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50 Easy Potluck Desserts for Fall

Ingredients like apple, cranberry and pumpkin are the best for baking in autumn's crisp, cool weather! These are the absolute best fall potluck desserts.

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Potluck Pumpkin Torte

A local newspaper featured this potluck-friendly recipe years ago. A creamy alternative to pumpkin pie, it quickly became one of my favorites. —Peggy Shea, Lowell, Indiana
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Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies

Here's proof that peanut butter and chocolate just belong together. These peanut butter blossoms are an easy family favorite and never fail to make my children smile. —Tammie Merrill, Wake Forest, North Carolina
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Contest-Winning Caramel Apple Crisp

When my kids and I make apple crisp, we use all sorts of apples to boost the flavor and texture. Add melted caramels, and you’ve got something scrumptious. —Michelle Brooks, Clarkston, Michigan
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Frosted Pumpkin Cranberry Bars

With tangy dried cranberries tucked inside and a creamy brown butter frosting, these mildly spiced pumpkin bars are doubly delightful. It's a good thing the recipe makes lots, because once you taste one, you won't be able to resist going back for more! -Barbara Nowakowski, Mesa, Arizona
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Spiced Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies

This is the best applesauce cranberry cookie recipe. These delicious cookies are full of pecans, dried cranberries and chocolate chips that lend crunch and sweetness. Every bite is packed with flavor! —Karie Saxton, South Boardman, Michigan
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Pumpkin Cookie Pops

These cookie pops are a great way to liven up a Halloween party. Kids love them! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Magic Pumpkin Buckle

Meet the Cook: Probably my family's favorite pumpkin dessert, this is something I've been making since our two daughters were small. the crust mixture, which is actually poured in first, rises to the top during baking to form a rich topping. You won't get a soggy bottom crust as you do with a pie. —Darlene Brenden, Salem, Oregon
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Spicy Applesauce Cake

This picnic-perfect cake travels and slices very well. With chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins, it's a real crowd pleaser. —Marian Platt, Sequim, Washington
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Acorn Treats

You only need three ingredients to make these super simple acorn cookies! —Jane Stasik, Greendale, Wisconsin
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Pumpkin Icebox Cake

This tube cake is a fun, simple way to make a quick dessert. Pumpkin, chocolate and spice are very nice. —Juli Meyers, Hinesville, Georgia
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Zucchini Cupcakes

I asked my grandmother for this recipe after trying these irresistible spice cupcakes at her home. I love their creamy caramel frosting. They're such a scrumptious dessert, you actually forget you're eating your vegetables, too! —Virginia Lapierre, Greensboro Bend, Vermont
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Daughter's Apple Crisp

My mom’s apple crisp is the best in all of Texas, honest! I tweaked it slightly, though, and now I spend less time in the kitchen and more time catching up with my spry 92-year-young mother. —Joan Hallford, North Richland Hills, Texas
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Peter Peter Pumpkin Bars

Sweet tooths will polish off these wonderful bars. They have a delicious orange frosting and can be decorated with candy pumpkins.—Barb Schlafer, Appleton, Wisconsin
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Apple Pandowdy

This apple pandowdy, which comes from a very old cookbook, is tangy and delicious. —Doreen Lindquist, Thompson, Manitoba
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Caramel Apples

Nothing tastes better at this time of year than a sweet-to-eat caramel apple! That rich homemade flavor just can't be beat. —Karen Ann Bland, Gove, Kansas
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Cream-Filled Pumpkin Cupcakes

Here's a charming use for pumpkin. Bursting with flavor and plenty of eye-catching appeal, these sweet and spicy filled cupcakes are bound to dazzle your family any time of the year. —Ali Johnson, Petersburg, Pennsylvania
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Cranberry Pecan Cookies

These are so tasty and simple to prepare! Each delightful little cookie is loaded with cranberries, nuts and vanilla, giving them the taste of a treat that’s been slaved over. —Louise Hawkins, Lubbock, Texas
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Dipped Gingersnaps

