Everything you see on the platter above uses one of the 3 dips shared in my post Three Easy Dips--Pumpkin Pie, Caramel, and Peanut Butter. One of the great things about these dips, besides being easy and delicious, is that they can also be used as spreads, toppings and fillings. That means there are literally endless sweet treats you can make using these 3 dips/spreads/topping/fillings. Those 3 recipes are huge multi-taskers. And we need all the help we can get during this busy season.
Today I'm going to share ways to use these 3 toppings to add accents to simple cookies, brownies, and gingerbread. I'll also show you how to make mini pies in a flash. It will look like you've been cooking for days, but you can assemble all kinds of these treats in an hour. Yay!
Here are the links to those recipes again, in case you need them:
I have a little confession: I used store bought cookies and mini pie shells for everything I'm showing you today. Much as I love to cook, much as I like to make cookies from scratch, there's no shame in getting a little help from the bakery or grocery store when time is short. By adding a homemade topping to these prebaked confections, and sprinkling them with a fun variety of goodies, you can create an impressive, delicious, festive platter of treats in a fraction of the time. Or, you can bake everything from scratch. Sometimes I do that. Well in advance of a party, I start baking and freezing a variety of cookies. That way when it's party day, I only have to decorate them.
But, today most of what I'm showing you was purchased at Whole Foods (they have great bakery items) and my regular local Schnucks grocery store (they also have a good bakery dept.).
Using the Caramel Cream Cheese Topping:
These are Brownie Bites purchased at the grocery store. You can make your own by baking brownies in mini muffin tins. After adding some of the caramel cream cheese topping with a cake decorating bag and tip, I decorated them with candy corn, chocolate covered espresso beans, Halloween sprinkles, and cinnamon coated almonds. Other possibilities: chopped nuts, toffee bits, chopped snicker bars, chocolate chips. So many more. Use your imagination. This takes something very plain, and makes it look festive and fancy.
Using the Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Topping:
Woe is me, my cake decorating tip broke right when I was ready to add topping to a peanut butter cookie. Brother! Well, actually it's not a problem. I could spoon on some topping and spread it around. That would be just fine. Or, this gives me the opportunity to show you an alternative, in case you didn't have a cake decorating bag and tip to begin with. Or, yours breaks, like mine. Ready? This is so easy. Put your topping in a Ziploc bag. This one is quart size. Twist the top of the bag so that you squeeze the topping down toward one of the lower corners.
Snip off the corner of the bag with a pair of scissors. It doesn't take a very big hole. Start with a small hole--you can always make it bigger. Squeeze the bag, and pipe the topping onto the cookie. Make a circle around the outside, and then wind around toward the center.
Continue the peanut theme by topping the cookies with a peanut M&M, chopped peanuts, crushed Butterfinger candybars, Reese's pieces, or chopped Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Here's one with a Peanut M&M. Simple. But yummy.
Here's my next tip for good-tasting convenience for your dessert platter. Use frozen mini fillo shells. They are already baked and in the freezer section of the grocery store where they sell the boxes of full size phyllo dough. They don't even require baking. You just fill them, decorate them, and you're done. They are flaky and delicious.
Here I'm piping peanut butter cream cheese topping into a mini fillo shell. How easy is that?
This one is topped with a piece of peanut brittle.
Here are more fillo cups filled with peanut cream cheese topping and accented with peanuts and mini chocolate chips. How easy can it get? The look cute, and fancy, and festive, and they taste oh-so-good!
Using the Pumpkin Pie Cream Cheese Topping:
This topping has a thinner consistency than the caramel or peanut butter versions, so it's just as easy to spoon it on as it is to pipe it on. Here, I spooned pumpkin pie topping on a molasses cookie and topped it with crystallized ginger. Is that beautiful? The cookies came from Whole Foods, and they taste as good as my homemade ones. Honestly. And, I'm picky about my molasses cookies. This is one of my favorites of all that I'm showing you today. Absolutely delicious.
Here I've filled fillo cups with pumpkin pie topping. They're topped with pecans, yogurt covered raisins, and crystallized ginger. You could also top them with whipped cream, crushed ginger snaps, or toffee bits. Mini pumpkin pies--so cute.
It's easy to make whoopie pies or filled cookie sandwiches with the 3 toppings. Here I used pumpkin pie topping between 2 ginger snaps, peanut butter topping between 2 peanut butter cookies, and caramel topping between 2 chocolate wafers.
I said the molasses cookie/pumpkin pie topping combo was one of my favorites. This is my other favorite. So good. Gingerbread with pumpkin pie topping, whipped cream, and sprinkled lightly with pumpkin pie spice. I baked the gingerbread using my whole wheat gingerbread recipe, but there are some good mixes--Trader Joe's is a favorite. You can cut a pan of gingerbread into small squares if you want to include it on a finger-food dessert platter. The topping makes it beautiful and delish.
Look at all of the variety you can have on one dessert platter using the 3 simple topping recipes with a variety of baked items. There are so many more possibilities than what I've shown you here.
If you try these toppings, let me know what you put them on. It's fun to come up with new combinations.
And, don't forget that these toppings are great dips for apples, cookies, and pretzels, too. And yummy spreads on bagels. Now that's multi-task cooking!
Make it a Yummy day!
Other seasonal posts that may interest you: