pumpkin biscotti

 This should probably be my last pumpkin post for a while.  Even I’m starting to think I’ve gone off the deep end with all these pumpkin goodies (although, I did see an amazing looking pumpkin roll at the Farmers Market yesterday and I know I could do that).  But, while all the pie pumpkins seem to have disappeared from the produce department, my friendly, neighborhood Frye’s is still piling the Libby’s pumpkin puree on to the end caps…and I keep buying.  Ok, so maybe this won’t be my last pumpkin post.  There are at least a couple more cans of pumpkin in my pantry.

Anyway, on to the recipe.  I love biscotti.  More than enjoying a tasty biscotti cookie in my morning coffee, I love the process of baking biscotti.  There was a time, for certain, when the whole concept intimidated me.  Baking once, baking twice…what?  Could the chemistry of baking be made any more complicated by having to bake something more than once??  But, while it is a little more time-consuming, it’s not complicated.  Then, there are the rewards.  Oh, man, I love the crispy snap and crunch of good biscotti.  I love that snap and crunch even more when it’s followed by the flavor of pumpkin.  And, although the recipe didn’t call for it, I sort of upped the yum factor by melting some semi-sweet chocolate and drizzling it over the finished product.

Ok, now tell me that’s not worth the extra time??!!  Enjoy!

 

Pumpkin Biscotti  (recipe courtesy Vanilla Garlic)

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Procedure:

1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices in a large mixing bowl.

2 In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Give it a rough stir to generally incorporate the ingredients, the dough will be crumbly.

3 Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Form the dough into a large log, roughly about 15-20 inches by 6-7 inches. The loaves should be relatively flat, only about 1/2 inch high. Bake for 22-30 minutes at 350 F, until the center is firm to the touch.

4 Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.

***Baking Notes:  I erred on the side of too little baking on my first batch and no amount of dry, desert air crisped them sufficiently.  My next batch baked closer to the longer suggested baking times and were much better.  Just keep an eye on them.

You can enjoy lots of other recipes over at Blessed with Grace, so click on over!

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pumpkin seed brittle

Fall is here, right?  Right??  So why was it still 105° when I high-tailed it out of the desert last weekend?  Can you tell me that?  This oh, so long stretch of endless summer prompted a week-long getaway to Michigan during Kat’s “Fall Break,” at school.  Well, it’s not much of a break if it doesn’t feel like fall.  Sometimes you just have to go after what it is you’re craving…like spiced apple cider, and crunchy fall leaves, and anything, Anything, ANYTHING with pumpkin in it.
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I don’t recall how this recipe landed in my in-box, but it had my attention pronto.  The whole concept of pumpkin seeds in brittle was not something I’d ever considered.  Peanuts, yes.  Pecans, yes.  Cashews, oh my word, yes!  But never pumpkin seeds.  And, really, in this case, the raw, hulled, green version better known to most cooks as pepitas.  Now those, I’m familiar with.  I toss them into salads and tortilla dishes all the time.  This was my first experience using them in candy.
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There’s only one word I can use to describe the finished product: Yum!  This stuff is so good (it’s brittle, after all), and so addictive.  Clearly I need to package it up and give it away to neighbors and teachers and random, kind strangers – if that wouldn’t seem completely creepy.
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Make it!  You’ll see!!

Pumpkin Seed Brittle

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3/4 cup raw green (hulled) pumpkin seeds (not toasted; 4 ounces)
  • Special equipment: parchment paper; a candy thermometer

Directions:

Put a 24- by 12-inch sheet of parchment on a work surface and anchor corners with pieces of tape.

Bring sugar, water, and sea salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Cook mixture, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals from side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water, until syrup registers 238°F (soft-ball stage) on thermometer, 10 to 12 minutes (sugar syrup will be colorless). Remove from heat and stir in seeds with a wooden spoon, then continue stirring until syrup crystallizes, 3 to 4 minutes.

Return pan to moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts completely (sugar will continue to dry and become grainy before melting) and turns a deep caramel color, 4 to 5 minutes more (seeds will be toasted). Carefully pour hot caramel mixture onto parchment and carefully cover with another sheet. Immediately roll out (between sheets of parchment) as thinly as possible with a rolling pin, pressing firmly. Remove top sheet of parchment and immediately cut brittle into pieces with a heavy knife or pizza wheel. Cool brittle completely, then peel paper from bottom. (Alternately, break brittle into pieces once cool.)

*Cook’s Notes:  You’ll note I underscored a couple of words in the directions.  If you’ve never worked with molten hot sugar, you’ll want to take note of those underscores.  Sugar must be stirred constantly or you’ll have one gosh-awful stink in your kitchen.  And probably a pan you’ll want to dispose of rather than wash.  Also, molten hot sugar cools really, really fast.  So when the directions say to do something “immediately,” seriously…do it!  Don’t answer the phone, check your Facebook status updates, or send a Twitter tweet.  You’ll be done for!  Enjoy!!

mango lime sorbet

I know I’ve shared this recipe on one of my other blogs (I’m starting to feel a bit manic in the blogosphere – too many sites, time to consolidate?), but summer persists in this desert place.  While many others are starting to think of fall and root vegetables and apple picking, it’s still summer in Scottsdale.  And will be for some time to come.

So a fresh, crisp, lively, summer after-dinner treat is on my mind.  This one is so easy and so delicious, I must share it.  Again.  It’s very, very cool.

Homemade Mango Lime Sorbet

Ingredients:

  • 1 mango, peeled, chopped and frozen
  • 3 limes, juiced
  • 2 Tbsp honey

Preparation:

Puree ingredients in blender until smooth and thick.  Scoop equal amounts in to small serving bowls (I used small ramekins) and return to freezer for about 15 to 30 minutes to firm up slightly.  Garnish with fresh strawberry slices and serve.