As autumn approaches, what do you most look forward to? The beauty of the fall colors? Cooler nights with a fire roaring in your fireplace, a book in one hand and a cup of tea in the other? A mad scrimmage on the ten yard line?

For our family, nothing says fall like a tangy bite of a caramel apple, the sweet taste of a cinnamon-apple donut or the scent of fresh-baked apple pie. AbelXsXcaramelXapplesAutumn means visits to the farms located in the area known as Apple Hill, where we can view miles of scenic vistas and miles of savory pastries.

Last Thanksgiving, my daughter flew home from Seattle. She’d barely walked down the airport escalator when she told me she was literally “dying for a donut.” We drove directly from the Sacramento Airport to Apple Hill where we satisfied that pressing need with a dozen of High Hill Ranch’s finest.


It probably comes as no surprise that the next book in the Laurel McKay Mysteries is Dying for a Donut, to be released November 15. Laurel stumbles into a mystery involving her daughter’s employer, the owner of Apple Tree Farm. Although Laurel thinks detecting among donuts should be a piece of cake, she soon discovers first-hand that sugar can kill you.

Researching Dying for a Donut was definitely MY most dangerous research yet!

I’d love to learn about your favorite fall experiences so feel free to share them with us. I’m also betting that readers will be dying for some tasty snacks once they’ve finished Dying for a Donut. For those of you who love to bake, or those of you who love to eat and have friends who love to bake, please share your favorite apple, pear or pumpkin-based recipe. Ten entries will be randomly chosen and included in the back of the book.

The winners will be acknowledged in Dying for a Donut and will also receive a free copy of the book . Entries must be received by midnight October 7, 2015. You can leave the recipe on this blog or email it to me at cindy@cindysamplebooks.com


  1. Jacqueline Seewald on September 29, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Hi, Cindy,

    First, I’m very sorry about your mother. Next, from the sound of it, you’ve written another winner. You’re also making me hungry!

    My recipe:

    It seems that cinnamon is good for the brain–according to current health writers. So cinnamon and apple together make for a very healthy compote. If you want to omit the sugar, just cut up apples, add Ceylon cinnamon, throw in organic raisins. Boil with a bit of salt until apples are soft and then you have a delicious and healthy dessert.

    Note: if you cook this with oatmeal, you have a nutritious breakfast.

    • Cindy Sample on September 29, 2015 at 11:01 am

      Thanks, Jacquie. I appreciate your kind thoughts. That is a terrific recipe. Simple but sounding very tasty.

  2. nancy345wright on September 29, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Cindy, you are one cool, incredible writer! I’m so saddened to hear about the loss of your mother, but you still carry her DNA and she was obviously so proud of you. We’re all proud of you! You’ve reached for the stars, and have already grabbed hold of a bunch. The new book sounds delightful.

    • Cindy Sample on September 29, 2015 at 11:02 am

      Thanks, Nancy. Mom as a huge part of my writing journey and was giving me suggestions right up until the end!

  3. Liz Jasper on September 29, 2015 at 11:13 am

    Cindy, I’m on my commute into work and from the slowness of daylight and the thickness of the jacket I’m wearing, it is Fall. And if I have to deal with waking up when it is still dark out and wearing a wool coat, I Want A Darned Donut! Two bags! And I want your book. !

    Is that so wrong? No. Of course not. Your books are so good that I will wait for Donut but they are also so good that in the meantime I will have to console myself with hot apple random yummy crumble thing.

    Recipe for Hot Apple Random Yummy Crumble Thing

    Apples. The tart ones like granny smith or pippin. Peel a few of them, until you get tired. Cut into chunks. Whatever shape you like. This makes enough for one person to eat with the serving spoon so I recommend 5-6 apples.

    Other stuff with the apples. A squeeze of lemon juice, cinnamon and sugar to taste. Mix it with your hands and taste one. If it is a little bit too tart, that’s perfect. You want the topping to contrast with the tang of the apples.

    Topping. Melt butter. Half a stick or a whole if you want a lot of topping. Dump in brown sugar and mix until you ge a sludge. Add a handful of flour. Add in oats until you ge a good crumble. Taste it. If it’s good, it will be even better when it’s cooked. It should taste like oatmeal cookie batter. Don’t forget the cinnamon.

