Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek
30 Before 30, Cookies, Desserts, Recipes

#PumpkinWeek: Pumpkin Biscotti

Crunchy, pumpkin spiced biscotti make a crisp fall morning extra special!

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

I first started drinking coffee eight years ago in a little corner café in Nice with ornate velvet chairs, marble tables, and the most divine pastries you have ever seen in your life. Iiiiii know. It’s as idyllic as it sounds–this is France we’re talking about, after all. The cafés in Paris did not even BEGIN to compare. This little spot is a slice of heaven on earth. I remember luxurious mornings on that summer project with Cru, sitting and reading and talking in that café with a big green awning, wishing that summer would never ever end. But it did, and I came home, and US coffee is nothing like that strong French brew, especially when said brew is layered with cream and thick caramel. Mmmmmm! I gradually journeyed from occasional fancy, caramel-y coffee drinks to an everyday coffee habit with a constant rotation of Paramount Coffee in our cupboard [no sponsor or anything, we just really like their coffee]. One thing I never understood was biscotti.

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

The concept of biscotti–cookies at breakfast–totally makes sense. But a hard cookie? That you dip in coffee? Well, that just sounds weird. I’ve never been a dip-my-Oreos-in-my-milk kinda girl. Crumbs=gross. The only biscotti I’ve ever had just was… boring and tasteless. And let’s face it–I probably tried to bite into it without enough dunking. Ooops?

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

There’s nothing gross or boring or tasteless about these biscotti! They’re full of real pumpkin, lots of pumpkin spice, and a healthy coating of white chocolate on top. These biscotti taste so good you’ll forget it’s just a normal morning at home, and instead think you’re lounging in a fancy French coffee shop! If only. 🙂

Pumpkin Biscotti | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Though I made these biscotti for #PumpkinWeek [it ends tomorrow! Tear!] they also fulfill one of my 30 before 30 goals. Yay! Thanks to Terri from Love and Confections for hosting. You can also find these great recipes and more on Love and Confections’ #PumpkinWeek Pinterest Board!

one year ago: Peanut Butter Apple Oatmeal Cookies
two years ago: 30 Minute Chicken Tortilla Soup
three years ago: Pumpkin Biscuits
four years ago: Maize and Blue Cupcakes

Pumpkin Biscotti

  • Servings: 24
  • Print

from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter – optional
  • 1 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped – optional
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate
  • 1/2 tablespoon canola oil

Directions:

If using nuts, melt butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add nuts and stir to coat. Cook nuts, stirring constantly, until they brown. Remove from heat and cool completely before proceeding.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

With a mixer, beat together eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin, and vanilla until the mixture thickens. With mixer on low, slowly add flour, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice. Dough will be thick so just mix it in a little with the mixer and then finish up by hand. If using nuts, fold in at the end. Dough will be crumbly.

Divide the dough in half, then shape each half into a 3×10 inch log. Place on prepared baking sheet, then wet hands and smooth logs if necessary.

Bake until the logs are slightly firm to the touch, about 25-30 minutes. I found that without nuts, my logs didn’t firm up at all until about 35-40 minutes, but they do firm up more as they cool so go with your instincts. Cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes, then remove to a cutting board and slice with a serrated bread knife. I got about 12 slices by cutting my pieces about 1/2-3/4 inch thick.

Return cookies to baking sheets, cut sides up. Place in a single layer and bake until firm, about 20 minutes, flipping halfway. Remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Once biscotti have cooled, melt white chocolate and oil together in a microwave safe bowl, heating on 50% power in 30 second bursts, stirring in between to melt. Drizzle, brush, or dip with white chocolate.

Store biscotti in airtight container. It’s best within the first four days, but will keep for 3-4 weeks.