I get tremendous satisfaction making and giving time-tested yuletide treats like these soft, chewy cookies. Dipping them in white chocolate makes much-loved gingersnaps even more special. —Laura Kimball, West Jordan, Utah
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Snappy Pumpkin Dessert

Our town has a pumpkin-canning factory, so we're known as the "Pumpkin Capital of the World." New pumpkin recipes are always welcomed by our family, and this has become a favorite. The gingersnap crust is the perfect flavor pairing to the pumpkin. —Nilah Fischer, Morton, Illinois
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Caramel-Apple Skillet Buckle

My grandma used to bake a version of this for me when I was a little girl. She would make it using fresh apples from her tree in the backyard. I've adapted her recipe because I love the combination of apples, pecans and caramel. —Emily Hobbs, Springfield, Missouri
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Applesauce Spice Cupcakes

I began making these moist cupcakes in grade school and still bake them today. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Caramel Pecan Ice Cream Dessert

My mother passed this old-time recipe on to me because she knew I'd want to make it. I love desserts—especially this one! —Mary Wright, Morriston, Ontario
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Maple Walnut Cake

This maple-flavored cake with candied walnuts honors beloved my grandpa, who made maple syrup when I was a child. It honors his memory and has proven to be a favorite with family and friends throughout the years. —Lori Fee, Middlesex, New York
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Pumpkin Cake with Whipped Cinnamon Frosting

My mom made this for me, and one bite can completely take me back to my childhood. You can easily convert it into a great carrot cake recipe: just use grated carrots in place of pumpkin and add raisins. —Melissa Pelkey Hass, Waleska, Georgia
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Walnut Apple Dessert

The neighbor who shared this recipe with me predicted that I'd serve it often, just as she has for more than 30 years. It's easy to put together and is wonderfully fruity. I like to serve it with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. —Diann Mallehan, Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Winning Cranberry Cheesecake

The holidays wouldn't be complete without cranberries and eggnog. I use them both in this flavorful cheesecake that's the perfect finale for a special dinner. Set it out at the start of the meal, not just to solicit "oohs" and "aahs," but to remind folks to save room for dessert! —Nancy Zimmerman, Cape May Court House, New Jersey
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Caramel Heavenlies

Before I cut these bars into triangles, I usually trim the edges so all the cookies will look the same. My husband and daughter love that part since they get to eat the scraps. —Dawn Burns, Lake St. Louis, Missouri
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Autumn Apple Torte

During apple season, I always look forward to making this yummy torte. It has a cream cheese layer and apples galore. —Margaret Wilson, San Bernardino, California
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Bat Cupcakes

Even my adult children love these Halloween cupcakes! We serve them every year at our pumpkin-carving party. You can also make them with the fudge stripes on their wings facing up for variety. —Joyce Moynihan, Lakeville, Minnesota
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Layered Pumpkin Dessert

Pretty layers of cheesecake and pumpkin star in this prize-winning torte. Not too heavy, it's especially nice with a big holiday meal. There's never a morsel left!—Ruth Ann Stelfox, Raymond, Alberta
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Pumpkin Pie Bars

These bars taste like a cross between pumpkin pie and pecan pie—yum! If you can't find butter cake mix, yellow cake mix works. —Sue Draheim, Waterford, Wisconsin
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Cranberry-Orange Crumb Tart

After my sister took the family to the local cranberry festival, my mom bet me that I couldn't make a holiday pie out of cranberries and oranges. Considering the pie was gone before the holidays arrived, I think I won! —Heather Cunningham, Whitman, Massachusetts
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Cranberry-Orange Bars

My mother has had this recipe for years. I love it! These bars make great snacks, but can also be served for dessert. —Margaret Adelman, Bellingham, Minnesota
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White Chocolate Cranberry Blondies

Friends sometimes ask me to make these for wedding receptions. For a fancier presentation, I cut the bars into triangle shapes and drizzle white chocolate over each one individually. —Erika Busz, Kent, Washington
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Potluck German Apple Cake

My mother made this German apple cake for my brothers and me when we were kids. It's an excellent choice for a Christmas potluck or actually any time of year. —Edie DeSpain, Logan, Utah
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Chunky Apple Cake

