30 Non-Pumpkin Fall Treats

I'll just go ahead and say it. What's the big deal with pumpkin?

Don't get me wrong. I like pumpkin. When done right, I can even love pumpkin. But when fall rolls around, you'd think there's no other flavor, such is the proliferation of the gourd-geous stuff.

To inspire fall baking that accommodates the other seasonal produce and flavors, from apples and beyond, I've come up with this list of 30 awesome non-pumpkin fall treats for you to bake and enjoy. No particular order to these; just thirty I think are fab. 

1. Apple pie bars.

Including oats and apples, they might seem somewhat healthy, but trust you me, it's an illusion. These bars are all about the tasty brown sugary topping and caramelly innards, and cakey but firm base. (CakeSpy)

2. Applescotch cookies.

 Made using a cake mix, these apple cookies taste toasty in the fall, and come together in minutes. (CakeSpy)

3. Quince custard cake.

I'm intrigued by this mix of a lesser-known fruit and creamy custard. (Apt. 2B Baking)

4. Fig "Brownies.

Actual health food! But still tasty. These brownies employ figs for their tasty moisture. (Sarah Jio)

5. Honeycrisp apple bread.

 More seasonal than banana bread, more delicious than sandwich bread. A perfect way to secretly eat cake and call it breakfast. (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

6. Caramel Apple Magic Bars.

Look at that oozy caramelly top. Don't you want to swim in it? Or at the very least eat a stack of these? (The Domestic Rebel)

7. Homemade Mellowcreme pumpkins.

Why buy when you can make your own, which taste even better, and come together pretty quickly? (CakeSpy for Craftsy

8. Sweet potato biscuits.

Sweet. Moist. Carbohydratey. Need I say more? (Taste of Southern)

9. Apple pie bread pudding.

This bread pudding has all of the flavors of your favorite (non-pumpkin) fall pie. (Flavor Mosaic)

10. S'mores martinis.

Make s'mores and drink them too with these adult-friendly sweet martinis. (Excerpted on CakeSpy

11. Maple apple pie with walnut topping.

Maple isn't necessary a fall flavor, since it's harvested in the spring, but it works so well with apple and nut that it's joyfully allowed on this roundup. (The Spiffy Cookie)

12. Apple Cider Doughnuts.

Growing up, these were one of our quintessential fall treats on the Jersey Shore. I think you'll love them, too. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

13. Apple cinnamon chip blondies.

It's pretty well publicized that I prefer blondies to brownies. These ones look autumn-fantastic. (Culinary Concoctions by Peabody)

14. Sage Shortbread cookies.

These shortbread cookies are SAVORY! I know that sounds nutty, but try them with soup. (The Green Chalkboard)

15. Figgy pudding

Bring us some, right now! Figs are in season, so stock up and make this dessert from now til the official eve of figgy pudding-dom (you know, Christmas). (CakeSpy for Serious Eats)

16. Butternut squash cake.

It's not pumpkin, but it still has that lovely, earthy aroma and flavor. (Betty Crocker)

17.Quince jam thumbprint cookies.

Quince, once again! This time, in jam form, in tasty little thumbrpint cookies. (In Erika's Kitchen)

18. Apple pie breakfast bake.

A Bake-Off finalist from the past, this recipe is a winner on every morning it graces your table! (As seen on CakeSpy)

19. Brown sugar buttercream.

It may or may not contain crack. Not technically fall-flavored, but it goes with everything toasty and comforting, so it's on the list. (CakeSpy for Craftsy)

20. "Carnival" caramel apples.

Can't you just taste the outdoor fun? Extra points if you make them with apples you picked. ( Taste of Home)

21. Caramel Apple Nachos.

These are pretty cute, and they even look healthy, even though that is not my primary concern.(Consumer Queen)

22. Brussels Sprouts Cupcakes.

Believe it, my friends. Whether you want to or not. (CakeSpy)

23. Pear and custard tart.

Pears are in season. Custard is always a welcome accompaniment! (As seen on CakeSpy)

24. Chocolate Cauliflower cake.

Seriously. It exists and is apparently very good. (Chocolate Covered Katie)

25. Brown sugar ginger cream cake.

Pears! Cake! And plenty of rich brown sugar pecan butter topping. YUM! (CakeSpy for Garlic My Soul)

26. Triple-dipped apple s'mores.

Take your favorite outdoor treat and add apples that you just picked, because of course you're all fall-like and outside picking apples. Right? (Country Living)

27. Cinnamon roll pear bread pudding.

This Pillsbury Bake-Off finalist recipe is perfect for cool fall mornings: indulgent with a touch of health. It will keep you going! (As seen on CakeSpy)

28. Macaron mushrooms.

Well, OK, they're actually sweet. But mushrooms are in season, so consider them an homage! Via Bubble and Sweet.

29. Apple pie.

Plain and simple is best sometimes. (Craftsy)

Note: also check out the history of apple pie, here!

30. Cheesy sausage bread.

I know it's not sweet but wow, totally sweet! Have it for "dessert" after all these treats. (BHG)

What's your favorite (non-pumpkin!) fall treat?

Fall, Canadian-Style: Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars

Although Nanaimo bars are perfect just as they are, sometimes it's nice to get celebratory about the season.

