When I married The Artist I had never made biscotti and I was a little nervous about it. It seemed impossibly complicated and easy to have fail. I couldn’t have been more wrong. They are simple to make and always a winner with my guests. I really like this version because I am always looking for new and different desserts to serve during the fall and holiday seasons. These taste just like a pumpkin pie but with a pleasing crunch and of course a coating of chocolate if you feel like dipping them.
When I took a look at my assigned blog for this month’s Secret Recipe Club,* it was like I was reading about one of my cousins or a sister. Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla loves organic gourmet cooking – so do I. She loves hula hoops – I’m sure she’s better at it than I am, but I do have fun whenever there is one around. The books she listed are right down my alley, and I can just see us dancing in the kitchen to music we both enjoy. It’s no wonder that I had no trouble finding the perfect recipe to share with all of you.
Her Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Biscotti are perfect for this time of year and would make a terrific snack for a Halloween party. Biscotti are dry, crunchy rectangular-shaped cookies most often made with almonds, although hazelnuts, pine nuts and pistachios are also popular additions. Baked until very dry and crunchy, they were designed to be dipped into a beverage such as vin santo or espresso. Biscotti is the Italian word for “twice-baked” and American’s associate that name with a specific type of Italian cookie. The anglicized version of the word, biscuit, is what the British call their cookies.
My favorite recipe combines orange zest and pine nuts so when I saw this recipe in Camilla’s blog, I knew it would be perfect to share with you guys. These cookies are fabulous on their own, but if you want to make them extra special, dip them in melted chocolate. Yummy!
I had some candied orange and thought it would be complementary to the other flavors. I really like the addition, but you don’t have to go out and buy it specifically for this recipe. But if you are making other recipes that call for it, consider using any leftovers in these cookies. In Camilla’s original recipe she utilized some leftover gingersnap cookies by crumbling them and pressing them onto the top of the dough just before putting it in the oven. I love this idea too. You could even mix the cookie crumbs into the dough for another burst of ginger flavor.
When I make biscotti I like to only bake them one and forego the second baking. It gives you a cookie that is more tender and less crunchy. If you are going to dip them in chocolate, I would recommend you slice them and bake them on one side instead of two. But if you are making these ahead and they will be sitting a day or two before serving, I would suggest you do the full double baking so they will still be crispy.
Her goal is to share her love of cooking and inspire others to go to farmers’ markets and the grocery store and try new ingredients as well as learn to love the wide varieties of herbs and spices. She considers her pots and pans a culinary canvas for her creativity. If you wander through her blog I know you will be running to the store to get the ingredients for her wonderful recipes. In addition to Culinary Adventures with Camilla, Camilla also writes for Indelible Ink: Musings of Motherhood, EcoChic Designs by Camilla, Thistle Be Fun and MannMade Creations. This is one busy lady!
Just in time for the upcoming holiday season, particularly Halloween and Thanksgiving, the cookies will be sure winners. I bet they will become one of your favorites!
* I belong to a fun group of bloggers called The Secret Recipe Club. Each month we are assigned another member’s blog and we can choose any recipe from it that sounds like fun to make. We don’t reveal which blog we were given or what we are making from it. Then on a specific day we all post our recipes. It is fun to see which recipe was chosen and how other people have interpreted it. If you are interested in joining, click here for more information.
- 1/3 cup melted butter or hazelnut oil
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 whole eggs
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, unsulphured molasses or dark corn syrup
- 1/2 tsp ginger syrup, optional
- 1 cup pumpkin puree NOT pre-seasoned pumpkin pie filling
- 3-1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1-1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1-1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 tbsp chopped candied orange peel, optional
- 1 cup hazelnuts, peeled and finely chopped
- About 12 oz dark chocolate, chopped, for melting
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar, eggs, pumpkin and maple syrup.
- In another bowl, combine flours, baking powder, and spices; mix into egg mixture to form a stiff dough. Mix in nuts, crystallized ginger and candied orange peel, if using.
- Divide dough in half, and shape each half into a log the length of the cookie sheet. Place logs on baking sheet and pat down to flatten the dough to 1/2-inch thickness.
- Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
- When cool enough to touch, using a serrated knife, cut each log diagonally into 1/2-inch thick slices. Place sliced biscotti on cookie sheet, cut side up, and bake an additional 10 minutes on first side, flip the other cut side up and bake another 10 minutes or until toasted and crispy. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
- Place a sheet of parchment under the wire cooling rack to catch excess chocolate.
- Once cookies are cooled completely, melt chocolate in the microwave or over a pan of simmer water. Transfer to a flat plan such as an 8x8-inch baking pan. Dip each cookie to coat one long side. Place on wire rack over parchment. Let chocolate set.
- Yield: about 3 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on the size you cut them