Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Pumpkin Chocolate Biscotti!

So I don't think it's been mentioned before that both the Ia(i)ns and I are in a mostly-sacred, often-early music vocal ensemble (if we only had an alto we'd have a complete SATB set for our house). We were in choir at Macalester together and had a difficult time thinking of going from 4-5 days a week of singing to none. Plus early music is absolutely gorgeous and ridiculously fun to sing. Last Sunday The Gregorian Singers had an Advent Procession (my first, being, y'know, Jewish), and afterwards we had a potluck party to go to.

I was scrambling for something to make since we'd all just gotten back from Thanksgiving to a mostly-devoid-of-groceries house when I suddenly remembered the 128 Cookie Recipe magazine my mom bought me for airport reading. Flipping through it, I spotted a few biscotti recipes that looked fun, but I didn't have all the ingredients for any of them. I was also in the position of having a half can of pumpkin in my fridge. While easy and tempting enough to make more pumpkin bread, I figured it'd be more interesting to try something new. Thus, a baking adventure seemed prudent. This was only my second attempt at biscotti of any sort, but I think they actually went well! And they're a very different deal than the chocolate chip pumpkin bread, regardless of the similarities in recipe form.

  • 1/4 c. butter (half a stick- you could go up to 6 TBS)softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • about 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of salt
  • 3 cups flour
  • about 2/3 chocolate chips or chopped dark or semi-sweet chocolate (I actually chopped the chocolate chips a bit so they'd get better incorporated).

Now, just as a disclaimer, there are a lot of ideas of what makes a biscotti truly a biscotti. I don't really know any of them. All I know is that biscotti must be twice baked. Also, this is a baking adventure; measurements are approximate.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Combine pumpkin and butter in a large bowl and mix well. There will be some lumps. Don't worry too much about those, but don't leave huge chunks of butter.
  • Add the sugar and baking powder and salt, then the eggs and vanilla, then the spices.
  • Stir in the flour. A mixer would make this easier, but you can do it! It will make a stiff dough. Throw the chocolate in and incorporate it as best you can.
  • Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and split it into two. Make two logs out of it like the one in the picture. They should be about 8"-12" long. Just pat the dough into place-- it should stick pretty easily, since it's so stiff.
  • Stick the rolls on a baking sheet (ungreased) and pop them in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool for awhile and then cut the logs very carefully, in a sawing motion with a serrated knife into slices. Mine were 1/4-1/2 inch thick. If your logs are like mine, some of the pieces will crumble a bit, but that's ok.
  • Place the slices on a baking sheet like the one above, reset the oven to 325°F, and bake for 10 minutes. Then flip and bake about 10 minutes more. Actually, they'd probably be fine if you didn't flip them, but I did. If they come out a little soft in the middle don't worry. They'll crisp up while cooling.
I recommend dunking in tea or cocoa.

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