Just as people enjoy putting on sweaters and drinking pumpkin spice lattes, Nanaimo bars like to get their Fall on. These ones are a lovely fall treat, with pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice mixed into both the bottom and middle layers. Now, the pumpkin in the bottom layer does make them moist to the point that you want to keep them in the refrigerator, but I think the slightly annoying texture will be forgiven when you take your first creamy, custard-y, kissed with earthy pumpkin-flavored bite. 

Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars

Many of the key components of a Nanaimo bar remain constant: nuts and coconut in the crust, the Bird's custard in the middle section, and of course the chocolate topping. I tested out white and butterscotch chips on the topping, and while they looked pretty, chocolate definitely won the taste test.

Feel like getting your fall on with a tasty Canadian treat? Let's go. 

For the bottom layer

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 2 1/4 cups finely crushed sugar cookies
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (almonds are traditional; pecans or walnuts work well, too)

For the middle layer

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tablespoons Bird’s Custard Powder, or substitute vanilla pudding powder (instant)
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

For the top layer

  • 4 ounces chocolate (or white chocolate or butterscotch morsels), coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter

Step 1: Prepare the bottom layer.

Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars

Melt the butter, pumpkin, salt, and spice in a medium saucepan over low heat until fully incorporated, but do not let the mixture come to a boil. Add the beaten egg and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken, less than 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cookie crumbs, coconut and nuts. Press down firmly into a greased 8″ by 8″ pan; try to make the mixture as flat as possible in the pan. Let this cool for about 20 minutes in the freezer (you want it to be as firm as possible, and the pumpkin variation never becomes quite as firm as the bottom of a traditional Nanaimo bar).

Step 2: Prepare the middle layer.

Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream, pumpkin, spice, custard powder and confectioners’ sugar together until very light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Spread over the bottom layer, taking care to spread it as flat and evenly as possible. Consider flattening with an offset spatula.

Basically, the flatter this level, the flatter the chocolate will lie on the top. Return the pan to the refrigerator while you prepare the topping.

Step 3: Prepare the top layer.

Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars

Can't decide whether you want chocolate, white chocolate, or butterscotch? Do as I did and make three separate batches! Or, stick to one fave.

In a medium saucepan or double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter over medium heat, stirring often to ensure that the mixture doesn’t scorch. Remove from heat. Let sit until the mixture is still liquid but very thick, then pour it over the second (middle) layer and gently spread it with a spatula to ensure even coverage

Note: Work carefully, because the still-warm chocolate will get messy if you press too hard while spreading it and tear up the buttery layer below.

Be sure to score the tops of the bars before the chocolate totally sets on top. This will make slicing them much easier later.

Typically, Nanaimo bars are sliced in fingers rather than squares. You can slice them any way you like, of course, but for an authentic look, split into eight rows in one direction and six rows the other way, so that they are slightly elongated when sliced.

Pumpkin Nanaimo Bars

Let the chocolate set on the bars, then place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving. Run a knife under hot water and then dry off before slicing; this will help the knife go through the bars easily. Clean the knife frequently between cuts.

Have you ever tried a Nanaimo bar? If not, check out these other tasty variations:

Classic Nanaimo bars Triple chocolate Nanaimo bars

Shortbread Nanaimo bars

Conversation Heart Nanaimo bars

Straight-Up Simple: Amish Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Pumpkin bread

I suppose I'd better just say it: there is absolutely nothing remarkable about this pumpkin bread.

But--hear me out--it is in that unremarkable nature that it is simply sublime.

Listen, I know we're in the Age of the Cronut, the Oreo-stuffed cookie, and heck, I'm even the one who shared a lot of this type of recipe with the world--Cookie Cake Pie, Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict, and so on. So I realize that this may be surprising, coming from me.

But sometimes, plain and simple is absolutely the best. When I discovered this pumpkin bread recipe in Simply Delicious Amish Cooking (recipes from, of all things, the Amish population of Sarasota, Florida--no, really), I made a conscious decision to not mess with the recipe at all--that meant not substituting butter for the oil, no adding chocolate chips or nuts--just baking the straight-up bread, plain and simple.

Breakfast of champions

Simple doesn't mean that a recipe has to be devoid of joy. The batter came together in minutes, and then for more than an hour, my house was filled with the warm aromas of pumpkin and spice. Forget yoga, meditation, or therapy--this is truly calming and soothing stuff, just living in the aroma of pumpkin bread baking. 

Pumpkin breadPumpkin bread

The bread came out perfect. It doesn't have a flavor that zings the taste buds, but it tastes earthy, spicy, and sweet. It's satisfyingly dense. It plays well with other flavors--over a few days, I tried it plain, with chunky peanut butter on top, and warm with butter gently melting on top with a sprinkle of cinnamon. All variations were highly delicious. 

Don't make this bread if you're looking for a flashy dessert. But do make it if you want something cozy, calming, and delicious.

The only thing I changed was the pans--I don't have two loaf pans, so I baked the bread in one 9x9-inch pan filled 2/3 full, and the rest as little pumpkin bread cupcakes. The cupcakes baked for 30 minutes, the bread was right on the mark for 60 minutes in my kitchen.

Oh, I lied. I also used one 15-ounce can of pumpkin, because no way was I going to open another can just to use one ounce. It worked fine. 

Pumpkin bread

Pumpkin bread

Pumpkin Bread

From Simply Delicious Amish Cooking: Recipes and stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida by Sherry Gore

Makes two loaves

  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine dry ingredients (through the ginger) and mix well. Add the 4 moist ingredients. Mix well. Pour into 2 bread pans. Bake 1 hour or until done. This bread freezes really well.