    Dump into apples. Yes, you’ve put the apples in a greased baking pan so clean up won’t be too horrendous. Bake at 375 degrees until the top is brown and it smells awesome in your kitchen. Remove, cool enough so that the ice cream doesn’t melt instantly in contact. Eat with a serving spoon. (Or whatever spoon you like. I won’t judge.)

    Mmmmmm. I’m going to make one of these and lie in wait for your next book.

    Thanks for making my commute go fast today and ma y other times 🙂 Liz

    • Cindy Sample on September 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Liz, you are right, it definitely felt like fall this morning. Time to pull out my winter coat. Thanks for the recipe. It sounds delicious! Glad you threw in the ice cream:-)

    • elaine Faber on September 30, 2015 at 12:08 pm

      Liz; sounds like you a pretty good writer, yourself. And your recipe sound pretty good too!

  4. Cathy Ann Adkins on September 30, 2015 at 2:09 am

    Hi Cindy,

    Again, I am sorry about your Mom’s passing. I am glad you were able to spend some time with her. On a happy note, I can’t wait to read your new book. Below is a cookie recipe.

    Pumpkin Cheesecake Snickerdoodles

    3¾ cups all-purpose flour
    1½ tsp. baking powder
    ½ tsp. salt
    ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
    ¼ tsp. freshly-ground ground nutmeg
    1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ½ cup light brown sugar
    ¾ cup pumpkin puree
    1 large egg
    2 tsp. vanilla extract

    Filling Ingredients:
    8 ounces pumpkin spice cream cheese

    Cinnamon-sugar coating:
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    ½ tsp. ground ginger
    Dash of allspice
    In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Set aside.
    In a kitchen aid mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugars on medium high speed until fluffy about 2-3 minutes.
    Blend in pumpkin puree, beat in egg and then add vanilla. Slowly add dry ingredients on low speed just until combined. Cover and chill dough for an hour.
    Preheat oven to 350 and line your baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices for the coating and set aside.
    To make the cookies, take a tablespoon of the cookie batter. Flatten it like a pancake and place a teaspoon of the cream cheese in center. Form another tablespoon of the cookie batter into a flat pancake shape and place on top of the cream cheese. Pinch the edges together sealing in the cream cheese and roll into a ball. Roll in the cinnamon sugar coating and place on the prepared baking sheet 2 inches apart.

    Repeat until the dough is gone and flatten the cookie dough balls with a heavy bottomed glass or measuring cup.
    Bake the cookies for 10-15 minutes or until the tops start to crack. Let cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and transfer to a wire rack. Enjoy!
    Note: if you cant find the pumpkin spice cream cheese, make the cream cheese filling, by blending 8 oz cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla together. Chill for an hour.

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 11:34 am

      Cathy Ann, those sound fantastic. I can’t wait to try that recipe!

  5. Susan Coryell on September 30, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Cindy: Dying for a Donut sounds delicious! So sorry to hear abut your mother’s passing. Moms are so precious. I keep mine in my memory daily.
    Off-the-cuff recipe for granola:
    spread parchment paper on a large baking sheet
    6 cups regular (not quick or instant) oats
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/3 c canola oil
    1 cup coconut flakes
    1/2 c brown sugar
    1/2 cup honey
    pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flax seeds – as much as you like (I do combined 1/4 cup)
    1-2 cups nuts (I use almonds–whole or pieces)
    Mix well and bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, stir and bake another 45 minutes. When cool add 2 cups craisins or raisins.
    This will keep in Tupperware container for 6 weeks.

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 11:35 am

      Thanks, Susan. I appreciate it. Your recipe sounds delicious and healthy!

  6. Brenda Novak on September 30, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Cindy, I’m so sorry about your mother. I know she was a great lady. I love Apple Hill, too. And I’m looking forward to your new book! Here’s my favorite pumpkin bread recipe:

    Pumpkin Bread


    4 eggs (beaten)
    3 c. sugar
    2 c. pumpkin
    2/3 c. water
    1 c. vegetable oil
    3 ½ c. flour
    ½ t. baking powder
    2 t. baking soda
    1 ½ t. salt
    3 t. cloves
    3 t. nutmeg
    3 t. cinnamon


    1. I just throw it all in a bowl and mix with beaters.
    2. Grease and flour pans.
    3. Bake at 325 for 1 ¼ – 1 ½ hours.

