Last week, while in Boston I got to chatting with Mary (my dad's cousin's wife - so my SECOND cousin). She had me laughing as she constantly reminded me that she CANNOT cook, but does a "wonderful job of cleaning" up after her husband, Vinny, who cooked enough for an army last week. We arrived to homemade chicken soup with mini meatballs and ditalini, alongside homemade pizza, three varieties - broccoli rabe, italian sausage, and olives. The next night was eggplant parm with tortellini in red gravy. We probably gained an average of 10 lbs each last week...
Anyway, as we were sitting around pretending to cook, Mary pulled out her father's BISCOTTICHART. This thing was incredible. It was a handwritten graph of all different variations of biscotti, the beloved Italian, twice baked cookie that goes great with coffee, tea, or as LorraineRanalli suggests, a martini! Needless to say I took a copy home for my kitchen. It lists, in columns, each ingredient (sugar, flour, eggs, etc) and the varying amounts for each recipe (almond, chocolate, etc). Well with a little imagination, and a lot of fall inspiration, I made up a festive recipe for PUMPKIN BISCOTTI! I like to make them small - about half the size of a regular biscotti - so that they are easy to pop in your mouth. My kids especially appreciate this.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger (optional)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (this can be canned pumpkin, but make sure it is NOT canned pumpkin pie filling. You want to use pure pumpkin and season it yourself)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, sugar, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Sift out any clumps.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, softened butter, and the vanilla.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture and combine the ingredients. Do this gently, you don't want to overmix.
With floured hands , knead the dough lightly in the bowl. Form the dough into a large log (or small, if you want bite sized biscotti like me) and place on a lightly greased, parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the center is firm to the touch. Let the biscotti cool for 10 minutes, then slice into one inch pieces using a serrated knife.
Lower the oven to 300 degrees and bake, cut side down for an additional 15 minutes.
Now, I like my biscotti a tad chewy, so I wrap them up once they've cooled. If you prefer your biscotti to be crispy, then let it sit out uncovered for a few hours in a dry place.
TIP: I LOVE mixing in about 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips. It is the perfect accompaniment to the pumpkin for all you chocolate lovers:) You might have just found the perfect accompaniment for coffee after Thanksgiving dinner!