Photos by L.G. Patterson
No matter the season, some of the best memories are made with food. But the flavors of fall are something special.
To help you discover new recipes and flavors this season, we assembled a section of desserts, from local shops’ signature sweets to in-house recipes. So, whether you prefer getting your fall favorites at the store or would instead like to bake at home, we’ve got you covered! Grab your apron (or the car keys) and enjoy!
5751 S. Route K
When you think of fall, you might not think of making macarons. But for Mackenzie Blakeman, owner of Mackenzie’s Blakery, macarons are her specialty. Every year since 2019, when she opened her business, she has created the perfect seasonal selection of macarons. Whether you are looking for classic fall flavors or something unique, Blakeman will have the combination of your dreams. “I switch it up every year, but I traditionally have a pumpkin pie or pumpkin cheesecake, most likely a caramel apple and some kind of chocolate.” For this issue, Blakeman created s’mores, butterbeer and pumpkin pie macarons.
If you want to try and make this delicate treat at home, Blakeman says to allot three to four hours, noting all that is needed is egg whites and sugar. “You combine those to make the meringue, and then you fold in powdered sugar and almond flour,” she says. “That’s it, that will give you a simple macaron.”
But she says the easiest thing to mess up is the meringue. “Watch your meringue; when you are whipping, it is very easy to under whip and overwhip; you don’t want to let it go and walk away,” she says. “I like my meringue to have a very stiff peak, almost to the point of overwhipping.”
Another tip for making macarons at home is to ensure they have rested before you bake them. “You want to be able to run your finger over the top without sticking,” Blakeman says. “You want it just to glide.” This trick will allow the cookie to rise and come back down to give it the classic macaron shape. “My recipe has to dry for at least an hour,” she says.
So, if you’re ready to take on the macaron magic, give yourself enough time, trust the process and, of course, have fun!
Peggy Jean’s Pies’ Bourbon Whipped Cream recipe (for 9-inch pie)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 cup bourbon
- Combine heavy cream and sugar.
- Pour in bourbon and mix.
- Whip/whisk until cream makes a peak when the whisk or mixer is extracted.
Peggy Jean’s Pies’ Dutch Apple Topping recipe (for 9-inch pie)
- 2 cups brown sugar
- 1 cup flour
- 1 stick butter
- Combine sugar and flour. Mix until there are no clumps.
- Melt the stick of butter and when the butter is hot, make a well in the center of the sugar/flour mixture and pour in the butter.
- Mix with your hands until the mixture is dry and crumbly.
- Cover the top of your pie generously (don’t pat).
Bourbon Whipped Cream
Peggy Jean’s Pies
503 E. Nifong Blvd., suite C
For a more classic treat, Peggy Jean’s Pies creates the perfect pies for any fall occasion. Savor the notes of pumpkin, pecan, bourbon and more, and let them take you back to all your favorite fall memories. Every fall, Rebecca Miller, owner of Peggy Jean’s Pies, says she always makes the classics, including pumpkin pie, apple, peach praline, butterscotch bourbon, pumpkin bourbon and more. You can purchase any of these pies throughout the season from Peggy Jean’s, but if you are a more do-it-yourself person, Miller says it’s all in the dough.
While their dough recipe is a family secret, Miller says it only takes some basic ingredients. “It was my grandma’s recipe; it has never been written down,” she says. “But the basics are flour, salt, lard or Crisco and water. Just four simple things.”
Miller emphasizes that what goes into the pie should also be simple, saying if you come across an overwhelming recipe, it’s probably not the one you should use. “If my grandmothercould look at the recipe in the 1940s and say, ‘OK, I can make this,’ then you are on the right track. You don’t need crazy ingredients or tools for days to make a good pie.”
But sometimes, what makes a great pie is the topping. Miller shared her recipes for bourbon whipped cream, which tops her cooled pumpkin pie to create pumpkin bourbon, and Dutch apple topping, the perfect crumble on her apple pie. Her one tip for making the whipped cream is never to leave it. “Whip can go to butter real fast, so you have to babysit it; that is our No. 1 rule here.” Her best advice for the crumble is to keep the mixture dry. “You don’t want it to feel buttery. It may feel dry, but when you put that in the oven and it’s too buttery, you will notice it,” she says. “It will come back to get you.”
If you want to impress your guests this season, try to make your own versions of the topping using Miller’s recipes, which you can find above.
Gooey Butter Cake
3107 Green Meadows Way
Every Columbia resident seems to know about Murry’s, and for good reason. It’s been known for its good food and live jazz since 1985. When you go to Murry’s, you are guaranteed the same menu. Jesse Lark, one of the owners, says his goal when he took over Murry’s was to change nothing. The dessert menu, however, is another story.
Lark says they have a dessert menu made by two bakers with 300 rotating desserts, so you never know what you’ll get when walking
in the doors. While the desserts change throughout the day, many customers come for the gooey butter cake. “We make it six times a week, even though people don’t think we make it enough,” he says. “When people think of Murry’s, they think of gooey butter cake.”
Lark says customers can also expect to see pecan squares during the fall. “It’s the perfect little caramelized pecan bite, which is always popular,” he says. Other popular fall choices include pumpkin spiced cake, carrot cake, cinnamon torte and more.
Lark says no matter the season, the goal is always to have an ice cream, a torte, something chocolatey, cakey or a mousse on the menu. “We always try to have a good variation on the board,” he says. “We don’t want five chocolate desserts, and then someone comes in who hates chocolate.” Lark says the desserts are so popular, the menu will change between shifts. “We sell between 100-150 desserts a day; a lot of people come in just for the desserts,” he says.
