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40 of Grandma’s Best Fall Desserts

We all know that Grandma was the best baker around. These fall dessert recipes from grandmas across the country prove it!

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Spiced Upside-Down Apple Pie

My grandma taught me to make this pie when I was 4. Over the years, I've kept it about the same with just a few changes. Flip it out the second it stops bubbling. The glaze makes it look especially delicious. —Francine Bryson, Pickens, South Carolina
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Cardamom Spritz

As far back as I remember, I have loved cardamom. My grandmother often added the spice to her baked goods. I usually make these cookies with a spritz press—and camel disk—that I found at a thrift shop. It reminds me of a time when I rode a camel in the desert while deployed with the Navy. Of course, any design will do! —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado
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Sweet Potato Mini Cakes

Whenever I make these cute desserts, I think of my grandmother. She always used extra sweet potatoes from her garden in pies, breads and cakes and added black walnuts from her trees for good measure. —Joyce Larson, New Market, Iowa
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Date Swirl Cookies

My granddaughter nicknamed my mother Cookie Grandma because she made wonderful cookie—including these crisp and chewy treats. —Donna Grace, Clancy, Montana
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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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Baki's Old-World Cookies

My uncles have always called these "cupcake cookies" because of the unique, pretty way they're baked. My maternal grandmother mixed many batches. —Marilyn Louise Riggenbach, Ravenna, Ohio
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Cranberry-Almond Apple Pie

My grandmother made this treat every year for Christmas. It’s much better than everyday apple pie. The recipe is a family treasure. —Maxine Theriauit, Nashua, New Hampshire
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Grandma’s Carrot Cake

My grandma was very special to me. She had a big country kitchen that was full of wonderful aromas any time we visited. This was one of her prized cake recipes, and it continues to be a favorite from generation to generation. —Denise Strasz, Detroit, Michigan
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Grandma's Scottish Shortbread

My Scottish grandmother was renowned for her baking, and one of the highlights whenever we visited my grandparents was her bringing out the baking tin. Her shortbread cookies were my favorite, and now, whenever I make them, I remember her. This is not a thin, crispy dessert shortbread; it’s a deep bar that is best served with a cup of tea. —Jane Kelly, Wayland, Massachusetts
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Southern Sweet Potato Tart

Our family loves sweet potatoes, so I try to incorporate them in as many dishes as I can. My secret ingredient is the bourbon—it's what makes this tart so delicious. —Marie Bruno, Watkinsville, Georgia
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Snickerdoodle Cheesecake

My maternal grandmother preferred sewing and quilting to cooking and baking, but there were some things that she cooked and baked really well. She was the only person I knew who made snickerdoodles, simple but yummy cookies that I've always enjoyed. Since cheesecake is my very favorite dessert, I couldn't resist coming up with one that re-creates those flavors. I think of my grandmother each time I make it! Sometimes I'll drizzle the slices with maple syrup. —Lisa Varner, El Paso, Texas
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Pecan Date Pudding

This date pudding recipe was passed down from my great-grandmother to my grandmother. They lovingly served it with whipped cream on top. We never had a holiday without it. —Patricia Rutherford, Winchester, Illinois
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Mexican Chocolate Sugar Crisps

My grandma loved these so much, she would hide them from my grandpa! I think of her every time I make a batch. Like Mexican spice? Try stirring in a little chili powder. —Michele Lovio, Thousand Oaks, California
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Honey Lemon Meringue Pie

My husband especially enjoys this lemon meringue pie recipe with condensed milk. His mother made a similar treat for him when he was a child, but it was rewarding for me to create a recipe of my own that he loves so much! —Portia Gorman, Los Angeles, California
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Contest-Winning Chocolate Potato Cake

I won grand champion honors in a potato festival baking contest with this moist chocolate cake. The icing recipe can be doubled for real sweet tooths. A great-grandma, I've spent over 85 years on the farm.
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Pumpkin Pecan Custard

My family loves pumpkin pie flavor, but this is a delicious, creamy, healthier alternative—and we don’t miss the crust at all. It firms up as it cools. —Abby Booth, Coweta, Oklahoma
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Oma's Apfelkuchen (Grandma's Apple Cake)

My husband’s German family calls this Oma’s apfelkuchen, which translates to "Grandma’s apple cake." They’ve been sharing the recipe for more than 150 years. I use Granny Smith apples, but any variety works. —Amy Kirchen, Loveland, Ohio
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Pecan Cake with Cookie Butter Frosting

My mom and I bought a jar of cookie butter to try it out, and we fell in love with it. I knew the flavor would go well with maple syrup and pecans, so I came up with this cake. I like to make a pretty design on the top of the cake with pecan halves. —Natalie Larsen, Columbia, Maryland
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Pumpkin Rugelach with Cream Cheese Icing

This pumpkin rugelach recipe with a rich cream cheese icing is my twist on this classic pastry. The dough can be made ahead and refrigerated, which makes the recipe ideal for the busy holiday season. —Justine Duffy, Wooster, Ohio
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Apple Butter Pumpkin Pie

The addition of apple butter gives this pumpkin pie a slightly fruity flavor. I'm always happy to share reliable recipes like this. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Old-Fashioned Stack Cakes

