Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin and White Chocolate Biscotti

I know I've written before about my general dislike for most things pumpkin, but I will admit that my natural pumpkin aversion might just be starting to go away.  I'm sort of liking pumpkin things now, which is crazy when you consider how much is didn't like pumpkin-anything just a few years ago.  This weekend, my mom made pumpkin ravioli for dinner one night, and while I found them to be a little sweet for dinner, they were still pretty good.  I tried some pumpkin soup the other day, and I was actually able to finish the entire bowl, and was able to say that I genuinely liked it.  I still don't think I'll ever order one of those fancy pumpkin-based drinks at Starbucks (in general, I can't stand fancy coffee drinks), and I'm almost positive that I will never be able to handle more than a single bite of pumpkin pie at a time, but at least I'm making some progress here. I'm liking baked things with pumpkin more and more now, although that might simply be because I find that pumpkin baked goods usually only have a very mild pumpkin flavor, and always come loaded with my lots of my favorite spices.  Whatever the reason, pumpkin will certainly be featured on the blog this fall, so pumpkin lovers have nothing to fear.  We may not see eye to eye, but I'm sure you'll find my pumpkin treats to be perfectly satisfying and delicious nevertheless.  



First up, we have some spiced pumpkin and white chocolate biscotti.  Nothing outrageously in the sense of pumpkin-overload, but still outrageously good.


Biscotti are a cookie that I should really get around to baking more often.  They're so simple to make, yet I'm not sure why I never seem to put them near the top of my list of things to bake.  I love how crunchy and crisp they are, how they're usually the perfect level of sweetness for my tastebuds, and as someone who loves anything simple and slightly rustic, biscotti are just perfect.  When I'm baking other types of cookies, I get super obsessed with making sure uniformity is maintained throughout the batch;  all my drop cookies must be the exact same size, spaced evenly apart, and be perfectly little round domes that bake up into equally perfect little round cookies.  I'm much less obsessive over a batch of biscotti.  I've accepted that my biscotti will probably never be perfectly even 1/2-inch slices, and that sometimes, they will have craggy, imperfect borders, or that sometimes, the nuts or chips that get mixed in will end up sticking out in places that I don't really want them to stick out from.  I've accepted that these things are all ok, and are actually what make biscotti perfect. They're a little rough and tough around the edges, but their imperfections make them the perfect cookie to enjoy on a simple, lazy morning, or when you need a sweet little pick me up in the afternoon.

Having said all that, I've been craving to make a batch of biscotti for a while now, and I'm very happy I finally got around to it.  I think fall is the perfect season to start baking up batches of biscotti, as they're perfect for dunking into hot drinks like cider, hot chocolate, and of course, coffee.  I wanted to give my biscotti a seasonal spin, and I thought adding pumpkin would be a perfect way to go about it.  Because these biscotti have pumpkin, they're not as hard or dry as some biscotti are.  Traditional biscotti are made without any butter or oil, and when finished, are hard and dry biscuits that are perfect for dipping into coffee.  When made with butter, or in this case, with pumpkin puree, the added moisture helps to create a softer biscotti with an almost cake-like texture.  I find both versions to be delicious, although I tend to prefer the softer kind, simply because I'm not too big of a fan of hot beverages and find them a bit easier to eat.  This biscotti has a mild pumpkin flavor that's accented with warm fall spices.  I mixed in some chopped walnuts to introduce a little textural variation, and some white chocolate chips to provide little bits of added sweetness here and there.  I love using white chocolate this way, but if you prefer dark or semisweet chocolate, you can certainly feel free to make that substitution.  Cranberries and pecans would also work perfectly.


These biscotti come together quickly and easily.  The thing to keep in mind when baking with pumpkin is the fact that pumpkin will provide a lot of moisture to your recipes, so it's always best to keep a close eye on your baking times.  While the original recipe suggested baking the loaves of cookie dough for 25 minutes initially, I ended up leaving them in the oven for a little while longer, simply because the loaves looked undercooked, and sure enough, they were.  I took the loaves out after 25 minutes, let them cool slightly, and when I sliced into the first loaf, realized that they were just not cooked enough, so I stuck the loaves back into the oven to bake for a little while longer.  After baking for a total of 40 minutes, the biscotti loaves were cooked enough that I was able to cleanly slice through them.  Aside from this, there were no other complications with the recipe itself.  The biscotti had just the right amount of sweetness, pumpkin flavor, and warmth from the spices. A heavy drizzle of white chocolate was the perfect way to finish off the biscotti, but this is optional.  And by optional, I only mean the heavy drizzle part.  Just a little extra white chocolate on top makes these simple biscotti seem even more special and delicious.  Enjoy!

Spiced Pumpkin and White Chocolate Biscotti
recipe adapted slightly from Sweet Pea's Kitchen

Ingredients

1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3/4 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup white chocolate chips

white chocolate chips, for drizzling (optional)




Directions

Melt the butter in a skillet set over medium heat.  Add the chopped walnuts, and cook, stirring constantly, until the nuts have toasted and become fragrant.  Remove the nuts from the heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and position an oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.  Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla extract until the mixture has thickened slightly, a few minutes or so.  


Stir the flour mixture into the batter, mixing only until just combined.


Add in the chopped walnuts and white chocolate chips, stirring just until they are evenly distributed. 



Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough in half, and shape each half into a log that's about 3x10 inches.  Place both logs on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until the logs are firm to the touch, about 40 minutes.  Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes.

Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.  Once the logs have cooled slightly, use a serrated knife to slice them into 1/2 inch slices (approximately).  Arrange the cookies on the baking sheet in a single layer. Bake the cookies for about 15 minutes, flipping them halfway through the baking time.  


Once the cookies have baked the second time, transfer them to a wire rack and allow them to cool completely.  When the biscotti are completely cool, melt some white chocolate in the microwave, and using a fork, drizzle the biscotti with white chocolate, if desired.  Enjoy!


Makes about 2 dozen biscotti

2 comments:

  1. this sounds so delicious! and you captured the photos of the food in such a way that i want to devour it right.this.second! so happy to have stumbled across it!

    xo, Kelsey Belle | Happie Reading Blog

    ReplyDelete

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