Halloween Trail Mix // Erin Skinner from The Speckled Palate for My Cooking Spot

Happy Monday, everyone!

What’d y’all do this weekend?

We had a fabulous one, ate a ton of delicious food at the State Fair of Texas — more about that on Wednesday! — and spent some quality time with my husband’s parents. And despite our public transportation adventure ending early because our neighborhood station was closed for a few hours and forced us to call a cab to drive us home, it was all kinds of lovely. Honestly, I wish the weekend had been longer, and we had more time.

That being said, today’s Monday, which means the week has officially begun… And to kick things off right today, I’m over at My Cooking Spot sharing my recipe for Halloween Trail Mix.

Real talk: This recipe was devised to keep me from inhaling all of the trick-or-treat candy entirely too early. Because that’s a real potential problem I have.

So pop on over to My Cooking Spot, and let me know what you think of this sweet-and-salty snack… or leave a comment here, let me know what you think of the trail mix, as well as what you did this weekend. And because inquiring minds want to know: how do YOU combat eating all the Halloween candy before trick-or-treaters come close to your doorstep?

  • NancyOctober 21, 2014 - 2:20 pm

    This looks really good!! I might need to pack this when I am at work :p Thank you for sharing!ReplyCancel

Happy Saturday, y’all!

Who’s ready for a fun weekend?

We’re up early here in Dallas, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Winston’s parents. Breakfast is cookin’, the TV is blarin’ and we’re happy as clams because our home is clean and it’s a pretty day. Once my in-laws arrive, we’re traveling down to the State Fair! It’s the last weekend of the deep fried festival, after all, and I have no doubt that it’s gonna be a glorious day.

What are y’all up to this weekend?

And are you ready for a giveaway?

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  • Jayne @ Tenacious TinkeringOctober 19, 2014 - 9:27 pm

    Girlll… I just posted a bread maker recipe not too long ago. Perhaps you girls read my mind. :-) Not sure if this giveaway is international or not but I’m participating nonetheless ;-) Who doesn’t want bread?ReplyCancel

Comfort in 1: Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars // The Speckled Palate

Who’s excited for another round of Comfort in 1?

This month, we’re celebrating pumpkins! ‘Tis the season for pumpkin goodies, after all. And we’ve got some delectable recipes coming y’all’s way today (and this weekend.)

Don’t know what Comfort in 1 is? No problem! Check out our information here.

Interested in participating? Join in on the fun here.

We’ll be sharing pumpkin-centric recipes through the end of October, and we’ll share our PECAN (!!!) recipes from November 17th to the end of the month, so if you’re brainstorming some good pecan-centric goodies for November, please join us!

Comfort in 1: Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars // The Speckled Palate

When Rachel and I were discussing what to make for this month’s Comfort in 1, we quickly decided we wanted to work with pumpkin. How could we not?

After all, October is the perfect time for all kinds of pumpkin sweets, breakfasts and treats. And who doesn’t love a fresh take on a pumpkin dish this time of year, especially as Halloween draws near and the temperatures begin to dip?

Comfort in 1: Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars // The Speckled Palate

So. Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars…

These beauties started out as a seasonal take on my insanely delicious and addictive Ooey Gooey Bars and turned into something entirely different as they baked, forming a gorgeously smooth pumpkin cheesecake on top of a dense, rich dark chocolate brownie.

Comfort in 1: Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars // The Speckled Palate

They’re decadent, that’s for sure, but they’re kind of perfect for this time of year… and they’re definitely perfect for Comfort in 1.

These Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars are a comforting dessert, which can be eaten warm or cold. I, personally, prefer them warm, though my husband has been taking slices of these bars out of the fridge and eating them cooled without an issue.

Serve the bars up at the temperature you like along with a huge glass of milk, and you’re good to go.

Comfort in 1: Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars // The Speckled Palate

Here’s how you can make these beauts:

Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This decadent and fulfilling seasonal treat combines two much-loved favorites: cheesecake and brownie. And then we upped the autumn factor by creating a gorgeously smooth pumpkin cheesecake on top of a dense, rich dark chocolate brownie. What's not to love?
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
  • For the Brownie Base
  • 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate (four 1 oz. squares)
  • 6 oz. 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips (about 1 cup)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • For the Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1½ cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup 60% cocoa dark chocolate chips
  • A sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13" baking dish with parchment paper, and grease well.
  2. Measure the baking chocolate and dark chocolate chips into a medium-sized glass bowl. Add the butter and applesauce. Heat in the microwave for 10-15 second increments to melt the chocolate, stirring after each round of heating until the chocolate/butter/applesauce mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, crack the eggs, add the sugar and vanilla and beat with a hand mixer until the mixture creamy and light.
  4. If the chocolate mixture is still hot, temper the egg mixture, then pour the rest of the chocolate into the egg mixture, mixing until combined.
  5. Measure in the flour and salt, and using the mixers, beat until combined. This mixture will be very thick.
  6. Pour the brownie base mixture into the greased baking dish and spread with a rubber spatula until an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  7. In another bowl, stir the cream cheese and pumpkin together. (Washing the paddles on your hand mixer will come in handy because this step goes faster with the hand mixer.) Beat the mixture until it has lightened and is fluffy.
  8. Add the eggs to the cream cheese/pumpkin mixture, stirring until combined. Drizzle in the melted butter, and stir until incorporated.
  9. When the mixture is smooth and well combined, measure in the cinnamon and the powdered sugar gradually, stirring until the ingredients are completed mixed.
  10. Pour this cheesecake layer on top of the brownie mixture in the pan.
  11. Spread the additional chocolate chips on top of cheesecake layer evenly. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  12. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the cheesecake is set.
  13. Let cool for 30 minutes, then slice into individual bars and enjoy warm or cold!
Please note that my oven is OLD, and your cooking time might be a little different than mine because of this. When your cheesecake bars hit the 35-minute mark, turn on your oven light and look in on them to make sure you don't overcook the cheesecake.


Comfort in 1: Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownie Bars // The Speckled Palate


What is one of your favorite pumpkin treats for the fall?

  • NancyOctober 17, 2014 - 12:22 pm

    These look amazing! I will definitely shoot you an email next time I am in your part of Texas :) You bring the baked goods, I’ll bring the coffee lol Happy Friday :)ReplyCancel

  • michelleOctober 17, 2014 - 7:34 pm

    These look so good! I’m pinning, they’d make a great addition to the Thanksgiving dessert table!ReplyCancel

  • BeckyOctober 18, 2014 - 8:56 am

    I’m obsessed with everything pumpkin!! These sound amazing and perfect for fall gatherings! Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • EileenOctober 18, 2014 - 12:43 pm

    These guys sound so good! And I would also get to eat them all myself, since I am the only cheesecake-eater in our household. I think I may have just talked myself into making some!ReplyCancel

  • alesheadominiqueOctober 19, 2014 - 10:14 pm

    Oh my goodness this all looks sooooo gooodReplyCancel

  • Kelly @ Hidden Fruits and VeggiesOctober 20, 2014 - 9:09 am

    Is it acceptable to drool all over my desk? Probably not, but it’s happening. theese looks SO goodReplyCancel

  • Madison | Wetherills Say I DoOctober 20, 2014 - 2:18 pm

    Oh my gosh, my mouth is definitely watering! I need to make these ASAP!ReplyCancel

  • laurasmessOctober 21, 2014 - 11:31 am

    Gorgeous layers… what a delicious idea Erin! And as for comfort food? ALWAYS ready. Particularly as the weather cools down, I’m all for some delicious indulgence! I’ve never tried pumpkin and chocolate before but after trying a few sweet spiced pumpkin things I am up for the challenge! xxReplyCancel

Welcome to another week of our That’s Fresh Friday Link-Up!

We’re so happy that you’re hanging with us and sharing your amazing posts. If this is your first time with us and you don’t know what the That’s Fresh Friday Link-Up is, it’s a weekly link-up hosted by the Southern Girl Blog Community and six other amazing ladies. You can come and share all of your “freshest” post from your blog weekly. The only thing that we ask is that you read our simple rules below and help spread the word about the party.


The Fresh Crew: That


Southern Girl Blog Community :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Instagram

Chene @ Prototype Mama :: Facebook :: Bloglovin’ :: Pinterest


Kathryn @ Up To Date Interiors :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest

Aleshea @ Glitz & Grits :: Twitter :: Facebook :: Instagram

Erin @ The Speckled Palate :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Instagram

Candyce @ The Sewcialite :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Instagram

Michelle @ Diva With A Purpose :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Instagram


It should come as no surprise that I’m highlighting some screen-licking beautiful recipes, right? Because that’s how I roll…

Grandma’s Biscotti from Bakewell Junction

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix from Life with Garnish

Slow Cooker Chicken and Sausage Gumbo from A Dash of SANity

Be sure to check out what my other co-hosts are digging from last week’s party. All of our features have been pinned to our That’s Fresh Friday feature board on Pinterest: Go check them out here.


Link up anything with the exception of giveaways, reviews and blog/link parties.

Follow ALL Hosts & Co-hosts via one of the methods listed above.

Visit at least two links before yours and mingle with some of the other bloggers! I’m sure you’ll find a new bloggy friend!

Display our link up button somewhere on your blog (sidebar or post) or link back.


(Find code HERE.)

Link up as many posts as you like. (Please link directly to your post!)

