Your favorite season is a great time to indulge in these wonderful sweets.

Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas

If you come across fragrant Granny Smith and Winesap apples at the farmers' market, do you buy a few pounds and hurry home to make an apple crisp for dessert? Do you awaken early on a cool autumn morning and, while everyone else is still sleeping, take a mug of coffee out to the porch to thumb through your favorite cookbooks? Do you get excited when you see canned pumpkin prominently displayed in the grocery store, not shoved to the back of the shelf? (You probably grab 4 to 6 cans, right?) If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, you might be a fan of fall baking. The chill of autumn has set in and we no longer need to worry about "heatin' up the house," so pull out your favorite fall dessert recipes, check the expiration date on your spices, and preheat the oven. Prepare for a creative day in the kitchen using fall's favorite offerings.

Autumn brings a nice selection of crisp apples, each with unique characteristics – from tart Granny Smiths to sweet Fujis. Seek out different varieties at your local farmers' market, but, for the sake of convenience, our apple dessert recipes include varieties found at the supermarket. From classic apple pies to top-rated bundt cakes, apple desserts are delicious, comforting and impossible to resist.

Photo: Ellen Silverman

Sweet Potatoes and Pumpkins
known as "hard-times staples" in the South, these versatile, hard-working crops can be cubed, roasted, fried, boiled, and mashed with other ingredients for savory side dishes. But in these delectable fall desserts, sweet potatoes and pumpkins unite with complimentary fall flavors to create tasty treats for your holiday baking. These pumpkin-chocolate brownies combine a pumpkin pie-like layer with the traditional brownie. Your dinner guests will be speechless at the stunning mile-high marshmallow meringue on this sweet potato pie.

While we may disagree on the correct pronunciation of the South's favorite nut, we can all agree that there is not a chicken salad, congealed salad, cheese ball, or cornbread dressing that is not made better by the addition of pecans. Roasted, sugared, or seasoned, pecans also add a delicious layer of flavor to our favorite fall desserts. The pastry crust gets an added pop with the addition of toasted pecans in this Pumpkin-Pecan Streusel Pie. Enjoy pecan pie as a bar in this interesting twist on a Southern classic.