This was a tough one. But I like challenges. I love biscotti. I love autumn. I love drinking hot cider or tea in autumn. I wanted– no I needed– to combine all these loves into a lovely pumpkin spice biscotti that exudes all the warmth and aroma of autumn. My mom makes the best biscotti. Of course I may be biased, but it is the perfect texture, right amount of anise, and has the perfect crunch. I curl up into nostalgic comfort dipping her biscotti into my tea and it was one of my best friends during my first trimester nausea in both my pregnancies. Actually, I think it was my only source of nourishment for a few weeks!
When I decided to make a pumpkin variation of biscotti, the world wide web was very scarce to present a recipe I liked, with the exception of this good starting point I found on Simply Recipes. The recipe calls for 1/2 of pumpkin puree which sounded fair to me. Not too little, not too much; I’ll take it. However I really wanted to start with my mom’s recipe because I love its texture and crunch, and besides Mama knows best! I still had several adjustments to make to accommodate the extra moisture of the pumpkin. I experimented over and over with half recipes until I produced the perfect cookie with a good crunch. Pumpkin naturally has a lot of moisture, and the puree reminded me of apple sauce. I remembered my days when I used to make reduced fat cakes from the boxed mixes which suggested using apple sauce in place of oil. So I dropped the oil in place of the pumpkin puree, and I also reduced the 3 eggs from my mother’s recipe to 2 eggs. I thought this would suffice, but the first batch still came out too cakey. So the second time around I added 1 extra cup of flour and used a tad bit more sugar. I opted to use more brown sugar because of the butterscotch flavor it lends and because it makes a cookie softer (to make up for the extra flour added). I also doubled the spices, just because I love the smell! So here it is, what my taste testers and myself found to be the perfect little cookie!
Make Fresh Pumpkin Puree
First of all, I use fresh puree. Always. Perhaps this has more water than the canned and why I needed to make more adjustments than the other recipes I found online. Fresh puree is just better; it has no preservatives or additives, is not processed, and is SO easy to make. Did I mention it will make your house smell AMAZING?! Just cut the pie pumpkin in half ( I get mine at Trader Joe’s), scoop out the pumpkin seeds ( you can toast these little gems with salt and some oil), sprinkle the pumpkin flesh with some cinnamon and nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice, and place flesh side down on a large baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes. Your home will smell Ah-MAZING as the toasted spices and roasted pumpkin scents waft through your home. When the pumpkin is soft, remove from oven, let it cool, and scoop it right out of its skin and into a bowl. Beat for 1-2 minutes with a hand blender till smooth. Easy as pie 😉
Pumpkin sounds perfect with warm gooey caramel which will highlight the butterscotch tones the brown sugar imparts to the cookie. So I whipped up a caramel sauce and drizzled over my cooled biscottis after they toasted on each side. This makes for an extra treat when dipped into your coffee or tea and the caramel melts into your drink and in your mouth! However, being a dedicated chocolate fan, I also decided to dress some biscottis with a delicate chocolate drizzle. For this, I just melted some semi-sweet chocolate chips and drizzled using a ziploc bag.
Biscotti is a twice baked cookie hailing from Italy. The first time it is baked to a soft cake like texture, then it is sliced and baked again to toast into a crunchy biscuit ideal for dipping into coffee or tea. I personally like my cookie a little softer so I do not toast it as long as required when it gets its second bake.
Most recipes you will find for biscotti call for rolling the dough into a log. It was nearly impossible to do so with this mixture; it is far too sticky. Do not attempt; it is fruitless. I tried flouring my hands and the counter, to no avail. Instead we will pour and form the sticky dough into a long, log shape on the pan, and shape it with a finger dipped in water to prevent stick. When slicing the once baked biscotti, you MUST use a sharp serrated knife, and it helps to dip into water between cuts if its getting to crumbly.
here you see how sticky the batter can be
- 3 cups flour
- 1 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin spice
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- pinch of ginger, to taste
- pinch of cloves, to taste
- 1 stick of salted butter
- 1 cup pf dark brown sugar
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup of heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together in a medium bowl. In a larger bowl whisk together the pumpkin puree, 2 eggs, sugars, and vanilla extract. Slowly add the dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour the melted butter over mixture and stir in gently.
- This step will be the trickiest, but with my tips you will do fine! Grease your baking sheet with butter, or line it with parchment paper. Carefully pour the dough into two long logs on the baking sheet. The length of the log should take the length of the pan and be the same thickness throughout, about 1/2 inch. The width of your log should be about 4 inches, or smaller if you are making mini biscotti. The width of the logs will be the actual length of your biscotti once you cut it. To smooth any peaks from the dough or shape any odd portions wet your finger, and smooth the dough into a long even slab as much as possible.
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, allow it to cool for about 10 minutes, then slice into narrow long biscuits. Turn each biscuit over on its side and bake for 15 minutes on each side.
- While the biscuits are baking, melt 1 stick of unsalted butter over medium heat. Once melted, add the 1 cup of brown sugar and cream and stir well. Allow it to boil for about 1 minute then remove from heat. Cool for about 15 minutes then stir in powdered sugar.
- Once the biscotti have cooled, fill a zip bag with the caramel and drizzle over the tops of the biscuits while they are still in the pan. Allow the caramel to harden before storing. Stores well in an airtight container.
- It is worth doubling this recipe because these cookies go fast! These also make great gifts and are a wonderful seasonal treat easy to dress up with caramel or chocolate drizzles!