Please note: This post was created in collaboration with Chase Freedom Unlimited. All opinions, images and content are my own.

I have been working on my “be a better baker challenge” in collaboration with my friends at Chase Freedom Unlimited for several months now, and I’m winding down the official challenge but still baking away! This month I decided to tackle an apple pie, for a few reasons. First, I used my cash back credit card to stock up on the most beautiful, seasonal farm stand apples and I needed to make something with them! And second, apple pie is one of the few baked goods that I always felt really comfortable baking. It felt like the perfect time to come full circle, back to the basics, and see how far I’ve come over the past few months with a dish that’s tried and true.My idea for tackling apple pie, a recipe I’ve made a gazillion times for holidays and while baking with my family, was to see if I could start experimenting and improving upon a classic. When I started my “be a better baker challenge,” I felt like I needed to set a goal for myself to practice my baking skills so I could get to the point where I felt comfortable testing and experimenting with my own recipes, the same way I do with cooking!I’ve certainly been practicing and baked some really good treats over the last several months. I think one of the best things I did was invest in some quality tools and new cookbooks with my cash back credit card over the course of this challenge. Having the right resources in place for referencing and executing the recipes was key, and I love that I’m always earning with the Chase Freedom Unlimited card and working towards my goals.I think one of the biggest things that I learned in this and other recent bakes, is that experimenting with a baking recipe is totally fine as long as you do your research! I dug into tons of pie recipes before I experimented with my own, referencing some of the cookbooks I bought over the last few months. I ended up making a sweet pie dough (I’ve never added sugar to my homemade pie crust before!) and mixed both butter and cream cheese into it. I also did some experimenting with the filling and tried some honey in the apple mixture for a caramelized sweetness.As I wrap up this baking challenge, I’m feeling like it’s the beginning not the end! I’ve definitely learned a lot, gotten more comfortable with baking recipes, and feel excited to try new challenging bakes and experiment with my own recipes. I couldn’t have done it without my Chase Freedom Unlimited card – earning 1.5% cash back as I stocked up on tools, cookbooks and ingredients during the process made it feel like I was accomplishing two goals!

PS: If you have a challenge you’re working on, Chase is now offering new Chase Freedom Unlimited cardmembers a special bonus offer available through, and in Chase branches: get a $200 bonus after spending $500 in the first three months – apply and start working towards your own goals!