With the ever-changing dessert menu, Lark says there is a hack to ensure you can get the dessert of your dreams after your meal. “Before they even order their meal, they will look at the dessert board and ask their server to save two of those or three of those, and the servers will take their little green tickets and put, ‘save one for Charity or save one for Matt’ or whatever,” he says. “That is the dessert hack, no doubt.”
Next time you visit the beloved spot, try this hack, so you get the dessert you desire!
- 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 2 treaspoons vanilla
- 3 eggs room temperature
Crust (double for two layer)
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 full crackers)
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- Double wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil, sealing it tightly to prevent water from getting into the pan.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, butter, granulated sugar and salt together evenly.
- Press the mixture into the bottom and up the sides of pan.
- Bake the crust for 8-10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Set aside while you make the cheesecake filling.
- Using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, mix cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Turn the mixer to low and add sour cream and vanilla; mix well, scraping sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until mixed. Don’t over mix.
- Pour filling over crust and spread evenly.
- Place the springform pan into a larger pan and pour very hot water into the larger pan, until it’s 3/4-inch deep, careful to make sure the water level doesn’t come up higher than the foil.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. The center will still jiggle while the edges will be set.
- Carefully run a knife around the rim of pan to loosen cake.
- Allow the cheesecake to cool at room temperature for at least an hour, then cover and transfer into the refrigerator for six hours or overnight.
- Release the sides of the springform pan before slicing.
- Place cheesecake in freezer for 3-4 hours. (If doing a double layer, you will need to make an additional cheesecake, either smaller or larger, and freeze both in order to stack.)
- After stacking, pour Magic Shell chocolate over the top, followed by your favorite chocolates for decoration.
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 5 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
- 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a 12x17 jelly roll pan with aluminum foil. Spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- Using a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar, which should take about 1-2 minutes.
- Add salt, eggs and vanilla and almond flavorings, and continue stirring until fully incorporated.
- Add flour and baking powder and mix until just combined.
- Reserve 1¾ cups of dough. Spread/press remaining dough into the prepared baking pan.
- Top dough with cherry pie filling.
- Drop remaining batter in small pieces over the cherry filing.
- Place in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, prepare the glaze by whisking together powdered sugar and milk until smooth. Drizzle glaze over bars.
- Cut into 35 squares and serve!
Evelyn's Apple Pie
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup plus a little more Crisco (no substitutes)
- 4 tablespoons ice water
- 6 good sized apples peeled, cored and sliced thin
- 3/4 cup sugar (a little less if using sweet apples)
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- butter as needed
- Mix the first three ingredients until all the flour is combined and looks like cornmeal.
- Then add ice water a little at a time and lightly use your hands to bring up dry parts of flour to get the water. (You may need a few drops more).
- Form the mixture into a ball, lightly handled.
- Cut into 2 parts and roll out one part and put in pie pan.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Stir ingredients together and pour in pan. Dot with some butter.
- Roll out the other half of the pastry and place on top of pie, sealing the edges and making a pretty design.
- Prick the top to let steam out and juice bubble up.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. (TIP: Cover the edges with foil so they won’t brown too much.)
- Check from time to time and remove foil for the last few minutes.
Submitted by Linda Shillito
- 4 large egg whites
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon clear vanilla
- 1 cup butter, unsalted and softened
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Sift flour and mix all dry ingredients together.
- In another bowl, mix wet ingredients together.
- Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix well.
- Pour mixture in your choice of cupcake liners.
- Bake for 15 minutes or until done!
- Mix all ingredients until fluffy. Use to decorate cooled cupcakes.
- 4 teasppoons egg white substitute
- Slightly less than 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 pounds pecan halves
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Combine egg white substitute with warm water; fluff, then add pecan halves and mix well to coat.
- Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Mix sugar, salt and cinnamon and add to nuts, mixing thoroughly.
- Spread pecan mixture evenly onto parchment paper covered baking pans.
- Bake for 15 minutes, stir and repeat for a total of three consecutive 15-minute intervals.
- Cool baked nuts and package or enjoy!
Submitted by Gary Shillito
- 2 sticks of butter
- 2 cups of firmly packed light brown sugar ½ cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup popcorn (yields 2 quarts popped corn)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon peanut oil
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
- In a large pan, heat peanut oil on high heat (about 20 seconds).
- Add popcorn, cover pan and agitate. Remove from heat once kernels slow their popping and pour popped corn into 20x13x3 aluminum roasting pan. Remove any uncooked kernels.
- Melt butter in a large saucepan, then stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
- Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Should be a slow boil as not to burn (use medium heat).
- Remove from heat and stir in baking soda and vanilla.
- Gradually pour over popcorn and mix well.
- Bake in oven for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and, as caramel corn cools, completely break apart and store in tightly covered container.
Creating Caramel Popcorn
By Patt Patterson
I’ve been making caramel popcorn for over 40 years for my family and friends, and the accompanying recipe delivers what I believe to be the perfect snack, something great for football season. Other than buying a box of Cracker Jacks, what started as a way to enjoy caramel corn at home turned into a quest to deliver perfection.
After testing many different ways to make caramel corn, ironically, the recipe I received from my future mother-in-law was the best, and its genesis is what I’ve shared with you. (Thank you, Evelyn!) I’ve taken the process a step further and, in recent years, have been growing my own popcorn to continually improve the results.
Popping corn has multiple variations, from butterfly style, white popcorn and hulless varieties. I’ve settled on mushroom style popcorn because of its ability to hold its shape while making the caramel corn, and it stays fresher longer. It also leaves very few crumbs since it doesn’t break as easily.
Growing your own popcorn isn’t easy since it takes a bit of work to grow, pick, remove from the cobs and dry before using, but it’s worth it. You don’t have to grow your own popcorn to enjoy caramel popcorn at home. Store-bought is just fine. All you need is time, patience and a love for sugary perfection.