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies | thepajamachef.com #PumpkinWeek

Check out all the #PumpkinWeek Bloggers and their recipes:
Pumpkin Pie Chia Granola by Love and Confections
Meatloaf-Stuffed Mini Pumpkins by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
White Chocolate Reeses Pumpkin Blondies by The Spiffy Cookie
Pumpkin and Corn Chowder by Curious Cuisiniere
Buttermilk Pumpkin Pancakes by Life Tastes Good
Pumpkin Spice Cookie Blossoms by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Curried Roasted Pumpkin Hummus by A Kitchen Hoor’s Adventures
Praline Frosted Pumpkin Brownies by My Catholic Kitchen
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter by Making Miracles
Pumpkin Biscotti by The Pajama Chef
White Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake by Dizzy Busy and Hungry

Breakfast, Granola, Recipes

Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola

I’ve never been to New York City, but I know that when I do someday, Alice’s Tea Cup will be my first foodie stop. My mom owns about a zillion cookbooks, and one that I always love to browse when I’m home was created by the owners of the NYC area chain of tea shops. It’s aptly named Alice’s Tea Cup and it is full of recipes for fun teatime sweets, breakfast treats, and even good info about the proper way to brew tea. I’ve made a scone recipe from the cookbook that was just so-so [probably because I didn’t make the buttery glaze to go on top], but I wanted to give the cookbook another chance. I am so glad I did, because Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola is simply magnificent.This phenomenal granola combines three types of nuts [almonds, pecans, walnuts] plus sesame seeds and coconut, as well as two types of dried fruit to make a nutty-sweet comination that is absolutely essentail in a good granola. It is a bit more museli-like than a traditional chunky granola, but that doesn’t detract from it’s crunch. But the real added bonus to this granola comes from its spices: the usual suspects of cinnamon and nutmeg… and vanilla tea! I’ve never used tea as a spice before, so I was a little unsure what it would be like, but it’s absolutely wonderful. The tea adds some delicate sophistication to the crunchy hippie treat [ha, ha].

Overall, this is a granola recipe that is perfect as is… but could definitely be improvised based on the contents of the cupboard. We enjoyed it served over yogurt or with milk, but as with any other granola recipe… the possibilities are endless. I can’t wait to make it to NYC to try the original version, but for now, I’m glad I can enjoy it at home when the mood strikes.

What’s your favorite granola fixings? Have you ever been to Alice’s Tea Cup in NYC? Wanna take me? 🙂

Alice’s Vanilla Tea-Infused Granola [from Alice’s Tea Cup]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 2 heaping teaspoons vanilla tea leaves [I used a vanilla-cinnamon tea, and just cut open one tea bag]
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and spray a large jelly roll pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients except honey and butter. Mix together thoroughly, then stir in honey and butter.

Spread the mixture on prepared baking sheet, and pack down with a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes, flipping at the halfway mark. Remove granola from oven when it is golden brown. It will harden as it cools.

Break granola into chunks and store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or yogurt.

Time: 30 minutes.

Yield: about 7 cups.

Linked up with…

Cheesecakes, Desserts, Recipes

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce

pumpkin cheesecake
Don't you wish I was on your table?

I know, I know. It’s probably not nice of me to post a pumpkin recipe the day before Thanksgiving when the menus are already planned and the shopping is already done… [right?]. But this Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Topping is so fabulous I hope you’ll forgive me, just this once. I made it to take to our small group from church about a month ago and it was absolute devoured.
slice of cheesecake
This cheesecake is so light, so fluffy, so rich, so flavorful. Even if there is no room for cheesecake on Thanksgiving day, I bet there’d be room on Black Friday. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Or… any day, really! The chocolate crust pairs really well with the spicy pumpkin filling, and the Pecan Praline Topping is to die for! [And leftovers serve really well as dip for apple slices or drizzle for ice cream…] All the work for this cheesecake is totally worth it… I promise. So, do you forgive me for being mean? 🙂

Pumpkin Cheesecake [from Brown Eyed Baker]

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs [use a food processor/blender or a rolling pin/ziploc to crush them]
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 32 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • about 2 cups [15 ounces] canned pumpkin
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use aluminum foil to double-wrap the bottom and outside of a 9 inch springform pan.