After taste testing apple cake recipes, I've found this particular recipe the best. Full of old-world comfort, the yummy brown sugar sauce really makes the cake special. For a festive occasion, top with a dollop of whipped cream. —Debi Benson, Bakersfield, California
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Caramel-Pecan Dream Bars

These ooey-gooey cake bars that pull ever so gently from the pan and hold a firm cut are a baker’s dream come true. —Cay Keppers, Nisswa, Minnesota
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Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip

My husband and two kids are sure to eat the first dozen of these cookies, warm from the oven, before the next tray is even done. A co-worker gave me the recipe for the pumpkin dip, which everyone loves with the cookies. —Kelly McNeal, Derby, Kansas
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Spiced Rum and Pear Cake

The flavors in this cake really make it stand out as a special-occasion dessert. With raisins, fresh sweet pear chunks, rich spices, crunchy walnuts and rum, it's a fine finale for your holiday spread. If you don't cook with alcohol, try substituting apple juice for the rum—it will still be delicious! —Julie Peterson, Crofton, Maryland
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Harvest Sweet Potato Pie

Years ago, we baked pies a few days before holiday gatherings and placed them in a tall pie safe on our back porch. My father called this sweet potato pie recipe "royal pie," because he thought it was fit for a king. It's a treasured hand-me-down family recipe. —Fae Fisher, Callao, Virginia
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White Chocolate Cranberry-Orange Bars

This is my take on my mother's recipe for chocolate chunk bars, which she made every Christmas Eve. Our family is scattered across the country now; making these reminds me of home. If you don't have a pastry cutter, you can use two sharp knifes or a potato masher. My mom makes this with semisweet chocolate chunks. —Erin Powell, Amarillo, Texas
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Hot Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Hot chocolate is my go-to winter indulgence. To go with it, I like this moist pumpkin cake dusted with cocoa for an extra chocolate boost. —Colleen Delawder, Herndon, Virginia
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Apple Cranberry Cutout Pie

My husband loves pie, so I made one with apples, raspberries and cranberries. It’s so good, I bend the rules and let the grandkids have it for breakfast. —Brenda Smith, Curran, Michigan
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Pumpkin Pie Tartlets with Maple Pecan Crust

After discovering I had multiple food sensitivities, I began developing holiday recipes that would be safe for me, but enjoyable for others, too. These tarts are delicious—with no gluten, eggs or dairy! —Chantale Michaud, Guelph, Ontario
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Mini Pretzel Pumpkins

Folks are sure to share some tricks in order to get some of these pleasing pumpkin-shaped treats. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Sour Cream and Cranberry Bars

I turned sour cream raisin pie into a cookie bar with a crunchy oatmeal crust, custard-style filling and crisp topping. —Shelly Bevington, Hermiston, Oregon
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Cranberry Cookies with Browned Butter Glaze

I won a baking contest with these chunky glazed cookies that are so easy, even novice bakers can pull them off. What makes them special? Fresh cranberries. —Laurie Cornett, Charlevoix, Michigan
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Gingerbread-Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars

A party favorite of ours is gingersnaps and pumpkin dip. I combined those flavors for a wonderful cross between gingerbread bar cookies and cheesecake. —Kathleen Rhodebeck, Penacook, New Hampshire
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Chocolate-Dipped Apple Rings

These apple treats are a staple in my Christmas goody packages. Sometimes I add an 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne to the cinnamon mixture for a little extra kick. —Laurie Bock, Lynden, Washington
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Orange-Cranberry Nut Tarts

My friend gave me a recipe for orange cookies. I just had to embellish it. Now my friends and family crave these tarts. —Nancy Bruce, Big Timber, Montana

Kristine Hansen
A former editor of a regional home and garden magazine, where she edited the entertaining section, Kristine writes for national travel, design and food outlets about culinary trends. Her book on Wisconsin cheese serves as a love letter to her adopted state of Wisconsin and she loves to travel in search of regional cultural foods.

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