Spread the word about the freshest Friday link-up via Twitter, Facebook, etc.!

The more, the merrier. And be sure to use the hashtag ‪#‎thatsfreshfriday‬ to spread the word!

Every week when the link-up goes LIVE, Chene (one of our lovely hosts) sends out a ‘heads up’ email to our That’s Fresh subscribers. If you would like to be added, click here.

Now it’s time to PARTY! We can’t wait to see what you guys have been up to!

  • WinnieOctober 17, 2014 - 1:33 am

    Thank you Erin for another great party!!ReplyCancel

  • AdrianOctober 17, 2014 - 6:18 pm

    Thank you Erin! I’m glad you liked the Hot Chocolate Mix:)Enjoyed the party!ReplyCancel

Runner Food: Toasted Almond Butter Sandwich with Apples and Honey // The Speckled Palate

I am one of those weird people who enjoys apples on sandwiches.

However, I’d never considered fruit on a sandwich until a friend and I stumbled into a little sandwich shop the day we were apartment hunting in Mississippi… and not to sound dramatic or anything, but my life was changed.

I was skeptical about going into said sandwich shop, but my friend insisted, and I figured why not? If nothing else, we’d get a taste of the local flavor and a much-needed break from looking at various too-expensive apartments.

Runner Food: Toasted Almond Butter Sandwich with Apples and Honey // The Speckled Palate

Needless to say, the sandwich I ate was absolutely delicious, combining sweet and savory perfectly.

And during the next year and a half, I spent quite a bit of time at this sandwich shop. Not only was it near my home, but it was also located on the main thoroughfare of the town, making it easy for me to pop in on a busy day of covering the news and pick up my favorite sandwich to consume on my way back to the office.

Runner Food: Toasted Almond Butter Sandwich with Apples and Honey // The Speckled Palate

And though I haven’t been to this sandwich shop in nearly five years, I still think about it… and have started making myself sandwiches that celebrate the combination of sweet and savory.

This Toasted Almond Butter Sandwich with Apples and Honey is a fantastic snack or lunch for anyone, but I’ve found it’s particularly delicious on the days I am running.

Yes, this pregnant gal is talking about running, something I have admittedly not done in entirely too long due to the lingering heat in Texas. That being said, this toasted sandwich was one of my favorite pick-me-ups during marathon training, and I’ve been wanting to share it with y’all for a while now.

It’s simple, it’s delicious, and it’s sweet and savory… what’s not to love?

Here’s how you can make your own:

Runner Food: Toasted Almond Butter Sandwich with Apples and Honey
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Serves: 1
  • 2 slices bread (your favorite!)
  • 2 tablespoons chunky (or smooth) unsweetened almond butter
  • 1 small Granny Smith Apple, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons local honey
  1. Toast the two slices of bread to desired done-ness.
  2. Slather the unsweetened almond butter on top of the toasted bread.
  3. Drizzle the honey on top of the almond butter.
  4. Layer the apples on top of the honey/almond butter mixture.
  5. Toast again (if desired), then press the two pieces of bread together to form a sandwich or eat open-faced.
  6. Enjoy warm with a glass of milk or water!

Runner Food: Toasted Almond Butter Sandwich with Apples and Honey // The Speckled Palate
Are you into the whole sweet and savory sandwich thing?

What’s one of your favorite sandwiches to make at home?

  • SkyeOctober 15, 2014 - 11:13 am

    Almond butter and honey are a great combo.ReplyCancel

  • SonyaOctober 15, 2014 - 11:22 am

    This sounds yummy. I’ve gone grain-free recently. So I really miss sandwiches. I would love to try this one though. I use to really love eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches.ReplyCancel

  • Jenna @ A Savory FeastOctober 15, 2014 - 1:29 pm

    Oh wow, this looks so good! I am obsessed with apples right now!ReplyCancel

  • JeanaeOctober 15, 2014 - 9:34 pm

    I love trying new, and different combos for sandwiches.ReplyCancel

  • AlliOctober 16, 2014 - 3:42 am

    I love, love, love apples in a sandwich. Sometimes I just pile on the mixed greens, slice an apple, drizzle with low fat Asian Sesame dressing and throw it all in a wrap or pita pocket – the perfect lunch! I’ll definitely try your sandwich. Looks delish!ReplyCancel

  • Madison | Wetherills Say I DoOctober 16, 2014 - 2:48 pm

    Wow, I would have never thought to do this! But it looks sooo yummy. Apples and peanut butter are my GO TO snacks!ReplyCancel

  • WinnieOctober 16, 2014 - 4:10 pm

    This is definitely my kind of a sandwich :)
    I actually have almond butter at home
    And we love apples and honey together :)ReplyCancel