Changing the subject.

Today is Princess H's birthday. My kids' birthdays traumatize me.  The glorious sunshine made it hard to be totally depressed, but, still, I'd rather not talk about it right now...

A couple weeks ago, my saintly friend and darling Brother Z -- both of whom have mad kitchen skilz -- helped me make 88 caramel apples for my sister-in-law's wedding. (And by "helped" I really mean "did with virtually no assistance from me." My primary role was chasing my two slightly sticky toddlers around the TV). In case you've ever contemplated a similar feat, consider yourself warned: Such quantities of sticky ooze are not for the faint of heart! We took shortcuts -- following this recipe, rather than making our own caramel -- but it still took us more than an hour just to unwrap the stuff!

Anyway, caramel apples are great, but I'm a (relatively) low-maintenance gal, and I endorse treats that are similarly straightforward. Here are a few of my very favorite super-easy seasonal delights:
Mix two of these:

with one of these:

 Don't add any eggs or butter; a pinch of cinnamon or pie spice is nice but not necessary.
Drop onto lightly greased cookie sheets and @375 until set but not brown.


These are not just five-ingredient simple, they are insanely delicious and classy. Our big brother makes them. He's a pretty impressive guy. But these definitely raise the bar.

Prepare this according to package directions
(If memory serves, it demands a stick of butter and an egg. Easy peasy.)

 If you're feeling fancy, or have it on hand, add a pinch of cinnamon and/or cardamom, then press the dough into a buttered baking dish -- I've been using an odd little guy I discovered hanging around that is slightly smaller than a standard rectangular cake pan.  Then, cover the top with a full bag of these bad boys

They sell this Moroccan-spiced Pistachio mix at the little
grocer around the corner, but I've also seen them at Whole Foods.
I think it's worth seeking them out, just so you can make this
for your next Autumn picnic.
It's a enigmatic melange of salted nuts, pepitas, sesame seeds,
tiny bites of fig and -- wait for it -- harissa.
When you put this spicy-salty-sweet on top of soft-chewy cookie bar,
it is kind of insanely delicious.

and bake @ 375 until it's puffed and a little golden around the nuts.