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 12:05 pm

      Hi Brenda. Thanks for your kind thoughts. Mom truly was the most supportive mother. And a great cook, which unfortunately I did not inherit. But your recipe looks easy enough for me to make!

  7. elaine Faber on September 30, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Cindy: No fair! No fair! Choosing ten recipes at random? No way! You need to bake every single one and choose the ten that you think are best.

    Below id my family’s favorite Raw Apple Cake recipe.
    2 cups of diced raw apples
    1 cup of sugar
    1/4 cup of salad oil
    1 egg
    1 cup of flour
    1 tsp soda
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp salt.
    1 cup of chopped walnuts.
    Mix in order given and bake in slightly greased pan for 45 minutes at 350 degree.

    This is a cake to die for! (another book? Raw Apple Cake to Die for!) Best wishes always.

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 12:19 pm

      Ha ha, Elaine. I only wish I could! Maybe I can talk some of my friends into testing them. The recipe sounds great.

  8. Linda Townsdin on September 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Every one of these recipes sound fabulous. I don’t have a favorite recipe to share, but my favorite fall activity is trying wonderful dishes like the ones listed here. 🙂

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 2:59 pm

      Thanks, Linda. Let me know your favorites when you test these great recipes!

  9. Deb Julienne on September 30, 2015 at 3:57 pm


    4-1/2 cups sugar
    1 can evaporated milk (12 oz.)
    ½ lb butter
    2 packages, milk chocolate chips (12 oz. each)
    1 package, semisweet chocolate chips (12 oz.)
    2 jars marshmallow cream (7 oz. ea.)
    2/3 cup St. Brendans’ Irish Cream Liqueur
    2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
    Line a 10” x 15” pan with foil and grease lightly with butter.
    Combine chocolate chips, marshmallow cream, Saint Brendan’s® and nuts in a large bowl and set aside.

    Combine sugar, evaporated milk and butter in a medium, heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook for 11 minutes, stirring constantly

    Pour milk mixture over chocolate chip mixture and stir slowly by hand. Pour into prepared pan. Chill until set.

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Quite the lo-cal dessert, Deb. NOT. But it looks so good!!!

    • Susan Whitfield on October 8, 2015 at 10:21 am

      what’s the name of this, Deb? It sound DIVINE!

  10. Linda Faullkner on September 30, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I’m sorry to hear about your mom. This is a recipe from my mother’s family. It’s perfect for Apple Hill

    Stir together the following: 2 cups sugar, 2 cups flour, 2 tsp. Baking Soda, 2 tsp. Cinnamon, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.
    Add: 3 eggs slightly beaten, 1/2 cup oil, 2 tsp Vanilla, 4 cups diced apples.

    Pour into greased 9″ X 12″ pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes

    Frosting: Blend the following in a mixer: 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 tsp. Vanilla, 1 & 2/3 cups confectioner’s sugar.

    Frost after cake has cooled and enjoy!

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      That sounds delicious, Linda. I’m going to be in a baking frenzy!

      • Donna Wierzbowski on September 30, 2015 at 5:34 pm

        Here’s my favorite recipe for EASY Classic Pecan Pie (great for Thanksgiving and Christmas):

        Make a pie crust or take the shortcut and buy already made pie crust from Safeway.
        The pecan pie filling:
        Using a spoon, mix 8 oz. Karo Syrup, three eggs and 2 Tablespoons of melted butter in a bowl. Stir in 4 oz. pecan halves and pieces. Pour filling into prepared pie crust.

        Bake at 350 degrees F on center rack of oven for 60-70 minutes until filling has set (200 degrees F) and spring back when lightly tapped. To prevent pie crust edges from over browning, tent the edges with foil during the first 20 minutes of baking.
        Cool 2 hours before serving.

        • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 5:48 pm

          That is a perfect holiday pie. Thanks, Donna.

