Cosy autumn bakes and makes

WE MADE IT! September is finally here, signalling the start of the best third of the year, and my annual lobotomy is well underway. I feel giddy with anticipation about conker hunting, my first hot chai latte of the year and slipping back into a jacket, and while you can of course hygge anywhere, anytime (for the most part), autumn for me is where hygge really comes into its own.

As I always say, hygge shouldn’t be expensive, no matter what the marketing department at homeware stores might have you believe. You CAN slap ‘hygge’ on a £70 blanket, but you could just as easily grab your own from your blanket basket (just me?) and hunker down without spending anything.

It’s no secret that I love cooking and baking, so naturally my mind has turned to the cosier delicacies in life. My Pinterest food board is creaking under the weight of all the cinnamon, blackberries, pumpkin and apple recipes, and I wanted to share a few of my findings with you. The theme I’ve gone for here is ‘easy’ – that means minimal ingredients, no long, laborious recipes and ingredients you can find in your local supermarket. I also wanted to find ways to make the most out of summer’s final fresh ingredients, so hopefully you’ll find an idea or two to squeeze the final few days of summer out of your garden.

Blackberry vodka

I’ve actually already got my blackberry vodka on the go! As I mentioned in my last post, Sussex has been buried under blackberries this year, so obviously I had to do one last little blackberrying session. I knew I had lots of baking on my list already, so I thought this year I’d try something a bit different.

I used this recipe, which, as promised, is super simple. I did reduce the sugar a bit as I’m a) a type 1 diabetic and b) not especially sweet-toothed, but I added a squeeze or two or lemon juice just to help the fruit break down. I’m no scientist so I have no idea if that’s how it works, but I’ll report back in a couple of months when it’s time to crack it open!

Cherry tomato sauce

I’ve also already ticked this one off my list. My mum’s garden had a glut of cherry tomatoes this year, so I nabbed a punnet and rustled up this simple cherry tomato sauce. To take full advantage of the homegrown element of the sauce, I also added in some garden basil and a couple of tiny chillis, which added A LOT of heat to the sauce.

I liked this recipe because it’s really easy and versatile, so you can tailor it to your taste. I see absolutely no reason why you couldn’t chuck in some olives, anchovies, spinach or whatever else you need to use up. I tried it yesterday with pasta and it was delicious, and I can also see it working well as a pizza sauce.

Pumpkin spice muffins

If your muffins have pumpkin in them they’re basically a health food, right? Also, I have every single ingredient required for this pumpkin spice muffin recipe in my kitchen right now, and I imagine you will too – aside from maybe the pumpkin puree, which I buy from Sainsbury’s, but you can also get it from Amazon.

I’m super excited at the prospect of whipping up a batch of these for speedy autumn breakfasts, but possibly even more excited about how good the house is going to smell when they’re in the oven. I also cannot recommend enough that you buy a set of American measuring cups – I always used to convert each cup measurement one by one into grams when I used American recipes, but these days I actually prefer to use recipes using cups for the sake of ease.

Chai latte cake

There is no such thing as too much chai. That’s a fact. There is also no such thing as too much Great British Bake-Off (known as The Great British Baking Show in the US, so I hear), so former contestant Chetna’s chai latte cake is an absolute no-brainer for me.

Obviously I can’t just follow a recipe to the letter, so the one teeny tiny tweak I’d make is melting some dark chocolate to drizzle over the icing. But that’s it! My mouth is literally watering just thinking about this recipe, and I might even write another post when I get round to baking this.

Gluten-free peanut butter muffins

I LOVE PEANUT BUTTER. I love it! And I love muffins! And with Mr Hygge being coeliac, I thought it would be fun for me to try my hand at baking some gluten-free peanut butter muffins later this month. And as an added bonus… there are only THREE INGREDIENTS. Three!

There’s no real need to mess with the perfection that is mashed bananas, peanut butter and eggs, but I miiiight experiment with a pinch of nutmeg and maybe a few dark chocolate chips. Or, now I think about it, chocolate peanuts! I can imagine these will quickly become part of my autumn baking repertoire, and there are SO many ways to play with this recipe and make it your own. I reckon this would be a perfect match for Whittard’s peanut butter hot chocolate too…

Autumn apple cake

Apple cake is my mum’s favourite; particularly the kind you find in cafés in Scandinavia. It’s amazingly light and fluffy, and pretty much the opposite of Mary Berry’s apple cake, which is much heavier and more indulgent. One of my friend’s mum’s baked a vegan version of this, and it was genuinely one of the nicest cakes I’ve ever eaten.

Again, easy easy easy recipe – it’s not far at all from a standard Victoria sponge. To make it more autumnal, I’d probably add half a teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter, and then serve it with some loosely whipped almond cream – a kind of bastardised version of what you’d find in a semlor bun. When I say almond cream, I mean standard whipped cream flavoured with a few drops of almond essence – nothing to do with almond milk!

Candied pecans

I WISH candied nuts were a bigger thing in the UK! We have salted peanuts as a pub snack, but candied nuts only really come out at Christmas, and even then it’s more pastel-coloured sugared almonds than these sweetly spicy little treasures.

I spotted this recipe for candied pecans on Pinterest and, naturally, my heart temporarily stopped. It’s really just a case of raiding your cupboards and mixing a few ingredients in a bowl. The most strenuous part is making sure all the pecans are properly coated in the spice mixture before they go into the oven, but I think we can all probably manage that. To be honest, I’d just munch these as they are, but you could also use them in brownies, crumbled over granola for a decadent breakfast or as a cute little pancake topping.

So these are the autumnal bakes and makes on my list so far! They’re all perfect for a little spot of autumn hygge, and they should keep your tastebuds suitably tantalised throughout the crisp mornings and the cosy evenings.

Like the look of these? If so, be sure to follow my food board on Pinterest for more foodie inspiration!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Susan says:

    Your post popped up in my gmail account and I actually READ it. (I have about 3,000 unread emails in my 4 gmail accounts *eye roll*.) Like you, I am so relieved Fall is here – my absolute favourite time of the year is September 1 until January 6 (Epiphany). I was looking around your Pinterest page as well. You definitely strike me as a “Pendleton 49er” type – I could SO see you in one of those jackets. Google it. I was also tempted to post a comment about Venice – lovely photos on Instagram, btw – as I lost my virginity there in April, 1968 to a handsome, blond northern Italian. It sounds WAY more romantic than it was. Anyway, probably too much information, huh – especially from someone who’s probably your grandmother’s age. (This is what COVID does to us oldsters – makes us weirdly blabby…) Ah well.

    1. Oh this is so nice to hear Susan! I’m definitely with you on the unread emails – I’m the queen of chaotic inboxes. I just looked up Pendleton 49 jackets and you’re absolutely right, I LOVE them! Never too much information – I love little stories like these, as they give people so much colour and character 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and I hope you’ll share more with me in the future!

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