What’s better than fall desserts? Mini fall desserts! Because everything is better mini! Cute, little bite sized treats that will have you wanting more are perfect as appetizers or for after-dinner at parties and gatherings. Here are 8 mini fall desserts to try this year!
1. Hand-Sized Apple Pies
While there are so many apple recipes to try in the fall, apple pie has been a longtime favorite. It’s even considered as American as baseball. Maybe this fall embark on an adventure of making hand-sized apple pies, complete with delicate lattice if you’re feeling up for it. These cute, little pies are as tasty as they are adorable!
Ingredients for pie crust: 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tbsp. granulated sugar, and 1/4 tsp. flaky salt, 2 sticks very cold salted butter, and 5-8 tbsp. ice water. The dough can be made a day ahead, and is preferable to the recipe, so plan ahead for this.
Ingredients for the filling: 3 tbsp. granulated sugar, 2 tbsp. salted butter, and 2 cups peeled, cored and 1 x 1 cm diced apple (about 3-4 apples depending on size), 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1 tbsp. lemon juice, and 1 tsp. cornstarch, about 50 g almond paste, grated, 1 egg, pinch of salt, and 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar.
For the pie crust mix together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Slice butter thinly either with a pairing knife or a cheese slicer. Add sliced butter to dry ingredients. Using a pastry knife, cut butter into dough until its mostly crumbly, with few visible butter pieces.
Drizzle ice water into dough 1 tablespoon at a time and gently mix just until dough comes together. Don’t work the dough. Roll dough into 2 evenly sized balls, flatten in your hands or with a rolling pin into discs and wrap each disc in plastic wrap. Place them in the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour, but overnight would be best.
To make the filling put the sugar in a saucepan, over medium high heat until sugar starts to melt around the edges. Turn the heat down and stir gently with a wooden sppon, until sugar is golden brown. Don’t burn the sugar!
Add the butter, bit by bit, stirring each time. Stir in the diced apples and cook for 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, mix lemon juice and cornstarch then add to the saucepan mixture. Cook for another minute before adding the grated almond paste, while stirring.
To make the pies take the dough out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling. Roll out one disc of dough into a larger disc, on a floured surface. Be sure to turn the dough over periodically so it doesn’t stick. Roll the dough until it’s about 1/8 inch thick then using a 3.5 inch round cookie cutter, cut out 8 pieces.
Transfer dough to parchment lined baking sheet. With your leftover dough, cut out whatever shapes you want to top the dough with, be it may hearts or stars or anything cookie cutters you have on hand. Unless you want to try your hand at a lattice pie crust.
Spoon apple filling on each dough round, leaving a space on the edges. Brush the empty borders with water and place your cutouts of dough on top. Using a fork or your hands gently press the edges down. Place the pies in the freezer for 15 minutes while the oven pre-heats to 390 degrees F.
Just before placing the pies in the oven, brush them over with an egg and salt wash, then sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place in oven for 25-30 minutes. Let cool before eating, and serve with vanilla ice-cream! Now everyone has their own mini apple pie all to themselves!
2. Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake
Its the best of both worlds: pumpkin pie AND cheesecake, but now in mini, bite-sized form that is oh so creamy and decadent!
For the ingredients you’ll need: 12 Gingersnap cookies, 1 tub. cream cheese softened to room temp, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, and 1 egg, 3/4 cup pumpkin puree not pie filling, 1/2 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt about one 5.3-oz container, and 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour. For the spices the recipes calls for 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp. ginger, 1/4 tsp. salt, but I would also add all-spice to really flavor it like a pumpkin pie, because all-spice is my favorite!
Preheat oven to 350 and line muffin tins with little cupcake papers, then place a gingersnap in each one (this will act as the crust. You’re welcome to make a graham cracker crust if you’d like though).
To make the cheescake batter, beat the softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg, pumpkin puree, Greek yogurt, and all the spices. Mix until well-blended and smooth and creamy.
Pour batter into muffin tins and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cheesecake is thoroughly cooked. Remove the paper liners before eating, top with cool whip if desired and enjoy!
3. Mini Carrot Cupcakes
Bite-sizes pieces of cake are the perfect after dinner treat! And carrot cake is one of those cakes that everyone can enjoy!
Ingredients for the cake batter: 1 carrot cake mix, 3 eggs (or egg replacer), 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 can crushed pineapple, 1/2 cup raisins, 3/4 cup coconut, and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. For hte cream frosting which can be made by putting cream cheese and1/2 stick of unsalted butter in a mixer, and beaten until creamy. Add 1/4 tsp. vanilla extra and 1/4 tsp. salt, stir until combined. With mixer on low, gradually add 4 cups powdered sugar, through a sifter, if you wish to pipe the frosting.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
To make batter combine the cake mix, eggs, oil, pineapple, raisins, coconut and walnuts until it’s all mixed together pretty evenly. Spoon the batter into mini muffin tins only until each cup is 2/3 full.
Bake for 15 minutes. When cooled, add the cream cheese frosting. You can also set aside some frosting to turn 1 part of it green, and the other part orange with food coloring. Using piping tools, create little carrots on top.
4. Banana Bread Churro Bites
We all love a good banana bread in the fall. Why not try these bite-sized version of that beloved bread, but fried!
You’ll want to make banana bread as you always have, because we’re just going to cut the loaf up into 1 inch slices, then those slices will be cut into small cubes.
