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Carrie's Kitchen: Getting excited for fall desserts

Two weeks ago I was writing about Indian summer, but now I'm ready to throw myself into fall, and what is more exciting than fall desserts?

Over the weekend I learned that we were having some impromptu guests, so I rooted around in my pantry to see what I had on hand to make a quick dessert.

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Every year there seems to be a pumpkin shortage, so whenever I see the first canned pumpkin in stores, I tend to buy four or five cans so that I'll have it when I need it. Upon inspection this weekend, I found I had two cans left from last year, and decided that with the advent of falling leaves and the wearing of jeans, it was also OK to make a pumpkin dessert.

I also had some cream cheese frosting in the fridge left over from spice cake cupcakes I had made the day before, and I thought that would go great with the pumpkin. So I did a quick recipe search and found this recipe from Paula Deen for pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting. I altered the cream cheese frosting recipe, though, to reflect the one I had already made - Deen's had more butter than I had used (go figure).

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The second recipe is from a little magazine called

Fall Baking

by Gold Medal flour company that I had picked up at the grocery store in 2003, according to the date on it. It has several recipes that I've enjoyed, including two that I have shared previously, but while flipping through it this time, the recipe for apple cinnamon raisin bread pudding with whiskey cream caught my eye. I'm not a big fan of bread pudding, but it's one of those trendy desserts that you see everywhere these days, so I thought I'd share.

What is your favorite fall dessert? Feel free to send recipes you would like to share with our readers.

Enjoy!

Pumpkin bars with cream cheese frosting
Bars:
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Using an electric mixer at medium speed, combine the eggs, sugar, oil and pumpkin until light and fluffy. Stir together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix at low speed until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth. Spread the batter into a greased 13-by-10-inch baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely before frosting. Cut into bars.
To make the icing: Combine the cream cheese and butter in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and mix at low speed until combined. Stir in the vanilla and mix again. Spread on cooled pumpkin bars.
Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com

Apple cinnamon raisin bread pudding with whiskey cream
Bread pudding:

6 cups cubed cinnamon-raisin bread (8 slices)
2 cups thinly sliced peeled apples (2 medium)
4 eggs
¾ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Streusel topping:
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup old-fashioned oats
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
Whiskey cream:
1 ½ cups heavy whipping cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons whiskey, if desired

For the bread pudding: Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Toss bread and apples in ungreased rectangular baking dish, 13-by-9-inches. Beat eggs, sugar and salt in large bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Beat in milk and vanilla. Pour milk mixture over bread and apples. Let stand 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the streusel topping; sprinkle evenly over unbaked pudding.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until center is puffed and golden. Cool at least 30 minutes. Serve topped with whiskey cream.
To make the streusel topping: Mix flour, oats, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Drizzle with melted butter; toss until crumbly.
To make the whiskey cream: Beat whipping cream and powdered sugar in chilled medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Gently stir in whiskey. Refrigerate until serving.
Serves 12.
Source: "Fall Baking" by Gold Medal

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