Friday, October 29, 2010
Pumpkin Overload: Cookies and Biscotti
Walking through piles of fallen leaves every morning to school, I realize that fall has suddenly come. The arrival of autumn means Halloween, Thanksgiving, and of course, an abundance of pumpkins. While pumpkins are great for carving and decorating the house for the spooky season, they are also great for making into delicious cookies. When I think of fall food, I think of comfort food, and when I think of comfort food, I think of pumpkins. The smooth texture and slight sweetness of the bright orange flesh allures my taste buds. I have always loved pumpkins and could eat them simply steamed, boiled, or microwaved. However, I do enjoy exploring new ways to cook my favorite foods.
After flipping through my October issue of Cooking Light for some fall inspirations, I decided on whipping up two takes of pumpkin cookies: the American kind, and the Italian kind. The American kind, or simply, pumpkin cookies, are what you would expect pumpkin cookies to be like. They are moist, aromatic, and scrumptious. While the texture is more like a cake’s than a cookie’s, they hit the spot just as good, if not better, than your old chocolate chip cookies. The Italian kind is biscotti-- a hard biscuit that is great dipped in coffee or simply gnawed on.
Did I mention that pumpkin is super healthy too? Yes, in fact, it’s healthy enough (and super enough) to be deemed a superfood—a scientific term for food that are particularly good for you since they provide many healthy nutrients. Pumpkins are a strong contender against carrots for their powerful protection of vision due to their bright orange colors. Getting your daily need of fiber without digging out the cardboard is easy with pumpkin in your diet. Pumpkin is also extremely low in calories; one cup of cooked pumpkin has the same number of calories as two Dum Dum Pops. Now you know what you should be giving out this Halloween…
With just two days until Halloween, it’s time to carve pumpkins, eat pumpkins, and have pumpkin parties. The spooky time of year is finally here so make these pumpkin goodies for your family, friends, and of course, yourself!
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
2 large eggs
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground ginger, and ground cloves.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the eggs and sugar until light and smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the oil, vanilla extract, and pumpkin puree. Add the flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Using a tablespoon, place small mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart.
4. Bake for about 15 - 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cookie comes out clean. Remove from oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp of cinnamon
1/2 tsp of nutmeg
Pinch of ginger
Pinch of cloves
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Give it a rough stir to generally incorporate the ingredients, the dough will be crumbly.
3. Flour your hands and a clean kitchen surface and lightly knead the dough. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Form the dough into two logs. The loaves should be relatively flat, only about 1/2 inch high. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the center is firm to the touch.
4. Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife cut into 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely.