Pumpkin Oatmeal and Raisin Biscotti

How could I let this pumpkin season go by without filling my cookie jar with pumpkin biscotti!!  These are so full of fall flavors that my kitchen immediately filled with the warm aroma of pumpkin and spice.  Oatmeal and spices makes these more rustic in appearance; the texture is crisp and the flavor screams fall.  I’ve gotten into the habit now of using a mix of dried currants, golden, dark and cranberry or cherry. I like how the different colors look like the changing colors of fall leaves.

If you’re not into raisins, as I’ve just learned from Katherine about Greg at Rufus’ Guide to Food and Spirits, you can swap the raisins for walnuts or check out my last year’s pumpkin biscotti recipe.

On another note, how can I delay any further acknowledging the thoughtfulness of John from the Bartolini Kitchens, Ambrosiana from Tales of Ambrosia and Stefanie at A Dash of Sugar and Spice who nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!   Please check out their blogs; from Chicago to California to Rome, fabulous recipes, heart warming family memories, travel and all things nice!

As I had received this award awhile ago I was surprised and flattered to see my blog recognized again.   As part of the process for receiving the award, I had listed out 7 things about myself.  My daughter thought I could have come up with better things to say about myself, so with this second recognition, I kindly asked her to make a list of what she thought we the 7 things others should know about me,  And in her words, the following…..

  1. You made sure to the color of your dogs’ fur was the same as your hair color, just so everything matched perfectly
  2. It’s extremely hard for you to accept help from others, especially in the kitchen
  3. You always put others before yourself
  4. Growing up your children never had a real Christmas tree because you’re allergic
  5. You get excited over the littlest of things
  6. You would rather wear your white fox fur coat from years ago during winter than buy another
  7. YOU ARE THE BEST MOMMY IN THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE!

Pumpkin Oatmeal and Raisin Biscotti

2 cups white whole wheat flour

¾ cup oatmeal, not instant

½ cup turbinado sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ cup raisins, I used a mix of dark, golden and cranberry

½ cup pumpkin puree

3 eggs

1 tablespoon walnut oil

1 tablespoon pumpkin spice liquor or pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place parchment paper or a Slipat on a baking sheet.  Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.  In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, eggs, oil and liquor and beat well with a wire whisk.  Slowly add the wet to the dry ingredients stirring until mixture is moistened and well blended.  Divide dough in half and form two equal logs about 12 inches in length directly on the baking sheet, placing them about 3 inches apart.  The dough will be sticky, therefore slightly wet hands will help to form the dough.  Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Allow the biscotti to cool for 10 minutes then slice diagonally into ½ inch slices.  Return the slices to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until crisp.  Remove and allow to cool on baking sheet.  Makes about 36 biscotti and can be stored covered for a few weeks.

Fig and Orange Biscotti

Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only biscotti crazed person out there.   I mean, if my jar is empty…or even threatening to be empty, I’m planning my next baking date and tossing around ideas for the next flavor combination.   This is not a recent infatuation; my love runs deep and true many years back.   

Never making my biscotti overly sweet, it’s a morning break with my espresso when I just want just a small bite, a satisfying midday treat and a light, sweet ending to dinner.   I even grab a biscotti and crumbly it over my yogurt or gelato for a touch of crunch and extra flavor.  

Biscotti is not always found in an Italian restaurant.  In fact, it’s extremely rare when I excitedly, and I mean over the top excitedly spot biscotti listed on the dessert menu.  If it was up to me, a mini biscotti would be a given whenever a cup of espresso or coffee is ordered.   And what better way to finish a glass of wine than to dip biscotti in it!  Until I can get that changed, you can always stop by for a cup of coffee or glass of wine and biscotti at my home.

Figs and oranges feel like a natural flavor combination and a perfect intro into the Fall season.  Orange marmalade and Grand Marnier provide the orange essence and soft dried figs add sweetness.  I decided to not add nuts in this batch, but walnuts would be a nice compliment.  Of course, Pumpkin Biscotti will be filling my biscotti jar several times over the next few months too!  Ooh, and speaking of biscotti jars, thanks to my friend Randy, I’ve got myself a new and bigger biscotti jar!! 