In a food processor or blender, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, and butter. Press into the bottom of the springform pan and bake for about 7 minutes or until set and golden brown. Cool completely before filling. Adjust the oven to 325 degrees.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add cream cheese and sugars and mix on medium speed until creamy, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add pumpkin and mix on low until fully combined, scraping the sides as needed. Beat in eggs one by one, mixing long enough to ensure each is fully incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together cream and vanilla, then pour in the batter and mix until combined. Stir together the spices and add, mixing on low until all is combined.

Boil a pot or teakettle of water for a water bath.

Pour batter onto crust. Place the cheesecake pan into a larger dish [I use a roaster] and pour the boiling water into the larger dish, about halfway [2-3 inches] up the sides of the cheesecake.

Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until edges are set and middle is slightly underbaked [it should not be firm yet]. Turn off the oven and let cheesecake sit in the water bath for about 60 minutes, leaving the oven door shut. Then, take cheesecake out of water bath and oven, remove the foil, and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. [Do not refrigerate until cheesecake is cooled; this causes condensation.] About 2-3 hours is necessary for the cheesecake to cool completely, so take that into consideration when you’re planning!

Refrigerate at least 6-8 hours or overnight before serving

For more info on cheesecakes and water baths, check out this site.

Pecan Praline Sauce [from Food & Wine]

Ingredients:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups pecans, roughly chopped and toasted in a 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes if desired

Directions:

In a small saucepan, melt butter and stir in sugar. Cook over medium heat, always stirring, until smooth. Whisk in heavy cream and salt, then bring to a boil and simmer until thick. Cool, and stir in pecans.

Click here for the printable: Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecan Praline Sauce

designQuestion of the Day: Favorite flavor of cheesecake. Ready, go!

Breakfast, Recipes, Scones

Maple Pecan Pear Scones

Whoa… that’s a mouthful.

Both the name… and…

Maple Pecan Pear Scones | thepajamachef.com
the deliciousness that is this scone!

I love scones because they are a dessert, a breakfast, and a healthy, filling snack all rolled into one! These scones are light and fluffy, not tough like some scones can be, and they’re even made with whole wheat flour, oats, and nuts, which is an extra bonus. I’ve made some rock-hard scones [or other baked goods] in my day with whole wheat flour, so it’s always great when a recipe with whole wheat flour turns out well. I enjoy all the flavors in this scone… they really marry well when made the night before, so they are perfect for breakfast or brunch. But just watch out… these will not last very long!

Maple Pecan Pear Scones

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

from Eating Well

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats [not instant]
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons [2 ounces, or 1/4 of a normal package] chilled reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel), cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup Bartlett pear, diced and peeled
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, divided
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, or substitute 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup, then let sit for 5 minutes and use what you need
  • 1 teaspoon maple extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • cooking spray

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large baking sheet with cooking spray, and set aside. In one bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flours, oats, 1/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender [or 2 table knives], cut in the butter and cream cheese. Swirl in oil [i.e. don’t just dump it all in] and toss with a fork to mix in. Swirl in pear and 1/4 cup nuts and toss again to coat. In a small bowl, mix buttermilk and maple extract and then swirl into dough, always stirring, until coated. Scone dough will be sticky… it always is, and that is good!

Turn dough out onto a floured counter-top or large cutting board and knead slightly, then form into a ball and press down into a large circle. Using a table knife [grease and flour it, if it sticks], cut dough in half and then cut each side into 6 wedges, for a total of 12 scones. Place scones on baking sheet, then make the egg glaze.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and add water. In a second small bowl, combine 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and 1/4 cup nuts. Then, using a pastry brush, glaze top of each scone with a generous amount of egg mixture, and top with nut mixture, pressing in gently to set. Bake the scones until golden, about 15-20 minutes.

Maple Pecan Pear Scones | thepajamachef.com
Serve and enjoy!