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Autumn appetizers: 5 delicious fall snacks that will elevate any gathering

Let these fall ingredients shine at your next cocktail party

Whether it be a football-filled Sunday afternoon, a celebrate-the-kids-going-back-to-school party with friends, or a spooky Halloween bash, there are a million reasons to entertain during the fall. And with all of the warm and spicy, deliciously comforting ingredients available this time of year, it’s time to add some new party foods to the repertoire.

Each one of these recipes will perform beautifully at either the fanciest of champagne soirees or the most casual tailgate party, resting on the truck bed next to a cooler of coldies. Just be sure to make enough to go around in either situation, because no matter the crowd, these dishes will have your guests reaching for more.

Caramel apple cream cheese spread

Facebook/She Wears Many Hats

(From She Wears Many Hats)

This sinfully easy, obviously delicious appetizer comes together in about 30 seconds and just makes everyone happy. More likely than not, you have these things on hand already, ready to be combined and blissfully devoured by your wildly impressed guests.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (or more) caramel sauce (homemade or store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup (or more) toffee bits
  • sliced apples, pears, pretzels for serving (at least 4-5 apples)

Method:

  1. Place cream cheese on a serving dish. If you’d like, shape into a round and indent in the center to hold more caramel. Pour as much caramel sauce as you want evenly over cream cheese. Sprinkle with a generous helping of toffee bits.
  2. Serve with sliced apples, pears, or pretzels.

Maple chipotle pumpkin hummus

How Sweet Eats

(From How Sweet Eats)

Classic hummus gets an autumn twist in this amazing recipe. The pumpkin adds just the perfect amount of earthy sweetness, highlighted by the swirl of maple syrup.

Ingredients:

  • 2 (14 ounce) cans chickpeas, drained, rinsed and patted dry
  • ½ cup tahini
  • ½ cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 chipotle pepper
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the can of chipotles
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • ¼ to ⅓ cup ice water
  • Pita chips, crackers, etc, for serving

Method:

  1. Place the chickpeas in a blender and pulse and blend until they begin to break down. Add in the tahini and blend to combine. Add in the pumpkin, chipotle pepper, adobo sauce, garlic, maple syrup, lemon juice, smoked paprika, and a big pinch of salt and pepper. Puree until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. With the processor running, stream in the ice water until you get your desired consistency. Taste the hummus and blend in more salt and pepper if desired.
  3. Spoon the hummus into a bowl. Top with a drizzle of olive oil, extra chickpeas (optional), a sprinkle of pepitas, and a drizzle of the maple chipotle.

Butternut squash and apple bruschetta

Whitney Bond

(From Whitney Bond)

Delicious served either warm or at room temperature, this fall bruschetta gives the classic tomato version a run for its money. Sweet and savory, buttery and tart, the pairing of ingredients here is everything that’s amazing about fall flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups butternut squashdiced
  • 1 cup applesdiced
  • 6 tablespoons olive oildivided
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher saltdivided
  • 1 teaspoon black pepperdivided
  • 8 slices french bread
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 4 cloves garlicminced
  • 8 fresh sage leaveschopped
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic reduction glaze

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Toss the butternut squash and apples with 2 tbsp olive oil, ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ½ tsp kosher salt, and ½ tsp black pepper.
  3. Place in an even layer on a baking sheet and into the oven for 15 minutes.
  4. While the squash and apples are roasting, brush the sliced bread with 2 tbsp olive oil, and set aside.
  5. Combine the ricotta cheese with the remaining ½ tsp black pepper and ½ tsp kosher salt, and set aside.
  6. In a small skillet, add the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat.
  7. Add the garlic and sage leaves, and saute for 1-2 minutes.
  8. Remove from the heat and toss with the squash and apples when they come out of the oven.
  9. Place the slices of bread into the oven for 4-5 minutes, or until toasted to your liking.
  10. Remove the bread from the oven and top with the ricotta cheese, then the roasted squash and apple mix.
  11. Drizzle with the balsamic reduction.

Sausage and sage stuffed acorn squash

Well Plated by Erin

(From Well Plated by Erin)

This recipe makes for an incredible appetizer or a filling fall dinner. Serve both halves over a bed of fall greens such as kale or Swiss chard for a complete meal, or cut into quarters for a wonderfully flavorful hors d’oeuvre.

Ingredients:

  • 2 acorn squash, halved through from the stem to the base and seeds removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 lb Italian chicken or turkey sausage, about 2 links, casings removed, sweet or spicy
  • 8 ounces cremini baby bella mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet-crisp apple cored and finely diced 
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

Method:

  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400F.
  2. Cut the squash in half from stem to base. Scoop out and discard the stringy core and seeds.
  3. Arrange the halves cut-sides up on a rimmed baking sheet. Brush each half with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, until the edges begin to wrinkle and the flesh is fork-tender. Set aside. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
  5. While the squash is baking, heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the sausage, and cook for 3 minutes, until browned.
  6. Add mushrooms, onion, apple, salt, pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and minced garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sausage is cooked through, the vegetables and apple are softened, and the liquid has cooked off, about 8 additional minutes.
  7. When the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out its flesh, leaving a wall all the way around that is about ¼-inch thick. Add the scooped squash to the pan with the sausage. Add the herbs and ¼ cup Parmesan. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as desired.
  8. Mound the filling inside of the hollowed squash halves. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the filling is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Sprinkle with additional fresh herbs as desired. Serve hot.

Grilled apples with prosciutto and honey

Country Living

(From Country Living)

We absolutely love the effect the grill has on this dish, giving the apples even more juicy sweetness, and the prosciutto an additional smokey char that we can’t get enough of. Add the crunch of the pistachios and the sticky sweetness of honey, and this easy appetizer will become a quick favorite in your house.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Honeycrisp apple, cored and cut into twenty-four 1/8-inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 3 oz. prosciutto, thinly sliced
  • 1 (3-ounce) log goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup salted pistachios, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • Pure honey, for drizzling

Method:

  1. Heat grill to medium heat. Once hot, clean and oil grill grates with canola oil.
  2. Brush apple slices with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Wrap with prosciutto, dividing evenly.
  3. Grill over direct heat, uncovered and turning once, just until grill marks appear, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a platter and top with goat cheese, pistachios, and thyme. Drizzle with honey.
Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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