I love this time of year, when farmers markets boast the last of summer’s offerings while also giving us a peek at the myriad pleasures of fall. Broccoli, kale, lettuce, potatoes, corn, squash, apples, pears — autumn’s culinary options are endless. I’m torn whether to make a final pot of sweet corn soup or bake a batch of pumpkin spice muffins. What a nice predicament! I tend to let the weather guide my preference, with chilly days screaming for soup or baked goods and warmer ones calling out for a final slice of tomato or grilled zucchini.
Since summer scatters friends in different directions, the last few weeks have been a regrouping of sorts, talking with friends about when and what to cook. Suzy and I planned to start cooking again with some regularity and chose this week to begin. With a dreary start to the day, we wanted something sweet smelling, comforting and spiced to ease the chill. So we pulled out the pumpkin and white chocolate, opting to make Pumpkin Biscotti, one of our old standbys. With the scent of cinnamon setting a comforting mood, we mixed, molded, sliced and twice baked while we leisurely caught up with one another’s lives.
We always make more than enough to share, which I lovingly did with some friends.
A white chocolate drizzle adds the finishing touch to the subtle pumpkin taste in these crunchy, flavorful cookies. Package them up as gifts, keep around for guests and or bring them to a holiday cookie exchange.
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs plus 1 more for egg wash
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons butter softened
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces white chocolate
Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, mix together flour, baking soda, sugar, eggs, vanilla, butter, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt until well combined (several minutes). Transfer mixture to a well-floured parchment paper lined surface and bring dough together in a ball. (If dough is too sticky to work with, sprinkle on a bit more flour.) Separate into two or three pieces and mold into logs approximately 6-8 inches long and 1 ½ – 2 inches wide, pressing down until the dough is about an inch thick. Brush the top and sides of the log with egg wash. (Lightly beat an egg to create a wash.)
Place the logs on a parchment paper linked baking sheet several inches apart. Bake in the center rack of the oven for approximately 30 minutes until golden. Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. When cooled, using a serrated knife, slice the cooked logs into pieces ¼ inch thick on a diagonal. Place the cookies flat side down and bake for about 10 minutes. Flip once and bake the other side for another 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
Melt half the white chocolate in the microwave for a minute, stirring once. Cook for another 30 seconds on a reduced power until melted. Mix well until smooth. Spoon the chocolate into a small sandwich bag, cut a small piece of the corner and while squeezing toward the opening, drizzle the chocolate onto the biscotti in desired pattern. Allow the chocolate to harden for a few minutes in the refrigerator (or longer at room temperature) and then store the biscotti in an airtight container for several weeks. You can also freeze the cookies. Just make sure to place wax paper between the layers and store in an airtight freezer safe container.