pumpkin biscotti

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My less-baking-until-Thanksgiving goal is getting annoying. The deal was that for most of November, I would only bake biscotti for Dave, 100% whole wheat bread, and any recipes that were required for my blog. Well, I finished baking November’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipes last week, and my freezer is stocked with whole wheat bagels, pizza dough, and baguettes.

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So I’ve made a lot of biscotti for Dave this month. It’s been my way to cheat. I’ve been making half batches, not only because that way I get to make more again sooner, but I was a little uncertain about this recipe.

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The original version didn’t have any butter in it. I’ve made biscotti without fat before, and they were some of the worst biscotti I’ve had. The texture was not crunchy or crisp, but nearly crystalline. In this case, I guess I was hoping that the pumpkin would somehow make up for the lack of fat.

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It didn’t, and the first batch of these biscotti weren’t great. I added a few tablespoons of butter to the second batch (less than half of what a regular cookie recipe has), and the texture was what Dave and I prefer in our biscotti – crunchy but not teeth-breakingly so. But there was some metallic background taste that Dave and I couldn’t identify, which made our tongues tingle unpleasantly after a bite.

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right – half the baking powder

What in the world was that? My guess was that there was too much baking powder, but the amount I used seemed on par with other biscotti recipes. So I tried one more time, this time making two half-batches of dough, one with half the amount of baking powder, one with the same amount.

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Well, I don’t know what was wrong with that second batch. Maybe I accidentally doubled the baking powder, because when I divided the amount in half, the biscotti didn’t rise correctly. It tasted good and the texture was fine, but it didn’t dome in the middle to make pretty shapes. The half-batch with the full amount of biscotti was perfect – crunchy, smooth and domed, and no metallic taste.

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left – half the baking powder

Which means I have no more excuses to experiment. I have half a carton of cranberries in my fridge, and I’m just about out of scones stored in my freezer, so I’m itching to make cranberry scones. And I have a friend with a birthday soon, and I want to send treats. But that’s breaking the rules, I suppose. Two more weeks until I get to bake again.

It’s cheating to let myself bake as long as it isn’t desserts for myself, right? Right?

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the first, butterless batch

One year ago: Bourbon Pumpkin Cheesecake

Printer Friendly Recipe
Pumpkin Biscotti
(adapted from Simply Recipes)

2½ cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
pinch ginger
pinch cloves
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
½ cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

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

2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted butter, 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 ½ inch high. Bake for 22-30 minutes at 350ºF, until the center is firm to the touch. (Feel free to also form two smaller logs for cute two-bite biscotti; just cut the baking time to 18-24 minutes.)

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

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Comments

  1. What a fun use of pumpkin!

  2. Looks good to me! I have yet to make biscotti but I should give it a whirl.

  3. I love when you compare recipes and share your thoughts !! I’ve never made biscottis but I think this is gonna change soon !

  4. San Francsico Baker says:

    Followed the recipe to the letter and was dissappointed in the texture – way too soft to be biscotti. Flavors were very good. I am going to try again with less butter and maybe add some nuts.

  5. bridget says:

    San Francisco Baker – I like my biscotti crunchy, but not brittle. If your biscotti weren’t crunchy, you might want to increase the length of the second bake. If they were and that just isn’t the texture you prefer for biscotti, definitely try decreasing the butter. The original recipe from Simply Recipes (linked in the post) might be more to your liking.

  6. Samantha says:

    Do you think you could get away with subbing brown sugar with the white sugar?

  7. bridget says:

    Samantha – The problem with brown sugar is that it results in chewier, softer cookies than white sugar. Those generally aren’t traits you want in biscotti. But, if you want to try it, I’m sure it’ll taste great.

  8. How do you freeze and then rethaw your biscotti? I’m planning on making your pumpkin scone recipe and I figured I’d make these with the leftover pumpkin.

  9. bridget says:

    Ashley – I’ve never frozen biscotti, because it has such a long shelf-life – at least a week, maybe two, stored airtight at room temperature.

  10. I just tried this (my first attempt at biscotti ever!), and it turned out fantastic! Thanks for the great recipe!

  11. Nicholas says:

    I have tried this recipe without the butter and with the butter, the first time (without butter) went great, but it was my first time working with pumpkin biscotti. It was a little hard work but they turned out with great flavor, great texture, and the pumpkin was VERY pungent. So I had a lot of left over ingredients and I saw your recipe but I noticed you used butter. So I figured I would try your recipe, however it did not turn out well. The pumpkin flavor in general is completely gone, all I taste is a terrible butter taste, it was so hard to mold due to the ultimate stickiness of the dough, and the texture is not good at all.

    Maybe I just had a bad time around but for one I thought the butter was not needed in the recipe.

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