Fig and Orange Biscotti

2 ¾ cup white whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ cup turbinado sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup chopped dried figs (I use softer dried figs rather than the spiral round hard dried)

3 eggs

1 tablespoons orange marmalade

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier

1 tablespoon Walnut oil or a light tasting olive oil

1 egg white for egg wash

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with slipat or parchment paper.  

Combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.  In a small bow, combine the eggs, marmalade, Grand Marnier and oil, beating well.  Add the beaten egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine.  Add in the chopped figs.  The mixture will be crumbly and I will use my hands to continue to blend the dough together until smooth.  Divide the dough in half and press to form into two logs.  Lightly brush both logs with the beaten egg white.  Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove the baking tray and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Allow the biscotti to cool for 10 minutes and then make diagonal cuts.  Lay the biscotti bake on the cookie sheet standing up and return to the oven to bake and crisp for 20 minutes.  Remove to cool completely and store covered for several weeks.

Red Wine Biscotti

I’m interrupting my healthy recovery diet to refill my biscotti jar.  I don’t necessarily call these unhealthy though as I use ½ whole wheat flour and olive oil, but there is some sugar.  Red wine, of course, but I’m viewing that as an antioxidant plus!

Just as the photo shows is how I present these biscotti.  They are more on the savory side than sweet, therefore I have also served them as an appetizer with wine and cheese or a with a cheese course ending.  The glass of wine in the center is for dipping the biscotti, soaking in even more wine flavor!  

A ripe, full-bodied wine should be used as the flavor of the wine is dominant.  I like to use Amarone, a rich Italian dry red wine with very little acid.  Serving these biscotti is always fun and uniquely new to many people.  I’m always thrilled when I’m told they are one of their favorites as it is definitely a favorite of mine!

Red Wine Biscotti

Adapted from a recipe clipping found many years ago in a newspaper

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon course ground black pepper

½ cup dry red wine; I use Amarone

½ cup olive oil

1 large egg white beaten until foamy

2 tablespoons sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flours, sugar, baking powder salt and pepper in a food processor and process until blended.  With the motor running, pour the wine then the oil through the feed tube and process until mixture forms a ball.  Dough should be fairly firm.  On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 2 pieces and shape each piece into a log about 10 inches long.  Flatten logs slightly.  Brush with egg white and sprinkle on sesame seeds.  Bake 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Allow logs to cool for 10 minutes and then diagonally cut into ½ inch slices and return back to the baking pan. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove to racks and allow to cool.  Store covered.

Limoncello Biscotti and True Love

Light, crisp, lemony sunshine, these Limoncello Biscotti are just perfect for serving with my Chilled Berry and Prosecco Soup or a simple glass of white wine.   Because I reduce the sugar in the recipe, I enjoy these for breakfast with my espresso and for a snack with fruit or yogurt.

When I’ve said my biscotti jar is always filled, it is indeed, even in the summer!  And, just not at home.  I have another jar on my desk at work.  This one though is a bit more difficult to keep filled.  Rumor has run through the office where biscotti can be found.  Coffee breaks now revolve around checking the jar.  Oh, the sad faces and remarks of disbelief when the lid is lifted to reveal an empty jar.

“What could she possibly be doing with her time at home that she cannot bake to keep this jar full?”  And the best, “She must no longer love us”.  Really.  So therefore it must be true, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and that includes coworkers also.  Honestly, with all the baking and cooking I do, love should be pouring in from everywhere.  Alas, you know what they say; you’re only as good as the last biscotti you baked.

Well these are amazingly, good biscotti.  I can just feel the love coming on.