My grandmother has always fixed these at Christmas and they are the first thing everyone asks about. "Where is the stack cake?" The super thin layers are what make this recipe stand out...delicious! —Stephanie Gilbert, Whitesburg, Kentucky
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Butterscotch Fudge

Butterscotch and fudge are a match made in heaven with this award-winning recipe. Special add-ins make take this butterscotch fudge recipe to a whole new level. —Virginia Hipwell, Fenwick, Ontario
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Great-Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies

Not only is this recipe a favorite of my husband's, it's extra special to me because it goes back to my great-grandmother. For holidays, we like to sprinkle on colored sugar for a festive touch. —Mary Ann Konechne, Kimball, South Dakota
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Gingersnap Crumb Pear Pie

This basic recipe was one my grandmother used for making crumble pies from fresh fruit. She simply substituted oats, gingersnaps or vanilla wafers depending on the fruit. Pear was always my favorite, and I added the ginger and caramel to give it a new twist. —Fay Moreland, Wichita Falls, Texas
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Maple Carrot Cupcakes

I come from a line of family cooks and have liked to cook and bake since I was young. Mother and Grandmom were always in the kitchen cooking up something delicious. These carrot cupcakes were Grandmom's specialty, and we always have them at family gatherings. —Lisa Ann Panzino DiNunzio, Vineland, New Jersey
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Classic Sweet Potato Pie

This simple but special deep-dish pie provides a down-home finish to hearty autumn meals. Pecans and pumpkin pie spices make this a comforting seasonal classic. —Paul Azzone, Shoreham, New York
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Frosted Harvest Cake

Craving brownies but want something a little bit different? Indulge in a fall-flavored version topped with a cream cheese frosting. —Iola Egle, Bella Vista, Arkansas
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Pumpkin Seed Toffee

My kids are allergic to nuts, but they can eat pumpkin seeds! Every fall we save the seeds from our pumpkins to add to various recipes, including this one. —Suzanne Earl, Spring, Texas
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Rice Pudding

For an old-fashioned sweet treat just like Grandma used to make, try this slow-cooker rice pudding. It has a rich cinnamon flavor and is made wonderfully light after whipped cream is stirred in at the end. —Jennifer Bennett, Salem, Indiana
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Cookie Jar Gingersnaps

I came up with these cookies by combining ingredients from two other recipes. It's the perfect ginger cookie—crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle. I send them to my son, and he shares them with his employees. Whenever I ask what kind of cookies to send, these are at the very top of the list. —Judy Wilson, Sun City West, Arizona
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Gran's Apple Cake

My grandmother occasionally brought over this wonderful cake warm from the oven. The spicy apple flavor combined with the sweet cream cheese frosting made this recipe one that we treasured. Even though I've lightened it up, it's still a family favorite. —Lauris Conrad, Turlock, California
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Pumpkin Charlotte

My mother-in-law gave me this recipe a while back and I just love it! I make it for my husband and his friends during hunting season and it's a big hit. —Lorelle Edgcomb, Granville, Illinois
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Date-Nut Honey Bars

The flavor combination here reminds me of baklava—without the hours of work! These bars are perfect for holiday gifts, party platters and bake sales. They never fail to impress. —Anna Wood, Cullowhee, North Carolina
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Pressure-Cooker Cranberry Stuffed Apples

Cinnamon, nutmeg and walnuts add a homey autumn flavor to these stuffed apples. What a lovely old-fashioned treat! —Grace Sandvigen, Rochester, New York
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Apple Cranberry Upside-Down Cakes

Cornmeal gives this upside-down cake a unique texture. Apples, cranberries and pecan make a delicious alternative to the typical pineapple and cherries. —Margee Berry, Trout Lake, Washington
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Easy Pennsylvania Dutch Apple Cobbler

This is a common dish from where I was born and raised in Pennsylvania. It's a classic Dutch-style apple cobbler recipe. Easy, quick and delicious, who couldn't love this golden brown delight? —Andrea Robson, York, Pennsylvania
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Peppery Snaps

I love to bake, and spend most of my time at it. I have a job as a baker and keep my family supplied with baked goods. May father-in-law said he'd love a cookie that was "real snappy," so I combined recipes to get this one.
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Cinnamon Chocolate Cake

A healthy hint of cinnamon gives this chocolate cake an extra step up over the expected sheet cake. Its sweet frosting is full of crunchy pecans. —Victor Clifford, San Jose, California
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Butterscotch Pumpkin Mousse

Guests savor every creamy, spoonful of this spiced autumn dessert. It tastes so good, no one guesses that it's actually low in fat. —Patricia Sidloskas, Anniston, Alabama
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Sour Cream Pumpkin Cake

The nicely spiced streusel in the center of this cake is a marvelous surprise and complement to the cinnamony pumpkin cake. It's delicious for breakfast or dessert. —Elaine Holmberg, Norfolk, Nebraska

Lisa Kaminski
Lisa is an editor at Taste of Home where she gets to embrace her passion for baking. She pours this love of all things sweet (and sometimes savory) into Bakeable, Taste of Home's baking club. Lisa is also dedicated to finding and testing the best ingredients, kitchen gear and home products. At home, you'll find her working on embroidery and other crafts.

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