  11. Sharon bitz on September 30, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Cindy, I love the fall so much, especially in this area of Sacramento. I love the way the trees on our street change color to vibrant oranges and yellows, I too love Apple Hill more than I should, because every time I go there I eat donuts and pies. I adore all of the squash that grows in our garden this time of the year and add it as an accoutrement to most of my dinners. I ride horses, and the summers in Sacramento or so hot that you cannot ride midday or late in the afternoon. In the fall I can ride all day as long as it’s not raining too hard and the horses love it! Below is a recipe for my famous pumpkin roll:
    1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on a towel)
    3/4 cup all purpose flour
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ground cloves
    1/4 tsp salt
    3 large eggs
    1 cup granulated sugar
    2/3 cup pure pumpkin filling (I use canned filling)
    1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
    1 pkg cream cheese (room temperature)
    1 cup sifted powdered sugar
    6 tbs softened butter
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    Powdered sugar as an optional decoration

    For Cake: preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 15 x 10″ jellyroll pan and line it with waxed paper. Grease and flour the paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.
    COMBINE flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl. Beat the eggs and granulated sugar in a large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
    BAKE for 13 to 15 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when touched. (if using a dark colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) immediately loosen and turn cake on to prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
    For Filling: beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake, reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
    COOKING TIP: be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 5:32 pm

      I think I’ve sampled this famous pumpkin roll. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us. We’ll have to do an apple Hill outing one of these days! As soon as I walk twenty miles in preparation.

  12. Madelyn Schwartz on September 30, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Pumpkin Muffins – makes 12 muffins
    3/4 cup sugar
    3/4 cup packed brown sugar
    1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    2 large eggs
    1 cup pumpkin puree
    1/2 vegetable oil
    1/3 cup water
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups with shortening or spray oil or line with paper baking cups.

    Combine dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl.

    In medium bowl, whisk eggs with fork, stir in pumpkin, oil and vanilla until blended.

    Add liquid ingredients to dry and stir until blended. Do not over mix or muffins will be tough rather than tender.

    Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling 2/3 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

    Tip pan to release muffins. Cool muffins on racks completely before frosting or package fir storage.

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    Have cream chees cold and butter at room temperature for the best texture. Do not overbeat or the cream cheese breaks down.

    8 ounces cream cheese
    4 tablespoons butter
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    2 to 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar sifted after measuring

    Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla in a medium bowl until just blended. Add 1/3 of the sugar and beat until smooth. Repeat to incorporate all sugar.

    • Cindy Sample on September 30, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      That sounds great. I’m ready to try them right now.

  13. June Gillam on October 1, 2015 at 11:31 am

    Not apples but going bananas in a healthy way *:)

    Banana Raisin Cookies–vegan *:)

    1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
    1 cup Oatmeal (whole oats)
    ½ tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon (up to 1/4 cup)
    3 very ripe bananas, mashed
    1/4 cup olive or canola oil
    2 tbls water
    2 tsp vanilla extract
    ½ cup walnuts or other nuts (can use more)
    ½ cup raisins (or other dried fruit)

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with olive or canola oil and set aside.

    Place the flour, rolled oats, baking powder, and cinnamon in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Then stir in the oil, water, and vanilla extract. Mix well and add rest of ingredients.

    Drop the dough by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Flatten each cookie lightly with the back of a spoon (or not). Bake for 10-12 minutes or longer depending on size until desired firmness.

    Cool the cookies completely before storing.

    • Cindy Sample on October 1, 2015 at 2:09 pm

      Healthy and tasty make for an excellent dessert. Sounds terrific, June.

  14. Kathy Sweeney on October 1, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Cindy – Your Mother is smiling…your ideas will honor her for many years to come; esp the recipe idea…so, here is a killer:
    Man Catcher Brownies
    These are to die for……
    30 caramels, unwrapped
    2/3 c evaporated milk
    1 box cake mix, german chocolate
    1/2 c butter, melted
    3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips
    1/2 c chopped pecans or walnuts

    Heat oven to 350 and line the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.