Limoncello Biscotti

Adapted from Cooking Light, November 2000

2 ¾ cup white/whole wheat flour

½ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Limoncello

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

3 eggs

For the glaze:

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 tablespoon Limoncello

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper or Slipat.  In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon juice, zest, Limoncello, oil and 3 eggs.  Pour the wet mixture into the dry and mix together.  The dough will be crumbly at first; empty the bowl onto a floured board and knead 7-8 times until dough is smooth.  Divide into two and form each into a long log.  If dough is sticky, wet hands lightly.  Place logs on baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned.  Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Allow logs to cool for 10 minutes and then slice diagonally.  Place slices back on baking sheet standing upright.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove and cool on rack.  While biscotti are cooling, combine the confectioners’ sugar and Limoncello.   To reduce lumps, warm the glaze slightly in the microwave.  Brush or drizzle the glaze on biscotti when still warm.  Allow to dry.  Store tightly covered.

Spiced Walnut and Rum Biscotti

I like to prepare foods seasonally, switching from soups to salads in the summer and to grilling and quick sautéing from long roasted meals.  And, of course, as each new arrival of fruits and veggies appear on the market, I incorporate them into my meals.  Desserts too switch to lighter, cooler desserts, berries and tropical fruits.  

Except for my biscotti.  I’ve mentioned it many times; there will always be biscotti in my cookie jar!  The variety does change as I bake more with cranberries in the fall and winter and lighter flavors during the warmer months, like lemon and apricot.  I was thinking of rum cakes the other day when I decided to make these, or was it that I was just thinking of rum?

At any rate, the dough was perfect to work with, not sticky like other recipes.  The walnut oil intensified the nutty taste, while the orange zest and spices gave it a Caribbean flair.   These complimented a tropical fruit salad the other day and of course, dipped in espresso or wine is the way I roll.

Spiced Walnut and Rum Biscotti

2 large eggs (plus 1 egg separated)

¼ cup walnut oil or light olive oil or safflower oil

1 cup raw turbinado sugar

Grated rind of 1 orange

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon each of ground cloves and ginger

2 tablespoons dark rum

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup walnuts, lightly toasted

3 cups whole wheat/white flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk with the oil and sugar until combined well.  Stir in orange rind, spices, rum, baking powder and soda and nuts.  Add flour, stir until dough is formed.  Divide in half and place on parchment lined or sliplat lined baking sheets.  Shape dough into 2 thin logs.  Brush lightly with egg white.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Remove from oven, reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees and allow biscotti to cool for 10 minutes.  Slice diagonally into ¼ – ½ inch slices, returning to baking sheet, standing upright.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Cool and store tightly covered.

Cherry Chocolate Biscotti

When given a box of chocolates I will always search for that one chocolate covered cherry.  Cordials are even better bursting with sweet pleasure on that first bite!  Dark chocolate is always my favorite and if the cordial is filled with alcohol, 0oh la la!  Chocolate desserts become so much more sensual when dripping in raspberry sauce.  There is definitely something about combining the red and black, the berry and the chocolate, that tastes and looks so enticing! 

These biscotti combine my two favorite flavors.  Dried cherries are soaked in kirsch liquor and mini chocolate chips add just the right amount of chocolate taste.  Real vanilla bean intensifies the vanilla flavoring.  I keep a container of vanilla sugar which is basically made by tossing in my scraped vanilla bean pods into the sugar and allowing the flavor to seep into the sugar.  As normal for biscotti, they are not overly sweet and perfectly crisp and crunchy for dunking!  After making this batch, I thought pecans would be a nice addition as well. 

Cherry Chocolate Biscotti

2 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat/white flour)

¾ cup vanilla sugar or plain

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 whole eggs

2 egg whites

1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 ½ cup dried cherries

3 tablespoons kirsch liquor or cherry brandy

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a large baking sheet with Slipat or parchment paper.  Sprinkle kirsch over dried cherries and allow to sit for 20 minutes.  Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl with a paddle attachment.  Mix the dry ingredients for one minute to combine.  Add the eggs and vanilla extract and mix until the dough comes together.  Add in the drunken dried cherries with the liquor and chocolate chips, mix until combined. 

Divide the dough in half and form each into a log.  The dough will be sticky, therefore, slightly wet hands help to gently form the logs.  Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees.  Allow the logs to cool for 10 minutes.  Using a serrated knife, cut ½ inch slices diagonally.  Return the slices to the baking sheet and place in oven.  Bake for 20 minutes.   Remove from oven and allow to sit on baking sheet until cool and crisp.  Makes about 36 biscotti.  Keep covered for up to one month.

