Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

Senior talks baking, her love behind it

Harrison Jones, Staff Writer

With the holiday season readily approaching, people are preparing by cooking and baking their favorite fall dishes.

Senior Ella Mills is one of these people. Mills was so excited to start baking for the fall season. Now that it’s here, she is eager to begin.

Baking has been a tradition in Mills’ family for a long time, with her childhood being filled with what she called “Mimi Mondays,” where she baked with her grandmother.

“We’d go over to her house and we’d bake,” she said. “She used to work for Three Women and an Oven. I grew up going there and watching her, so I made a lot with her and then my mom used to bake a lot too — so both of them got me into baking.”

Her Mimi isn’t the only one she baked with, though; her favorite fall recipe actually comes from a dessert her mom has made throughout her life.

“My favorite has to be pumpkin bars — my mom has made them forever,” Mills said. “I grew up with them, and they’re pumpkin [with] this really sweet icing on top. You put it in a sheet pan and cut them up — they’re so good.”

Even though Mills has baked with her family most of her life, she prefers to bake on her own.

“It makes it harder when there’s a bunch of people trying to bake together,” she said.

The treats she makes are typically for other people.

“I usually bake for anyone; normally I just bake for my family,” she said. “My brother really likes when I bake so he’s always begging me to bake something so he can eat it.”

For Mills, baking is a tradition running in the family that’s just as much about the people she’s baking for as it is the treat itself.

“Baking is a huge stress reliever for me,” she said. “I always love being creative and trying new things. It’s so special to me because I have grown up baking with my mimi and mom and learning the best tips from them.”

 

 

Homemade Apple Cider 

Recipe From- Delish 

Makes- 2 Quarts

Prep Time- 10 minutes 

Total Time- 3 hours 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 10 large apples, quartered (Ones with stronger flavors like granny smith or honeycrisp are better)
  • ½ an orange, halved 
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. whole allspice 
  • 1 whole nutmeg
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar

Directions 

  • Heat large stockpot over medium heat
  • Add apples, oranges, spices, and brown sugar
  • Cover with water by at least two inches
  • Bring to a boil before reducing heat
  • Simmer covered for two hours
  • Remove oranges halves 
  • Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to mash apples
  • Return to simmer 
  • Let simmer one hour uncovered 
  • Strain through a fine-mesh strainer
  • Press down solids to remove any juices leftover
  • Discard solids
  • Serve warm 

 

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes

Recipe From- Delish 

Makes- 20 Cupcakes

Prep Time- 15 minutes 

Total Time- 1 hour 30 minutes

Calories- 303

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 (15 oz. can) pumpkin puree

Ingredients Frosting 

  • 1 (8 oz.) block cream cheese, softened
  • 4 tbsp. Butter, softened 
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch kosher salt

Directions 

  • Preheat oven to  350 degrees
  • Line two muffin tins 
  • In a medium bowl whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt, baking powder, and baking soda
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) add eggs one at a time beating thoroughly afterward, add vanilla extract and pumpkin puree; beat till incorporated
  • Add dry ingredients and mix till combined 
  • Fill cupcake liners ¾ the way full
  • Bake 20-23 minutes or until the toothpick comes out clean; let cool completely
  • While cupcakes are baking make the frosting 
  • In a large bowl mix together beat cream cheese, and butter till smooth
  • Add powdered sugar, and pumpkin pie spice; beat till no lumps remain 
  • Add vanilla and a pinch of salt
  • Frost cooled cupcakes and serve

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe From- Delish 

Makes- 35 cookies

Prep Time- 15 minutes 

Total Time- 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking soda
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 large egg 
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  • In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, pumpkin spice, and salt
  • In a large bowl with a hand mixer or with a stand mixer cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy
  • Beat in pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla extract until combined, then add flour mixture
  • Beat on low until now raw flour appears 
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Schoop one inch balls onto the pan, two inches apart 
  • Bake for 12 minutes or until puffed and golden brown 

 

Butter Pecan Cookies 

Recipe From- Delish 

Makes- 30 cookies

Prep Time- 10 minutes 

Total Time- 1 hour 30 minutes 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened 
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For Frosting 

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup pecans, for decorating

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees 
  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or stand mixer) beat butter and sugars till smooth
  • Add vanilla and eggs till combined
  • Add flour, baking soda, and salt, mix till combined
  • Fold in pecans
  • Chill dough for 20-30 minutes
  • Scoop chilled dough into balls of dough and place onto baking sheets
  • Bake 10-12 minutes, let cool completely

For Frosting

  • In a large bowl using a hand mixer (or in a stand mixer) beat butter until smooth and fluffy
  • Add powdered sugar, beat till combined
  • Add maple syrup and heavy cream, beat till creamy
  • Frost cooled cookies 
  • Decorate with pecans (optional)

 

Caramel Apple Pie

Recipe From- Delish 

Makes- 8 servings

Prep Time- 15 minutes 

Total Time- 6 hours 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ lb. assorted apples (granny smith, honey crisp, or gala) cored, peeled, and thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tbsp. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon 
  • ½ tsp. Pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ cup caramel, more for serving 
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tbsp. Water
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling
  • Ice cream, for serving (optional) 

For Crust

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut in ½ pieces 
  • 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 6 tbsp. ice water (plus more if needed) 

Directions For Crust

  • Make crust, place flour and butter in the freezer for 30 minutes before starting the crust process
  • In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt
  • Add butter using your hands or a pastry cutter, cut butter into flour mixture until pea-sized and some slightly larger pieces form 
  • Add vinegar and water 1 tbsp. at a time, until the dough starts to come together, moist but not wet, the mixture will be crumbly
  • Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, form into 2 equal-sized balls before flattening into disks, minimal-no cracks 
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees, large baking sheet on middle rack
  • Roll out the dough while filling cools 
  • Roll out 1 disc of dough into a 12-inch circle
  • Transfer crust into a 9-inch pie plate, gently press to fit, trim edge to 1-inch overhang, tuck under itself and crimp edges 
  • Roll out another disk of dough, cut into strips and layer over top of apples, press strip edges into crimped crust

Directions For Filling 

  • In a large skillet over medium heat add apples, brown sugar, lemon juice, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt
  • Cook until liquid has thickened and apples are tender (12-15 minutes) 
  • Added cooled apple mixture into pie crust

Further Directions 

  • Cool pie for 15 minutes or until crust is chilled
  • Brush chilled crust with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse sugar
  • Place pie on a preheated baking sheet and bake for 50 minutes
  • If crust darkens to quickly cover loosely with foil 
  • Let cool on wire rack at least 2 hours before serving 
  • Top with more caramel
  •  Serve with ice cream (optional)