Tag Archives: fall

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars


At the school where I work, it is tradition to have a chili cook-off on the first teacher grading day of the year.  It works a little something like this.  You make a chili.  You bring the chili to school in a crock-pot.  You drop it off and someone gives you a number; that, hopefully, will be the lucky number of the day.  You let it simmer all morning.  You then wait for the announcement that lunch is served and the blind tasting begins.  You taste all the other chilies–the traditional ones, the non-traditional ones.  And then you vote for your own chili and pray you win, getting all the glory–and the silly trophy–that comes with it.


Actually, even though this tradition is all fun and games, it was a little more stress than I could handle on a grade day.  It’s enough for me to agonize over giving final grades; I can’t agonize on how my chili will be stacked against others.

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Pumpkin Pie Muffins


It’s funny how come fall, I crave pumpkin.  Between September and November I can’t tell you how many pumpkin related food I make, but once Thanksgiving hits, I have no desire to eat, think about, or make anything pumpkin. Is anyone else with me on this one?


And while I’m being honest here, I have a confession to make.  I really dislike pumpkin pie.  Please don’t hate me.  I only make it because it’s tradition at Thanksgiving, but I don’t eat it.  Now, if you’re talking pumpkin milkshakes, pumpkin cupcakes, or even pumpkin waffles, then I’m all in.  It’s also why my husband buys the $7 dollar Costco pumpkin pie and relishes eating it every day for a week, because he knows I won’t make it.  (A few weeks ago, while shopping at Costco and finding it magically appear in my shopping cart, I gave half of it to my neighbors.  That pie is so huge!!) Continue reading

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Apple Puff Pancakes

So I have been on hiatus for a year and a half.  Wow, I wasn’t planning on taking that long of a break!  During my absence, I put off renewing my website domain name.  Actually, it was more of a lapse on my part, one of those I’ll-get-to-it-when-I-have-a-free-moment kind of lapses.  However, when I did get around to renewing it about a month later, not thinking too much about any repercussions that might have ensued, I was quite shocked that my blog name was no longer available.  WHAT??? I’ve had this blog name for 4 years. Four long years! After some investigating, a friend figured out someone from Japan had snatched up my name.  I am sure this person was waiting for me to BEG for my name back, at any price, but this only fueled my complete annoyance at this person (and complete annoyance is an understatement).  (By the way, if you do go to the website, it has absolutely nothing to do with baking.  Just warning you.)

But truth be told, I wasn’t fully sold on my web name.  It does come from my favorite novel, Pride and Prejudice, but my idea many years ago of starting a side business of baking out of my home came with too many bumps in the road.  So while creating a new blog name, I thought about what I wanted this blog to be, how often I would like to post, and what creative outlet I wanted it to serve.  With that in mind, I decided to just simply call it Holly Bakes, because, well, that’s mostly what I do on this blog.

I can’t guarantee that I’ll post every week, as I have two young kids and work full-time, but I can guarantee that what is put on here is fantastic food and something I hope you’ll try and share with your family.  And if you do, I’d truly love to hear from you.  Sometimes writing and sending posts out into cyberspace feels like such a lonely vacuum.  So, without further adieu, here is my first post in a year and a half.  Enjoy! xoxo



We went to an apple orchard on a dreary, drizzly, October day.  Actually, this is quite common for the Northwest, so we were prepared with raincoats, umbrellas, and goulashes.  My parents have friends who own this orchard and had a fun morning planned for kids; both Matthew and Grace had a blast riding in a four-wheeler, eating delicious applesauce, and picking what apples they could reach.  I couldn’t help but laugh at Grace as she tried carrying the bucket full of apples as we moved our way down the row of trees.


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10 Fall Favorite Recipes

To me, fall always brings on a sense of warmth and comfort.  Cozy fires, warm apple-cider, family gatherings.  In this post, I thought I’d share with you my top 1o favorite fall recipes.  And at the end of the post are some of my other favorite fall recipes from blogs that I follow.  I hope you’re inspired to make some of these today.  Enjoy! xoxo

My Top-10 Fall Recipes

Apple Crisp

Caramel Apples

Cream Cheese Apple Dip

Owl Sugar Cookies

Pecan Bars

Pretzel Jello

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Filed under bars, breakfasts, cookies, cupcakes, frozen desserts, pies

Pecan Bars

I love the changing of the seasons.  While it took a little while for summer to get here, I was glad it lingered for quite some time.   (Last weekend was our last, nice, summer-y weather until next July–usually our summers end by the first week of October.)  However, it was apparent by the weather this past weekend that fall has definitely arrived.  My husband and I have been drinking apple cider like nobody’s business, and we braved the rain and wind to tote around the pumpkin patch to get that perfect pumpkin for carving.

Along with the changing of seasons, our season of life is changing too.  As you probably already know, Eric and I are transitioning to welcome another baby–this time a girl.  Just four more weeks to go!  (Panic and nesting modes have begun to settle in.)  We currently live in a 2 bedroom, 1000 square-foot condo, which means Matthew will share a bedroom with her.  There are certainly some positives to kids sharing rooms, but we are starting to feel a little cramped.  Good thing the kids are small.  As a result, we’ve moved our desk downstairs to create a bit more room, which means I have given up my desktop, where I know where every file is, to sharing a laptop with Eric and having every file and photo on an external drive, where I do not know where everything is. 

But what has been the hardest for me to come to terms with is that I cannot do it all.  Continue reading


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Apple Crisp

Apples are so fall.  I try not to eat them much in the summer, so I can enjoy other fruits, and then have my apple fix when the cold weather starts.  My mom has made apple crisps for as long as I can remember.  (And for my post with Frosting for the Cause, my back-up, in case the cinnamon rolls didn’t turn out, was this recipe.)  And every time she made them, I couldn’t wait for them to come out of the oven so I could eat a large bowl-full.  Right out of the oven, all piping hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is my favorite way to eat this dessert.

They are super easy to make, and super delicious to the mouth.  The hardest part about this recipe is peeling the apples.  (I actually put my husband to work doing that, so it really was a cinch.)  You could even double the recipe if you like, whether you’re feeding a larger crowd, you have lots of apples to eat, or you just like apple crisps.  Serve this à la mode or alone.  Have it with tart apples or sweet apples.  (There’s enough yummy goodness, a.k.a sugar, to cut down on the tartness.)  Either way, it will not let you down!  Grab a bowl, some ice cream, and scoop yourself some delightfulness right now! :)  Enjoy! xoxo

Apple Crisp

printable recipe

4 c peeled apples
2/3 – ¾ c packed brown sugar
½ c flour
½ c rolled oats
¾ t cinnamon
¾ t nutmeg
1/3 c cold butter

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spray an 8 x 8-inch pan with cooking spray.  Place apples in pan.  Cut the butter into small cubes.  In a separate bowl, combine all ingredients.  Work the butter into the cinnamon mixture, using a pastry cutter or fingers to get the butter to pea size pieces.

Pour over apples and bake for 30-35 minutes.  Serve with ice cream, whip cream, or alone.

*NOTE: If you choose to double this recipe, make it in a 9” x 13” pan.  Baking time will still be the same


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Caramel Apples {tutorial}

When I would visit my aunt and uncle in Santa Cruz, one of my favorite places to go was the Boardwalk.  And on the Boardwalk, one of my favorite things to get was a caramel apple.  Walking into the shop, my eyes would fixate on the beautiful caramel apples in the display case, beckoning me with their different toppings–M&Ms, chopped nuts, white chocolate, dark chocolate.  Oh, it was so hard to choose just one!

But today…today I didn’t have to choose just one.  I made my own caramel apples  and didn’t have to choose.  What a wonderful feeling.  However, I didn’t make them just by myself, or just for myself.  Eric and my mom helped me by peeling the wrappers off the caramel (which was HUGE), and then, once they were hardened, eating them.

To make caramel apples, you first need to melt the caramel squares–either in the microwave or a double boiler.  I am not good with the microwave, so I use the double boiler.

While the caramel is melting, take your popsicle sticks and stick them halfway down into the apples, keeping the stick straight. (What I mean by that is, let the apple naturally lie on the counter–none will be perfect, and many will tilt to the side–and then insert the stick.)  I like the jumbo craft sticks, but you could use whatever suits your fancy.

You will also need to chop any toppings, if you are using them. Continue reading


Filed under Chilled Desserts