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.

Pear Crumb Coffee Cake

When I bake, I end up making more than I could possibly consume, so I end up wrapping up items in wax paper, then foil and then a zip top bag and pop it in the freezer (currently, my freezer is close to over-flowing and I would kill for a larger one). Well, I just noticed that I had half of a pear crumb coffee cake in my freezer. Total score! I’d totally forgotten about it, and I forgot that I had started to write a post about it last fall. So, here it is…later than I’d wanted. I just adapted my blueberry coffee cake recipe from my mom and adapted another recipe I found online on Cooks dot com. It’s simple and you don’t even need a mixer. You can use milk (or even buttermilk) in the recipe, but I substituted unsweetened vanilla almond milk because that’s all I had on hand. Oh, and don’t over do it on the cinnamon or cardamon, as that is a lesson I learned a long time ago.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray an 8×8 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.

Coffee Cake

  • 1 1/4 C. AP flour
  • 1/2 C. light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 C. almond milk
  • 4 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 ripe pears, cored, peeled (if you want) and cubed into 1/2 inch pieces

Topping

  • 1/2 C. white sugar
  • 1/4 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 C. chopped pecans

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk egg, cooled melted butter,
vanilla, and milk. Add wet ingredients to dry and add pears, stir to combine. Add mixture to baking dish.

For the crumb topping, mix sugar, flour, cinnamon and cut in cold butter either with a pastry cutter or your hands. Break up butter until it’s the size of tiny peas (it’s okay if some pieces are bigger). Add chopped pecans. Evenly sprinkle streusel on top of cake batter. Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top and when a toothpick comes out clean.

Toasted Almond Buttermilk Biscuits

Warm homemade biscuits for breakfast!

I never personally knew my Great-Grandma on my Dad’s side of the family. She, Clara, lived through stories told by my Dad and my Grandma R. My Dad and his brother lived with his grandparents on a farm in Tennessee for a few years while his mom, my Gram, looked for work and got a job up north in Michigan (times were tough back then for a single mom living in TN and the north afforded more opportunities in employment). Apparently, Clara was quite the baker, pies, cakes and buttermilk biscuits. Stories of Clara live on via my Dad, but I wish my Grandma were alive to tell me more stories (she passed away last year and I feel like our life-long conversation was unfinished. I guess that’s what happens when someone you love dies: there’s always more to say and much left unsaid. I sure miss her). The way she described the farm to me, the smokehouse, the pickling and canning, the baking, it was as if I was there myself. I’d like to think that Clara would approve of the buttermilk biscuits I’ve been making and attempting to perfect lately.

The key to making a nice, flaky biscuit is ice cold butter. Well, that, and don’t over-work the dough and when you cut out the biscuits, don’t twist the biscuit cutter, because then your biscuits will be flat, and no one wants flat biscuits. I also keep my flour in the freezer and I tend to think that helps too. I use all-purpose flour rather than cake flour…mostly because I’ve never used cake flour and never buy it. I usually get up early on the weekends because I can’t seem to sleep late anymore. And, after a cup or two of coffee, or sometimes barely a cup, I get to baking these biscuits. The addition of toasted almonds is a new and I think it works well. Pecans would also be delicious.

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

  • 2 1/4 C. AP Flour
  • 1TB baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 9 TB cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 C. buttermilk (can be low-fat)
  • 1 TB sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped almonds, toasted in 1 TB butter

Chop and toast the almonds until almost browned. Remove from heat, put in a bowl and let cool. Spoon the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl and whisk them together. I have tried this recipe with sugar and without. I like them without sugar and prefer a more salty biscuit. Add the cubed, cold butter to the flour mixture. Now, you can use a pastry cutter, or your clean hands. I use my hands because I find it easier. You want to break up the butter until it’s the size of small peas and the dough is crumbly and coarse. If the dough gets too warm from your hands, put bowl in the freezer for a few minutes. Add the buttermilk and toasted nuts (if using) stir together with a spatula until the dough looks craggy and just comes together. Turn out the dough on a lightly floured surface and flatten to about an inch or so. Do not use a rolling pin! Use biscuit cutters or a glass to cut out the biscuits. Place biscuits on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. You can also brush the tops of the biscuits with a little bit of buttermilk. Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes. Do not over-bake. Your kitchen will smell heavenly and your neighbors might be jealous. Enjoy warm biscuits with butter, honey, or preserves.

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

I love fall. Getting up before the sun rises and the moon is still out, cooler temperatures, not sweating to death or passing out while waiting for the subway at Jay Street, wearing a jacket, college football, baseball playoffs, hockey (sad face here) fall vegetables….

It seems almost cliche to write about using pumpkin in the fall. But, I really do love pumpkin: cookies, waffles, pancakes, brownies, muffins, bread, you name it. Recently, I came upon a vegan recipe from the Joy the Baker cookbook that I tweaked a bit. I used dark brown sugar, a dash of vanilla, low fat maple syrup and added some unsweetened vanilla almond milk while combining the wet and dry ingredients because the dough was too thick. I thought about adding cherries or cranberries too, but wanted to taste the pumpkin and not be distracted. So, perhaps next time I’ll add some dried cherries. I think I like the vegan version of the bread over any non-vegan versions I’ve ever made. It’s delicious. Enjoy!

Vegan Pumpkin Pecan Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease (or use cooking spray) two 8x4x3 inch loaf pans and set aside.

  • 3 1/4C. all-purpose flour
  • 2C dark brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp of each: Vietnamese cinnamon (or regular), freshly grated nutmeg, and allspice.
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1C canola oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3C lite maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C almond milk
  • 1 can of pureed pumpkin (15oz)
  • 1C chopped, toasted pecans

Mix the first seven ingredients together in a large bowl and set aside. Whisk the oil, pumpkin puree, syrup, water and vanilla in another bowl. Mix until well combined and it resembles applesauce. I prefer a fork over a whisk for this task because it’s easier. (Oh, and a note about apple sauce: You could swap out half a cup of oil for 1/2 cup of apple sauce). Add wet ingredients to dry ones and mix well with a spatula. At this point you might want to add a little bit of almond milk if the mixture becomes too thick/dry. You be the judge. After well combined, add the toasted pecans, mix and then divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 for about an hour and ten minutes, or, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the bread.

Let bread cool in pans and then when pans are ok to handle, pop bread out onto a plate or a cooling rack and cool completely. Or, if you’re like me, cut off the end of the pumpkin bread and gobble up with a slather of soy margarine. Or, if you want to be completely non-vegan: some butter. Whoops! Haha.