Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Biscuits, Take 3

pumpkin pecan biscuits

I think I fixed it!

Third time’s a charm, right? *shrugs* who knows. BUT, I do know that these were very tasty with my coffee this morning. And, your apartment will smell really good and all Christmas-y/Festivus-y while they’re baking.

Spiced Pumpkin Pecan Biscuits

  • 2 C. AP flour
  • 2 TB baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 6 TB chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 C. canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C. buttermilk
  • Dash of vanilla
  • 2 TB dark brown sugar, OR, 3TB of honey
  • 1/2 C. chopped, toasted pecans (in 2 TB of butter)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and toast pecans in a skillet in two tablespoons of butter, set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or, with hands, until butter is the size of peas or tiny pebbles, set aside (If you’ve handled it too much and the butter pieces are warm, chill the dry ingredients while you deal with the wet ingredients). In a medium sized bowl, whisk the buttermilk and brown sugar (or honey), add vanilla and pumpkin. Stir until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in toasted pecans. If you find that the dough is a little sticky, don’t worry, add a little flour and use your hands or a spoon to mix it. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and press into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 inch thick all around. Also, try not to overwork the dough, as the butter will warm up (which you don’t want). If the dough becomes too warm or sticky, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Press biscuit cutters into dough(don’t twist, or else the biscuits won’t have layers) and place onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. The dough makes about 12-16 biscuits. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or, until ever-so-slightly golden brown. You don’t want to over-bake them and dry them out. You’ll be able to tell when they’re done. Serve warm with some whipped honey, or, like I did, with butter. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator or, wrap up in wax paper and foil in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer. You’ll thank me.

Avocado Egg Toast…

oops, I ate the other half of bread.

oops, I ate the other half of bread. Yes, that is a Zabar’s coffee mug!

…it’s what’s for breakfast! I’ve been on a hardboiled egg kick that I think started with having a salad last week with egg, avocado, greens and a spicy cilantro-lime dressing. I’d forgotten how much I love the combination of egg and avocado. I even ate it one evening for dinner following a softball game. There really isn’t anything fancy or overly-complicated or cutesy about this breakfast (or, lunch or dinner). It’s quite simple:

    toast your favorite bread
    drizzle a little olive oil on bread
    spread 1/2 of a an avocado on bread
    put sliced hardboiled eggs on top
    salt and pepper to taste
    sliced tomatoes on the side (optional)

You’re done. Now go do something productive.

Browned Butter Pumpkin Bread with Chocolate Chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

browned butter pumpkin bread w/chocolate chips

This recipe is different in that, I used browned butter, rather than vegetable or canola oil. The nuttiness of the browned butter lends another layer to the pumpkin and spices and has a more complex flavor than my normal pumpkin bread. Plus, I am on “team browned butter makes everything better,” because, well, it most certainly does.

  • 3 1/2 C AP flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie spice*
  • 1 C unsalted butter, browned and cooled
  • 1 C canned pumpkin
  • 1 1/2 C dark brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 C milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C mini semi sweet chocolate chips or, 1 C dark chocolate chips

Spray two 8″x4″ loaf pans and set aside. Heat oven to 350 degrees

To brown butter: add two sticks to saucepan, on low to medium heat. Let butter melt, then froth/bubble up, stir it with spatula in order to prevent burning. The bubbles will die down and the butter will start to crackle. The proteins of the butter are sinking to the bottom and after a second bubbling, the bits on the bottom will start to turn a little brown and the butter will change to a more amber color. This whole process will take about 4-5 minutes. Don’t burn the butter, we want it browned. Remove from heat and transfer melted butter and brown bits to a bowl to cool. (We don’t want to add hot butter to the eggs because we don’t want scrambled eggs).

*Note: As always, you can adjust the spices to your taste. I didn’t have enough pumpkin pie spice, so, I had to add a little ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. When the butter has cooled, add to beaten eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin vanilla and milk. Stir until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and add chocolate chips. If you find that the mixture is too dry, add a little bit more milk. Divide dough between the loaf pans, bake at 350 for 45-50 min. Check the bread with a toothpick in the center to see if the bread is done. Cool on baking racks. Or, have a warm slice…like I just did.

Pumpkin Pecan Biscuits, Take II

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

Pumpkin-Pecan biscuits!

I sit here with a cup of coffee, a purring cat by my side and blustery winds outside (it’s not really that cold, maybe 50 degrees, but my apartment is cold). The morning sun is reflecting off the houses and it’s very quiet outside. Saturday is my favorite day.
Sometimes I make mistakes…I mean, how else will I learn? After the first try, I decided to scrap the previous recipe and re-do it by adding more cold butter and substituting a little dark brown sugar for honey. I also made my own buttermilk (see below). These actually taste and look like biscuits. The previous recipe results looked like lumpy scones and didn’t taste very good at all. These are light, flaky, layered biscuits. The extra flour and butter definitely helps too. I think this recipe is far better!