    Melt caramels with 1/3 cup of the evaporated milk in a small saucepan, stirring mixture occasionally’ set aside.
    Stir together cake mix, melted butter and remaining 1/3 cup evaporated milk to form a dough. Press 1 1/3 cups of the dough into the pan in an even layer. Bake until puffed but not cooked through, about 7 minutes.

    Remove from oven and pour caramel sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the caramel in an even layer.

    Top with remaining dough, crumbled into bits and scattered across caramel/chocolate chip layer. Sprinkle with nuts and return to the oven.
    Bake until brownies are puffy and set, 10-11 minutes more. Cool completely and cut into squares.

    • Cindy Sample on October 1, 2015 at 7:57 pm

      Thanks, Kathy. You know how much Laurel (and I) love a chocolate brownie recipe. It looks fantastic.

  15. Linda Westphal on October 1, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Hi, Cindy.

    Every year since 1990 (usually in October when the weather starts to turn cooler), I make the original Apple Hill Cake – exactly how it was printed on the oversize Apple Hill map I received during my first visit to Apple Hill, fall of 1990. The cake is delicious and everyone loves it.

    2 cups sugar
    1/2 cup oil
    2 eggs
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp salt
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1 tsp nutmeg
    2 tsp soda
    4 cups apples, diced
    Combine sugar, oil and eggs, then add diced apples. Sift together the flour, salt, spices and soda, add to apple mixture. Pour into 9×13-inch greased cake pan and bake for one hour in a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Serve hot, warm or cold. Try it plain, frosted or with whipped cream.

    • Cindy Sample on October 1, 2015 at 11:37 pm

      Linda, I’m so glad you suggested that. I used to make it all the time but forgot the recipe. It’s definitely a timeless and perfect dessert.

  16. Clare Price on October 4, 2015 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Cindy, Here (finally) is my Apple Cranberry Pie recipe. Hope you like it. Clare

    Filling Ingredients
    1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
    1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar (depending on how sweet you want the filling to be)
    2 tablespoons all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon ground allspice or cinnamon
    2 1/4 pounds of an assortment of good cooking apples such as Granny Smith, Pippin, Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 7 cups of apple slices)
    1 tablespoon brandy
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Whisk together the sugar, flour, and allspice or cinnamon in a large bowl. Add the cranberries and toss to coat with the sugar flour mixture. Add the apples and toss to coat and make sure that the cranberries are well distributed throughout the apples. Sprinkle with the brandy and vanilla extract.

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

    Crust — Two ready crust disks. Place one on bottom of 9-inch DEEP DISH PIE PAN . Add filing to center of pan.

    Cut second into strips and lace top by weaving strips across.

    Bake the pie at 375°F for 30 minutes. Then place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pie and lower the oven temp to 350°F. Bake for another 30-45 minutes or longer, depending on the type of apples you are using. When done the crust should be golden brown and the apples soft and cooked through. Remove the pie and let cool on a rack for at least one hour. Serve pie warm or at room temperature.

    • Cindy Sample on October 5, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Thanks, Clare. Apples and cranberry are the perfect fall combination. Looks delicious.

  17. Gemma Juliana on October 4, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Hi Cindy,

    Somehow I missed your blog post that your mom passed away, but I saw several condolences in comments on this blog page when I read it last night. My heart goes out to you and your family, and may God rest her soul. She is now free as a butterfly and no doubt close to her loved ones all the same. I’ll keep all of you in my prayers.

    My favorite thing about autumn is the glorious bejeweled colors of the leaves. Even here in north Texas they can be stunning, but only for a short time. I love the rich earthy fruits and vegetables that represent this time of year–pumpkins, cranberries, sweet potatoes. Many are available all year now but to me they still represent autumn. I value the inner reflection, serenity and sense of gratitude this time of year always stirs in my soul.

    I just saw your call for recipes and it sounds like such fun. I have a pear recipe that is delicious. You can do it either of two ways—as a pie-style crumble or simply make the custard-style pie filling in a pretty glass pie dish. I added variations at the end.

    Whether this makes it into your book or not, do try it one of these days because it is easy to prepare, with subtle but delicious flavors.


    This only takes 10-15 minutes to prepare and yields 8 servings. Total time: 1 hour 20 min
    Pre-heat the oven to 350⁰ and spray a 9-inch pie dish with cooking spray.