Orange Sesame Biscotti

If you’ve read my blog in the past or visited my home, biscotti is always in my cookie jar!  Biscotti is a treat I can trust to be there for me.  An old friend with history, my favorite kind of friend, that brings back memories from way back.  Crispy and crunchy, I can bake a batch and not have to worry about them getting stale or quickly downing a dozen.  An indulgence that is not overly sweet, sophisticated to dip in my wine and comforting dipped into my espresso. 

 Since I routinely bake biscotti, I am always looking for different recipes.  And I am always fascinated in other nationalities version of this type of cookie.  Mandelbrot is the Jewish “biscotti” and this recipe is adapted from a Greek recipe, Paximathakia Portokaliou!  Looks like biscotti, bakes like biscotti and tastes like biscotti!  It’s a long name for a simply delish little treat! 

 This recipe uses no dairy.  Olive oil, sesame seeds and citrus lightly flavor this crisp cookie.  I’ve shorted the “method” of baking these to follow my usual biscotti baking method.  The true recipe for these can be found at the Wednesday Chef blog. 

 Orange Sesame Greek Biscotti

 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh squeezed, pulp free orange juice

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup plus 2 tablespoons good, light flavored olive oil

1 ½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 ½ tablespoons organic lemon zest

¼ cup lukewarm water

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup toasted sesame seeds

3 ½ cups flour (I use white/whole wheat flour)

1/3 cup sugar

1 ¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with Slipat or parchment paper.  In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the baking soda in the orange juice.  Add the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, water cinnamon and sesame seeds.  Beat on high for about 5 minutes to fully incorporate the oil and juices.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

Switch the mixing beaters to a dough hook and slowly add the dry ingredients to the liquid mixture.  If you do not have a dough hook, use your hands to knead the dough until it holds together.  Add additional flour if dough appears sticky.  Remove dough from bowl and continue to knead lightly with your hands until soft and smooth.  Divide dough in two and shape each into a log on the baking sheet.  Using a floured knife cut half inch slices almost to the bottom but not all the way through on each log.

Bake the logs for 30 – 35 minutes until the logs are firm and lightly browned.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees.  Allow the cookies to cook for 10 minutes then cut the slices all the way through.  Place the slices back on the baking sheet and return to the oven.  Bake for 20 minutes until dry and crisp.  Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.   Makes about 4 dozen.

Biscotti for tea…Chai Biscotti

Spicy.  Exotic.  Cinnamon, cardamom and cloves.  Spices that warm my soul.  As I enjoy dipping a biscotti into my espresso or wine, I realized I would love to have a little something to dip in my tea.  Chai is one of my favorites.

My daughter works part time in a café surrounded by the aromas of freshly prepared coffee and tea drinks.  It’s a large but cozy café where you could snuggle up and spend a few hours sipping a warm drink and reading a book.  I gravitate to those places, those feel-good places that allow me to stop my busy life and relax and totally enjoy the moment.  If I can’t be at a cozy coffee shop or ocean side café, I can still create the mood right at home as soon as I settle in with one of these chai biscotti.   Since Gina has been working at the cafe’ she has taken a liking to chai drinks.

Crisp and lowfat these are ideal for a light snack and perfect for tea.   Lightly sweetened a simple, almost biscuit-type cookie but with an intense, uinique flavor.   I found a recipe in a Cooking Light magazine many years back and tweaked the recipe with extra spices and switched the white flour to a white/wheat blend and substituted agave for the sugar.  The original recipe used 1 cup sugar.  Whole wheat pastry flour is another option.

Chai Biscotti 

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine , November 2000

2 ¾ cup wheat/white blend flour

2 tablespoons vanilla sugar * (or plain sugar)

3 Chai tea bags or 1 tablespoon loose tea

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice

1 ½ teaspoons ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

¼ cup agave

1 tablespoon Grand Marnier liquor (or triple sec or orange juice)

3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour and next 10 ingredients (flour through nutmeg) in a large bowl. Combine the oil, liqueur, agave and eggs, whisking well to combine. Pour egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir to combine well. Mixture will be dry and crumbly. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly about 7 to 8 times.

Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into an 8 inch long roll. Place rolls on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray or use a slipat. Flatten the tops of each roll slightly.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Cut each roll diagonally into thin slices. Place the slices on the baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Biscotti will continue to crisp and harden as they cool. Cool completely and store tightly covered in a tin. Makes about 2 ½ dozen.

 * I keep a separate container of sugar with a few vanilla pods tucked in the middle.  The vanilla pods gently infuse the sugar with a light vanilla flavor and aroma.

Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti

My biscotti jar has been empty lately since the overload of holiday sweets.  It is very rare that I don’t have homemade biscotti on hand as biscotti are a treat I can enjoy at any time of the day.  To me, biscotti are never overly sugary; just the perfect sweet ending to my dinner dipped into the last sips of wine.  An afternoon break of biscotti dunked into espresso melts into softness for a relaxing treat and a quick pick me up to finish off my day.  And a late morning breakfast of a large latte and biscotti completes that lazy weekend feeling!   

So no doubt having an empty biscotti jar was killing me!  Pistachio and Cranberry is a much loved combo of mine and a favorite in my cookie trays for the holidays.  These biscotti’s are overload chunky!  In fact, some will crumble when cutting, but that’s always my bonus for nibbling!  But to avoid slicing into the nuts and causing any crumbling, chop the pistachios just slightly.  The taste will still be amazing!

Pistachio Cranberry Biscotti

2 ½ cups all purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

½ cup sugar

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature

2 eggs, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped

1 ½ cups dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheet with slipat or parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in bowl.  Mix sugar and butter in large bowl with electric mixer until creamy.  Add eggs and vanilla mixing until well combined.  Add flour mixture a third at a time, mixing well afer each addition.  Stir in pistachios and cranberries with a spoon.

Divide dough into two parts on the baking sheet.  Form each dough piece into a log.  If dough is sticky, slightly wet or lightly flour hands.  Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.  Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.  Cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes. 

Remove logs to a cutting board and slice logs diagonally into ½ to ¾ in thick slices.  Place slices back on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Transfer biscotti to wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.

Pumpkin Biscotti

From October to November I get so excited about pumpkins!  When my kids were little I overwhelmed them with pumpkin.  From pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin butter, pumpkin breads, muffins and bagels, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin pasta sauce, pumpkin pie, cheesecake and cookies!  Each Fall I start drinking pumpkin flavored coffee and creamer and when I am out and about, I simply have to stop for a Starbucks Pumpkin Latte!  Pumpkin liquor mixes into a fun martini or sipped straight up as an after dinner cordial.

Without question, I truly enjoy and look forward to each new season and the flavor opportunities each one brings.  I know some people can enjoy seasonal items year round, but I simply cannot.  Besides each new season offers such a plentiful bounty that I can’t squeeze in any “past season” dishes into my meals!

Biscotti is a more adult treat vs a sugary sweet cookie.  But when I dip my pumpkin biscotti into a hot cup of white chocolate pumpkin milk, I feel like a little girl again!

Pumpkin Biscotti

Adapted from Christmas with Southern Living 1996

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour

1 cup brown sugar, packed

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon ginger

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

½ cup canned pumpkin

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 tablespoons butter

1 ¼ cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat and add the chopped pecans.  Cook stirring constantly, until nuts are browned.  Remove from heat and cool completely. 

Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl, stir well.  Combine pumpkin, eggs and vanilla; stirring to combine well.  Slowly add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened.  Mixture will be very crumbly; it will gradually become moist after stirring and using the best kitchen tools, i.e., your hands, will work the dough even better.  Knead sautéed pecans into the dough.

Divide dough into two portions and begin to form each into an approximately 15″ log.  Place logs on a baking sheet with a slipat or lightly greased.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Reduce oven to 325 degrees.

Using a serrated knife, cut each log crosswise into 1/2″ slices and place slices back on cookie sheets.  Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Cool completely on wire racks.  Store covered for several weeks.