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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/26/14

Friday, September 26, 2014

PUMPKIN CRANBERRY BISCOTTI!

   This recipe comes from www.confessionsoftart.blogspot.com .   Biscotti is one of my all time favorite things to make, especially during the holiday seasons.   It's easy to make and most people love it.




Pumpkin-Cranberry Biscotti

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Books are kind of like people, don't you think? You can tell right away if you're going to be friends with one or if you'll have a brief conversation and go your separate ways. So it was with this book - as soon as I picked it up,* I could tell that it was going to be one of my favorites. By the end, I felt like I had met Frank and Jerome and had sat with them in the kitchen of their New York cafe as they took out trays upon trays of  delicious tarts, biscotti and Madeleines. I've made many recipes from this book, always with great ease and great success, encouraged by the warm tone and the friendly, quick humor on every page.


Pumpkin Biscotti

The recipes in this book are thoughtful, inventive and yet inviting and unpretentious. In fact, you get the feeling that the authors put together a list of their very favorite things to make at home and opened it to the rest of us. These pumpkin biscotti are no exception - they are simply wonderful - wonderful! If you like pumpkin desserts (and oh, I do), you will LOVE these, I promise. Crunchy, spicy, packed with golden raisins, cranberries and toasted pecans, oh goodness, I can't even really express how happy these made me. And the generous proportions of this recipe ensure that your family and friends will be very happy as well, should you choose to share (which, by the way, you totally should - these biscotti will make you many, many new friends!). Happy fall, everyone!

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*Disclaimer because some people might misunderstand: I bought this book at a bookstore, just like everyone else. I was not asked nor paid to do a review of this book, but I wanted to share it with you because it has become one of my favorite books to reach for lately.



Pumpkin Cranberry Biscotti Recipe
Note: I used 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ground cloves
Note 2: This recipe requires a little more effort than the traditional biscotti, but I'm telling you, it's so totally worth it.
(Makes about 25 biscotti - I got a bit more)



Ingredients

4 1/2 cups flour (495g)
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (120g)
3 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar (230g)
3/4 cup pumpkin puree, packed tightly (183g)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, lightly toasted and chopped (150g)
1/2 cup fresh cranberries (75g)
1/3 cup golden raisins (50g)
4 tbsp of turbinado sugar (my addition, optional)



Directions

Position one of your oven racks in the center. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, spices, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks. With the mixer still on high, beat in about half the sugar until the egg whites are glossy. Transfer them to another bowl.

In the same bowl of the stand mixer, beat the egg yolks and the remaining half of the sugar on high speed until the eggs are pale and frothy and the sugar dissolves. Stir in pumpkin puree and vanilla to blend.

Gently fold in the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture. Also gently, stir in the melted (and cooled) butter, nuts, cranberries and raisins.

Gradually stir in the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the dough comes together into a sticky ball. For into two logs (flour your hands because the dough will be sticky) about 3" x 10". If you wet your fingers a little, you'll be able to smooth out the surface of the dough should you so wish to. Sprinkle each log with about two tablespoons of turbinado sugar, if using.

Bake for about 50 minutes, until the tops are golden brown and feel firm to the touch. Cool on wire racks for at least 30 minutes (this is important - if you don't cool the biscotti, they will crumble like crazy). Place the logs on a cutting board and cut into 1/2 inch slices with a long and sharp serrated knife. Do not use a sawing motion, but make decisive downward strokes.

Line the slices on the baking sheet and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until they are crisp and golden brown throughout. Allow to cool completely before eating (this is kind of hard to do, with the amazing smell and all, but believe me, they do taste better that way).

SOME MOOORRRE FRIGHTFULL HALLOWEEN FACTS!! OOOOOHHHHHH!! THE HORROR!!

Halloween Ornaments, Costumes & Candy: An Infographic of Fun Facts

SINCE ITS ALMOST FALL, HERE'S A DIY ON MAKING SOME MUSICAL THEMES LEAVES!

   This diy comes from www.thevintagedresser.blogspot.com .   When ordinary leaves just won't do.





Musical Leaves Tutorial


When we were in one of our favorite shops in Snohomish a couple of weeks ago, Joyworks, I spotted some leaves they had hanging above their check-out area. They had been cut from music sheets from a song book. For some reason they struck me as a fun project to do, so here we go:

On a trip to town a few days ago, I cruised some streets, looking for trees with pretty leaves. I was in a residential area and felt a LITTLE conspicuous parking in the street, jumping out and ripping leaves off of trees, but sometimes one has to sacrifice dignity in the name of "art"! LOL!







Now, FYI, It would have been easier to use these leaves if I'd come right home and jumped on this project! But no---I waited a couple of days before I got to it, and the leaves were curling and getting kind of crispy! So, I smoothed them out the best I could and used a fine point marker to draw an outline around them. If you're really creative you could just draw your own leaves and leave out the hunt, but I enjoy looking at fall leaves, so it was kind of enjoyable cruising around checking them out.







This one was especially challenging!







This huge one is a Sycamore leaf. That's the kind of tree that has the big green prickly looking balls on it that fall all over the yard in the fall, along with the leaves!







So, I've now got a tracing of all the leaves I collected. I'm not much of a leaf expert, but I do know that I have a Sycamore and an Oak---not that it matters!





Now the fun begins---I cut around each of the tracings so I would have a nice flat pattern for tracing onto the music sheets. Then I did just that--traced around the leaves onto the music.






I used my flash in this picture because for some reason, even tho I have every light in the kitchen on, including the under counter lights, the pictures seemed a little dark.






I like the darker pictures better!






Next I got busy with my scissors and did some more paper cutting. Kind of takes you back to grade school, huh? Aren't they pretty?






But now what?! The ones we saw at the shop were attached to a gnarly tree branch, but, having just moved to a new house with absolutely no landscaping and nothing remotely resembling a tree, I have to come up with some other plan. I'll go on another scavenging trip soon and find a tree branch, but in the meantime--------
I decided they'd look pretty on my kitchen cabinets! Now I just need to do several dozen more!