Heat vegetable oil in a skillet to 375, or if you have a deep-fat-fryer that’s great! Wait until oil is hot.
In a shallow baking dish pour 1 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix together. Once oil is hot, throw bites into the oil, and fry them in batches of 4-5 pieces at a time. Remove from oil, toss into cinnamon and sugar mix until coated, then place the bites on a cooling rack.
When ready to serve, serve them with vanilla ice-cream, or scoop vanilla ice-cream into a bowl and pour hot 2-3 shots of espresso overtop for a melty ice-cream-coffee dipping sauce.
5. Mini Cinnamon Buns
Waking up to the smell of cinnamon buns in the morning always somehow makes us feel like morning people. With these mini cinnamon buns, they’re so. freaking. cute. And you’ll eat about 20 because they’re so tiny and delicious!
Ingredients for the dough: 1 1/3 cups warm water, 1 tbsp. dry active yeast, 2 tbsp. honey, 3 1/2 cups flour, and tsp. salt. Ingredients for the frosting: 4 tbsp. softened butter, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1 tbsp. cinnamon. Ingredients for the filling: 2 tbsp. softened butter, 2 ounces softened cream cheese, 1 tsp. vanilla, 3 cups powdered sugar, and milk.
Preheat oven to 375 and lightly grease muffin tins. In a bowl add water, yeast and honey. Using a dough mixer, or using your hands, mix well until combined. Allow to dough to rest and rise (about 5 minutes). Dough will start to look foamy.
Add flour and salt, turn mixer on low and mix until well combined. Increase mixer speed to medium low for 5 minutes. Remove dough from bowl and set on floured surface. Allow dough to rise for 10 minutes. While the dough is rising, began by mixing the brown and white sugar and cinnamon from the filling ingredients in a bowl.
To roll out dough, use a floured rolling pin and roll dough until it is a 9×15 inch rectangle. Remove excess edges with a pizza cutter to make it a perfect rectangle. Now spread butter from filling ingredients over the dough and then sprinkle the sugars-cinnamon mixture over it.
Roll dough, tightly into a log. Pinch the seam. Use a knife to cut the uneven ends off. Then cut the log into 24 equal parts. Place each roll in the greased muffin tin and bake for 15-20 minutes.
While rolls are baking, make the frosting. In the mixer, blend the cream cheese and butter, mix in the vanilla and then when it’s all blended, gradually add the powdered sugar. Add milk, 1 tablespoon at at time until the frosting reaches a consistency that is easy for spreading.
Drizzle or spread frosting on cinnamon rolls while they’re still hot. Eat and enjoy!
6. Mini Caramel Apples
What is fall without the beloved caramel candy apple on a stick? If you’re thinking we’re going to shop around for mini apples, the answer is no. (Because that was my first though too). The secret to these is to use a melon baller, looks like a little ice-cream scooper, to scoop out bite-sized balls of apple from a whole apple.
Use about 4 large, green apples. When you have all your odd, small shaped apples scooped out, stick a cake pop stick through each of them. Make sure they’re resting on parchment lined baking sheets.
For the caramel coating, follow the directions on the package to melt it accordingly. You don’t want to burn it, of course. When the caramel is melted let it cool so it can thicken back up. If you try to dip the apple sticks in the caramel before its had time to cool, the caramel will slip right off the apples.
Once your mini apple sticks are covered in caramel, top with sprinkles and/or nuts and enjoy. Avoid refrigerating them as this causes the caramel to slide off again.
7. Baklava Cups
Baklava is a beloved dessert by many, but it is often really fussy to make and messy to eat. Well the beauty of this baklava cups is that it has all your favorite ingredients without the time-consuming process of preparing them and they’re really easy to eat! No sticky fingers here!
You’ll need a package of phyllo dough (this can be found in the freezer section at the grocery store), and 1 cup chopped nuts. While walnuts are the traditional choice-nut for baklava who says you can’t throw in whatever makes you happy? Almonds, pecans and pistachios would go great with this!
You’ll also need 1 Tbsp. of melted butter, 1/4 cup honey, plus more for serving, 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place phyllo dough in muffin tins. Feel free to pinch and pleat the sides to create a more sturdy cup, that has a little decoration as well.
In a medium sized bowl stir together nuts, butter, honey, cinnamon and salt until evenly combined. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the mixture into each phyllo cup until they’re all full. Bake for 10 minutes until nuts are fragrant, but don’t burn them. Drizzle more honey over top, and serve immediately.
8. Mini Pecan Tartlets
Pecan pie is a favorite at Thanksgiving, when many would prefer to eat this delicious dessert over pumpkin pie, but mini pecan tarts have been my favorite. They’re super rich and decadnent, and even better in miinature form.
The ingredients needed to make mini pecan tarts are 2 beaten eggs, 1 cup of white sugar, 3 tablespoons of melted butter, 5 tablespoons melted corn syrup, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 cup chopped pecans and the dough you’ll be using. .We won’t be going over the dough in this recipe, as you’ll likely already have a go-to-dough recipe on hand, and we’ve gone over at least one in the apple pies above.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease cupcake tin or muffin tins. The recipe suggest 8 tins total.
Roll out your pastry dough and cut it into 8 5-inch circles then place each circle in the cupcake tins, fitting them in there.
To make the filling mix together eggs, sugar, butter, corn syrup, and vanilla extract. Mix this all well before adding the pecans. Pour equal amount of the mixture into each pastry cup. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes until the eggy mixture turns brown.