    ½ cup almond flour
    ¼ cup oats, old-fashioned or quick-cooking
    ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
    ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
    ½ tsp vanilla extract
    1 Tbsp butter

    ½ cup almond flour
    1/3 cup white sugar
    ½ cup milk
    ½ tsp vanilla extract
    2 Tbsp butter, softened
    2 eggs
    3 medium pears, peeled and sliced

    Streusel prep first. Stir almond flour, nutmeg and brown sugar together in a bowl. Add soft butter to the mix and blend it in, either with a blender or by hand with a fork. Stop when it is crumbly instead of smooth. Set this aside.

    Pie prep next. Stir all the pie ingredients with the exception of the pears with a fork or wire whisk. Pour this mix into the prepared pie dish and arrange the sliced pears evenly over the mixture.

    BAKE TIME: 25 minutes for pie-filling only. Then add streusel topping (sprinkle) and bake 10-15 more minutes. An inserted knife should come out clean. Cool 30 minutes before serving. Serve warm on its own or with softly whipped cream. Bon appetit!

    VARIATIONS & SUBSTITUTES: almond flour can be exchanged for coconut flour, plain flour or Bisquick; margarine can be used instead of butter; almond or rice milk can be used in place of milk. I use organic non-fat milk. Another great variation is to leave off the streusel entirely and just make the pie-filling with oats instead of flour.

    • Cindy Sample on October 5, 2015 at 11:54 am

      Hi Gemma. Thank you for your kind words. I’m sure Mom is smiling down on all of us right now. And there’s nothing better than those fall colors. This pear dessert looks incredible. You’re making me so hungry.

  18. Lavonne Giordano on October 5, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    I agree with all, I know your mom is smiling and getting a big kick out of all these recipes. Okay – as usual, almost didn’t make the deadline! 🙂 Anyway, I have two that are really good. The Apple Toffee cake with rum sauce is extremely tasty (courtesy of my friend Lee in TX), and the Applesauce Snack Cake is extremely easy and also tasty!


    1/2 cup butter
    2 cups sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp rum flavoring
    4 medium apples chopped to make 2 cups
    2 cups flour
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. baking soda
    1/2 cups nuts chopped ( optpional, but pecans are great!)
    6 oz. bag of butterscotch chips (optional)

    Cream butter, sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and flavoring, beat well then add apples and blend together.

    Sift dry ingredients and add to apple mixture, mix until well blended. Batter will be thick.
    Spread in a greased 13″ x 9″ x 2″ pan. Sprinkle chips and nuts and Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

    Rum Sauce

    1/2 cup sugar
    2 tablespoons cornstarch
    1 cup water
    1/4 cup butter
    1 tablespoon rum flavoring
    1/8 tsp. salt

    In a 1 quart saucepan combine sugar and cornstarch. Stir in water to blend, and cook at medium heat to thicken. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, rum flavoring and salt.
    Serve warm over warm cake.


    This can be mixed and baked all in the same pan if you like.

    1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup brown sugar (packed)
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1 1/2 tsp all-spice
    1/2 c. water
    1/3 c. vegetable oil
    1 tsp vinegar
    1/2 cup applesauce

    Heat oven to 350. Mix flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt in bowl (or 8″ x 8″ baking pan, ungreased). Stir in water, oil, vinegar and applesauce. Pour into ungreased 8 x 8 baking pan (unless you mixed it in the pan). Bake for 35 to 40 min, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar if desired. Enjoy!

    • Cindy Sample on October 6, 2015 at 12:21 am

      Thanks Lavonne. I’m ready to get the baking pans out now.

  19. sandra johnson on December 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Just finishing up “Dying For a Donut” and loving it. Thanks for keeping my favorite detective alive and bringing back wonderful memories of some of my favorite places in the world. I love the apple cider donuts, but the blackberry dumplings will make you swoon. Thanks again, Sandy Johnson in Oregon

    • Cindy Sample on December 31, 2015 at 2:20 am

      Hi Sandy. I always love hearing from you. I’m so glad you’re enjoying Dying for a Donut. But now I need to check out those blackberry dumplings. Guess I have to wait until next fall. Happy New Year to you!

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