful leaves, apple orchards, wagon rides, pumpkins…but fall baking tops the list.

  10. We go apple picking each fall and I can’t wait to make french crumb apple pie and applesauce. My mother make the best dried apples I have ever had. My other favorite is a good pear preserve.

  11. Despite the heat and humidity today, I am already thinking about the cooler days ahead when the air is crisp, the leaves change their colour and my daily tea flavours change from light and fruity to heavy and spicy!

    This book sounds lovely! Autumn is my absolute favourite time of year and I simply can’t wait for my copy of this book to arrive to start planning Autumnal brunches and teas with my family and friends! I can already taste the cinnamon…..

    Brandon Hartford
    Te Deum Cottage

  12. I think Brooke’s last words say it all: “happiness and relaxation” isn’t that what fall baking is all about? Add to that sweet memories of our mothers and grandmothers baking, and of course, the delicious end result to share with those we love around the table. I love fall for so many reasons, but the aroma of something sweet baking in the oven is definitely one of them!

    Looking forward to being inspired for many fall baking days by this book!

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