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.

How to Make Non-Dairy Buttermilk

Sometimes you need buttermilk and you don’t have it on hand, or, perhaps you’ve got a dairy sensitivity or are vegan. Think you’re out of luck? No way! You can totally make buttermilk using almond milk, soy milk or even coconut milk and one TB of white vinegar (or apple cider vinegar) or fresh lemon juice.

  • 1 Cup Almond milk
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar

Let sit for about 10 minutes until it looks thicker or curdled. Voila! Use in cake, pancake, muffin or bread recipes.

Grandpa

Today would have been my Grandpa’s 87th birthday. He died last November a week before Thanksgiving from complications from congestive heart failure. He was WWII vet, former minor league baseball player for the Tigers (right field), active member of his local VFW, told the best stories, had a good sense of humor, strong work ethic, provided for his family and my Grandma and, he loved cookies, well, sweets in general. For his b-day and other times during the year my mom would bake him some sort of cookies and mail them to him. I also sent him some cookies from time to time. Sometimes he’d share them with Grandma, sometimes not. He was funny that way. She used to tell me that he’d go get the mail and then she’d ask him if there was anything special. He’d be evasive and eventually tell her that “Barb sent me some cookies.” She and I would have a good laugh about that. I always sent him funny birthday cards, which he always appreciated and saved. I wish mom and I could have baked him cookies one last time.

Happy Birthday, Grandpa.

Vietnamese Cinnamon

A few words about cinnamon and cassia, notably, why I use Vietnamese cinnamon, which actually is cassia because it comes from the cassia tree. You might have noticed that I use it when I bake. Why? Let me back up…
My friend Mary introduced me to it a few years ago. She had raved about it after buying it at Detroit’s Eastern Market. She uses it in her baking and adds a little bit to her morning coffee. My interest was piqued. So, when I was in Michigan this past summer, she and I made an excursion to Eastern Market and I picked up a packet for myself and one for my mom.

Ceylon cinnamon (common, “true” cinnamon) comes from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree, while cassia comes from both the inner and outer bark of the cassia tree. Vietnamese cassia is harvested and processed differently than Ceylon cinnamon and is more aromatic and spicier than the different grades of Indonesian cassia that is sold in supermarkets. Honestly, once I opened the packet, my nose could instantly smell a difference between it and my regular cinnamon.

So now when I bake and cook I prefer using Vietnamese cinnamon (yes, I still call it cinnamon, even though it’s actually cassia) in place of regular cinnamon. You can order online via Penzey’s or, if you see it in your local market, pick up some and try it in place of cinnamon…you’ll see/smell that there is a definite difference.

Blueberry Coffeecake

Right now the scent of Vietnamese cinnamon and baking blueberries fills my apartment. Freshly made baked goods are a perfect breakfast treat. Why buy coffee cake when you can easily prepare it and have it fresh from the oven in 45 minutes? This is a super simple and quick recipe that I got from my mom. I used fresh NJ blueberries, but I’m guessing you can use cherries, raspberries or blackberries. I love summer fruit!

Butter/grease a 9″ square pan and set aside

Mix:

  • 3/4 C. Sugar
  • 1/4 C. Vegetable Shortening
  • 1 egg

Stir in:

  • 1/2 C. Milk
  • 2 C. AP Flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Then stir in well drained blueberries.

To make the streusel topping:

  • 1/2 C. Sugar
  • 1/3 C. Flour
  • 1/2 C. unsalted butter, (softened)
  • 1/2 tsp. (or more if you like) Cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

Combine the streusel ingredients with clean bare hands until the mixture resembles pebbles. Add topping to coffee cake mixture and bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is.

A few notes: I swapped unsweetened vanilla almond milk for regular cow’s milk (because sometimes it bothers me [lactose intolerant])–a little more than 1/2 a cup of almond milk. You can judge by the consistency of the mixture. and, I used Vietnamese cinnamon because it’s more flavorful and stronger than regular cinnamon.

it really was delicious. Trust me.