10.30.2014

Pumpkin Madeleines




More pumpkin! These madeleines are fun to make, it's a really simple recipe and they could be decorated any way you wish. This is yet another Pinterest find. For which I'm grateful, as I learned about emulsions, something I'd never used in baking.

Our pantries have certainly changed over the years. I remember my mother had vanilla flavoring in her pantry and that was about it. (And my aunt had some lemon flavoring...she used it in all her baking recipes.) Over the years, we graduated to extracts and MY pantry now contains about 10 bottles of various extracts.
While reading this recipe, I noticed an emulsion was in the ingredient list. I'd never even heard of 
pumpkin spice bakery emulsion, but investigated and discovered emulsions are the flavor stars of the professional baking world. Where have I been? In the event you didn't know either: emulsions are a water-based alternative to alcohol-based flavor extracts. These flavorings are made to match the strength of an extract, but instead of the flavor being diluted in alcohol, it is suspended in a water base. According to what I read, baked goods made with emulsions retain more of that flavor after baking. Lorann's seems to be a favorite brand and I read someplace how divine the cream cheese emulsion is...I haven't tried that one yet. 

Having said all that, I must be totally honest with you after trying this emulsion....I really didn't like it all that much. For some reason it seemed to be a little "off", flavor-wise. Strange and I think I'm in the minority as everyone else seems to praise emulsions. Maybe the pumpkin one is not one of the better flavors, or perhaps I shouldn't have used it in the frosting.
 If someone has tried the cream cheese emulsion, let me know. And I'm wondering: does the home baker really need to use emulsions?

At any rate, this recipe has both extract and emulsion. I suppose you could replace the emulsion with more extract as they seem to be interchangeable: 1 teaspoon extract = 1 teaspoon emulsion. 

Pumpkin Madeleines
From: Created by Diane


Ingredients:
10 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted and cooled)
2 eggs
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice bakery emulsion (Loranns...see below, got it at Amazon)
½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/8   teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Method:
Preheat oven to 375
Prepare Madeleine Pan with nonstick spray.
Beat eggs and sugar with mixer, add vanilla pumpkin emulsion, pumpkin pie spice and salt.
Mix in flour until blended.
Pour butter in a stream and mix on low until well blended.
Place 2 tablespoons of batter into each madeleine area of the pan.
Bake for 12-14 minutes or until just golden.
Remove pan from oven and turn onto a cooling rack.
Allow Madeleines to cool completely.

Pumpkin Spice Icing

Ingredients:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
2-3 tablespoons water
2 drops orange food coloring
½ teaspoon pumpkin spice baking emulsion (Loranns)

Method:
Mix all ingredients until smooth, add a drop or two more water if you need it thinner.
Drizzle icing over cooled Madeleines.






10.27.2014

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti


Last fall I made some gingerbread biscotti and everyone loved them. So when I saw some recipes for Pumpkin Pie Biscotti recently, I thought it would be fun to try. 
There are several recipes for it online and I read them all; one warned this biscotti did not get crisp in the middle and blamed it on the use of brown sugar. A couple solutions were offered: use part regular sugar instead of all brown and another was simply to bake longer. Because I love that brown sugar taste, I baked them longer in the final stage.
I confess, after baking the loaves (and while slicing for the next baking) I ate the heels of the loaves and Wow! Could barely contain myself from eating more. 

But I persevered and finished the second baking. Because I wanted crisp biscotti, I baked the slices longer than suggested in the original recipe and they got nice and crisp.  Check them for crispness while they're baking; all ovens are different. The time mentioned in the recipe below is how long it took mine to crisp.
Hope you have a chance to try these...I think I might like them better than the gingerbread biscotti.

Pumpkin Pie Biscotti
Adapted from Sweet Peas Kitchen




Ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup melted white chocolate, for drizzling or dipping

Method:
Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add nuts. Cook, stirring constantly, until nuts are browned. Remove from heat and cool completely.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin and vanilla on medium speed until the mixture thickens, about 2 to 3 minutes. Change the whisk to the flat beater and slowly add the flour and then the pecans.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half. Shape each half into a 3x10 inch log. Set the logs lengthwise on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spacing them apart.Bake until the logs are slightly firm to the touch, about 25-30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and decrease the oven temperature to 300°F . Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 15 minutes.
On a cutting board, with a serrated bread knife, cut each log diagonally into slices ½ inch thick. Be careful at this stage not to do too much tasting! LOL.
Place the cookies, cut sides up, in a single layer on the baking sheet. Bake until the biscotti are firm, about 15 minutes on each side, until crisp. Let cool completely.
Once the biscotti is completely cool, drizzle with white chocolate.


Recipe Note: The biscotti tastes best during the first few days, but will keep for up to a month in a sealed air-tight container.



10.24.2014

Lori's Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread Sticks


Have you seen or tried Lori's cranberry pumpkin bread sticks? If not, you're in for a treat. So easy to make, with barely any rising time at all. You can make them from start to finish in under an hour. How often can you say that about a recipe with yeast as an ingredient? And they freeze beautifully.
I didn't have any dried cranberries, so used some dried cherries I had left over. I'm not going to label these bread sticks a "quick bread", but honestly, some quick breads take longer to make than these gems.


Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread Sticks

Adapted from Lori at Recipe Girl


Yield: About 32 bread sticks 
Note: I halved this recipe and got 10. I thought they were the perfect size.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees F)
1 package (.25-ounce) instant dry or active dry yeast
1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon honey
4 cups bread flour (I used regular flour and they turned out beautifully; see * below)
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries (I used dried cherries)
1 stick (1/2 cup) melted salted butter
Kosher salt

Method:
* Re: bread flour vs all purpose: 
Bread flour has more protein content than all-purpose, which helps with gluten development. Some recipes call for it when an especially chewy and elastic crumb is desired.

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water/yeast, pumpkin and honey. Mix to combine. Insert the dough hook and gradually add in 3 cups of the flour (scrape sides, as needed). Add the cranberries. Sprinkle in the remaining 1 cup of flour, and let the dough hook do the kneading for 4 to 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and shiny. Remove the dough from the bowl onto a lightly floured board. (Barbara's note: knead a few minutes by hand, something I always like to do; there's just something about getting your hands in the dough to get a feel for the elasticity, don't you agree?)



Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Break off small pieces of the dough (I used golf ball size; Lori got more bread sticks, so you could use less dough for more bread sticks.) and roll into thin bread stick "logs" - 6 to 8-inches long. Place them on the baking sheet. You should end up with about 32 bread sticks. Cover the baking sheets with a clean dishtowel and place them in a warm place to rise. Let rise for 30 to 60 minutes, until the bread sticks have puffed up a little bit. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. After rising, brush each bread stick with butter and sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool slightly, then serve. Or wrap in foil to store in the freezer- to be served later. Let thaw at room temperature, then bake at 300 degrees F. for 5 minutes to warm up.

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