To make buttermilk: 1 cup milk + 1 TB or fresh lemon juice. Add juice to milk and stir. Let it sit for about 10 minutes or, until it thickens. Use as you would regular buttermilk.

  • 2 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 1 1/2 TB baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 8 TB chilled butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of freshly ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 C. canned pumpkin
  • 1/3 C. buttermilk
  • dash of vanilla
  • 2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C. chopped, toasted pecans (in 2 TB of butter)

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and toast pecans in a skillet in two tablespoons of butter, set aside to cool. Combine dry ingredients in large bowl, cut in butter with a pastry cutter or, with hands, until butter is the size of peas or tiny pebbles, set aside (If you’ve handled it too much and the butter pieces are warm, chill the dry ingredients while you deal with the wet ingredients). In a medium sized bowl, whisk the buttermilk and brown sugar, add vanilla and pumpkin. Stir until combined. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir in toasted pecans. If you find that the dough is a little sticky, don’t fret, add a little flour and use your hands or a spoon to mix it. Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface and press into a rectangle until the dough is about 1 inch thick all around. Also, try not to over handle the dough, as the butter will warm up (which you don’t want). If the dough becomes too warm or sticky, pop it in the freezer for a few minutes. Press (don’t twist, or else the biscuits won’t have layers) biscuit cutters into dough and place onto the parchment-lined baking sheets. The dough makes about 12-14 biscuits. Bake for about 10-12 minutes or, until slightly golden brown. You’ll be able to tell when they’re done. Serve warm with some whipped honey, or, like I did, with butter. Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator or, wrap up in wax paper and foil in a ziplock bag and store in the freezer.

Before I took the biscuits out of the oven, I switched on my Pandora Charlie Parker station…the song that played? “April in Paris.” Weird coincidence? I think not. My heart goes out to all the people of Paris. Je suis Français.

Coffee and Coffee Mug Addict

a few of my coffee mugs

a few of my coffee mugs

Growing up, my mom always drank coffee: black, no sugar, no milk or cream. I have an indelible image of her sitting at our kitchen table in the mornings with a cup of coffee, reading her Newsweek, monosyllabic until she had some caffeine in her. As a child, I never much cared for the smell and I certainly didn’t like how mom smelled when she kissed my cheek as I was leaving for school. “Yuck!” I would say and then she would chuckle. Fast forward, years passed and things changed and I finally got “it” when I was in high school. It was then became a life-long coffee club member or, ah, addict of sorts and a whole new world opened up. I also understood why people had coffee, and how it was an individual or social thing. For me, coffee was, and is, equally practical and sentimental.

In high school, my friends and I would sit for hours at Denny’s and order cup after cup of coffee on Friday nights because we didn’t party or go clubbing. This was our fun in the Midwest. By then, I had become a full on coffee drinker. Black, no sugar or milk. But, unlike my mom, I loved my coffee very strong. Or, as she has come to say, “Strong enough to clean tar off tires.” (Sorry mom!) During college, coffee was a must when studying and obviously by then it had become ritual in the mornings. When I would visit home, I looked forward to having morning coffee with my mom (and, it still is). Grad school came and I moved to Milwaukee, more coffee, especially for those evening round table classes. By then, I noticed that I had started to accumulate several coffee mugs, a collection, if you will, each with their own memory attached to it. My mom and I buy mugs for each other and have so many that we have to rotate them in and out of our kitchen cupboards. My dad teases my mom and tells her that he’s going to have to build her a cabinet to store all her mugs in the basement. I think my favorite mug is my Wall Drug mug she bought me in South Dakota. It’s a significant and sturdy diner type mug. Then there’s the giant “Hello, is it tea you’re looking for” mug with a picture of Lionel Richie that my dear friend Mary bought for me. There are seasonal mugs, like the Waechtersbach Christmas mugs each with their own Peanuts cartoon character on them. I also have the two mugs that my Grandma Kelley and I drank evening coffee out of. I haven’t been able to bring myself to use those ever because they were ours and I miss her dearly.

For the past several years, afternoon coffee has entered the picture and I’ve recently started using half and half (afternoons only) in my coffee. It’s a necessary jolt to combat work sleepiness, or, if I’m out wandering around the city, why not enjoy a hot cup or, an iced latte? It’s a nice accompaniment to an afternoon.

There’s something about sitting in the quiet stillness of the morning, before anyone else is up and having a cup of coffee before going running or before work. Total silence, waking up…I just love it. Sometimes, my mom will text me a picture of her coffee mug and I’ll do the same (strangely enough she *just* texted me a picture of her coffee in a mug that I bought for her from Fishs Eddy. I think she must have esp or something!). So, we have coffee virtually together, which is nice and makes me feel not so alone in Brooklyn. When I go home to see my parents I enjoy walking into the kitchen, seeing mom at the table with her cup of coffee and magazine or, more likely now with her iPhone, making her next move in our Words with Friends game. I pour myself a cup and sit down next to her, and it’s perfect.