Steamed Pears with Asian Flavors

Photo: Gentl & Hyers

1. The Genius Way to Cook Fruit
We're used to seeing fall and winter fruits roasted, baked and simmered. Steaming, though, is an unexpected way to keep the fruit (in this case, pears) in tact while still softening and sweetening it. You cook pears in the steam created by boiling spiced apple cider; once they're tender, you reduce the cider and stir in honey for a sweet sauce.

Get the recipe: Steamed Pears with Asian Flavors
Dingo cookie

Photo: Pure Sweets

2. The Nutty, Maple Cookie
These rustic cookies from Pure Sweets, an organic, gluten-free, vegan, kosher bakery in Philadelphia, are made with almond flour and almond butter, which lend a moist texture and rich flavor, along with maple syrup, vanilla extract and dark chocolate. Grade B syrup will give the treats a toasty, caramel-like flavor, and the chewy bites make terrific cookie-jelly sandwiches.

Get the recipe: The Dingo
Applesauce

Photo: Ann Stratton

3. The Not-Just-for-Kids Weeknight Sweet
Although we tend to think of applesauce as a lunch-box staple, it's an unfussy yet lovely ending to a casual supper, especially when you heat it before serving. Use McIntosh or Red Delicious apples, and leave the skins on to give the sauce a rosy tint.

Get the recipe: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Applesauce
Cocoa

Photo: Anna Williams

4. The Drinkable Dessert
When you can't decide between chocolate or coffee after dinner, have both. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, of the Brooklyn bakery Baked, add dark, unsweetened cocoa powder to freshly brewed espresso, then stir in whole milk, sugar and cinnamon for a rich treat with a hint of spice.

Get the recipe: Cinnamon Mocha Drink
Toast

Photo: Charity Burggraaf

5. A Reason to Save the Bread for After Dinner
This open-face, chocolate sandwich hits all the right notes: crunchy, chocolatey and creamy. It's adaptable, too: You can use a dollop of cream cheese, crème fraîche or even plain yogurt. And unlike many warm-weather desserts, it doesn't rely on fresh fruit—toasted bread and melted chocolate are the stars here—so you can make it even in the dead of winter.

Get the recipe: Toasted Chocolate Bread with Cream Cheese Crème Fraîche

Next: Easy winter pies anyone can bake

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