Fall has always been my favorite time of year. It has nothing to do with the fact that I was born in October. (No, really, it doesn’t, I promise) And fall is rapidly becoming my boys’ favorite time of year, too.
First of all, there’s the weather. When it got chilly last weekend, the first thing my older son asked for when he woke up was hot cocoa. Who doesn’t love a steaming mug of chocolaty goodness on a crisp fall morning? With the cooler weather comes camping, one of our favorite family activities. There is nothing better than spending the day hiking, crunching along in the colorful leaves, then cooking over an open flame, making melty, delicious s ‘mores and going to sleep under the stars – after the ghost stories, of course.
Fall is also soccer season. My younger son plays and is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. Saturdays at the soccer field, cheering him on, are a fun way to spend a family day too.
Fall means corn mazes, pumpkin patches, haunted houses and hayrides. Last weekend we visited four haunted houses at a local amusement park and crept through them, alternately laughing hysterically and clutching each other in anticipation of what was going to pop out from behind the next corner. We go to a nearby corn maze every year, too, and luckily for me my boys have a better sense of direction than I do, because they can sniff our way out much more quickly than I can. We pick up our pumpkins at the same place, searching the extensive field for just the right gourd to take home for our jack o’ lantern.
Fall also means baking. Lots of baking. Pumpkin bread, cinnamon rolls, spice loaf, peanut butter cookies and these pumpkin butterscotch fudge bars that combine all the delicious flavors of my favorite season.
Pumpkin Butterscotch Fudge Bars
Makes 4 dozen
Recipe Courtesy of Quaker Oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup Quaker® Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup flaked coconut
3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp baking soda
12 Tbs (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 Tbs stick butter or margarine
2/3 cup evaporated milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup 100% Pure Pumpkin
1-1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups (4 oz.) miniature marshmallows
1-2/3 cups (11-oz. pkg.) butterscotch chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, divided
1 tsp vanilla
Heat oven to 350°F. Line 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with foil.
For cookie base, combine flour, oats, brown sugar, nuts, coconut, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda in medium bowl; mix well. Stir in butter; mix well. Press into jelly-roll pan.
Bake 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool in pan on wire rack.
For fudge, combine butter, evaporated milk, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and salt in medium, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium heat. Boil, stirring constantly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in marshmallows, chips, 1/2 cup nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until marshmallows are melted. Pour over cookie base; sprinkle with remaining nuts. Refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars.
Nutritional Information (per bar):Calories 128; Calories from Fat 56; Total Fat 6 g; Cholesterol 9 mg; Sodium 84 mg; Total Carbohydrates 17 g; Dietary Fiber 1 g; Sugars 12 g; Protein 2 g