Recipe Swap: Pumpkin Biscuits

I can be kind of bossy.  Just ask my husband.

So when Mother Nature didn’t really cooperate with my request for fall weather, I decided to take matters into my own hands.

I wore my skinny jeans and riding boots anyway.

I made my favorite acorn squash recipe.

I bought some gi-normous honey crisp apples.

Screw you Mother Nature, I’m making it fall anyway.

So when this round of the WC Recipe Swap gave me A Seasoned Greeting, I went straight for her pumpkin tag.

But, much to my dismay, there was only one pumpkin recipe!  Girl, we need to fix that!  What’s wrong with you?! (just kidding girl, luv ya.  But we need to work on this!)

Luckily, it looked like a killer pumpkin recipe.  I just kept coming back to it, unable to let it go for another recipe.  So I bought my first can of pumpkin for the season.  It was a beautiful moment, really.

So even though my weekend was nothing short of chaos, I made time for these beauties.  But as if it was meant to be, they came together in an instant – no mixer or food processor needed, took all of about 5 minutes to throw together and drop on the pan.  I had to wait for the oven to finish preheating!

So.  No excuses.  Find a reason to make these.

Recipe note – I did want them to be a little sweeter (yes, it’s a savory biscuit, but it needed to be a *little* sweeter), so next time I’ll double the honey in these.  The recipe below reflects this change.

Don’t forget to check out the links below to see the recipes that everyone else picked for the recipe swap!

One year ago: Tailgate favorites!! Game-Day Chili and Soft Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese Dip
Two years ago: Cranberry-Almond Granola Bars and Pasta with No-cook Tomato Sauce

Pumpkin Biscuits
adapted from Country Living, as seen on A Seasoned Greeting 

2 cups of AP flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1 stick of unsalted butter, cold and diced
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400.  Line baking sheet with silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Add butter and toss to combine.  Add pumpkin and honey and mix to combine.  Add milk and stir until dough forms.  Drop biscuits onto prepared baking sheet, bake 20-25 minutes.



Brown Butter Irish Soda Bread


This isn’t exactly the most traditional Irish soda bread.  The real classic stuff has currants in it, is a little sweeter, and still oh-so-delicious.

But when I saw this soda bread recipe, I knew I had to try it.  And since the March theme for What’s Baking is “baking for St. Patrick’s Day,” I knew I had a good excuse to make it.  🙂


Soda bread has a very different texture that traditional yeasted bread – it’s a little denser, a little chewier.  Goes fabulously with soups, stews, roasts, chili – good hearty food that you’re likely to find in Ireland.  Smeared with a little salted butter and I could almost close my eyes and pretend like I was back in the green country itself.

For the rest of the What’s Baking roundup, check out Blissfully Delicious at the end of the month!  and just wait for April – yours truly is going to make things particuarly challenging for everyone!!

One year ago: ice cream cone cake pops
Two years ago: my basic burger recipe and classic oven fries

Brown Butter Soda Bread
courtesy of Epicurious, as seen on The Curvy Carrot

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1 3/4 buttermilk
1 egg white, beaten

Peaheat oven to 375, place rack in middle of oven.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.

Melt butt erin a small sauce pan over medium heat, ans swirl it around until it turns golden brown (2-3 minutes after melted).  Remove from heat.

Combine flour, oats, sugar, rosemary, baking powder, baking soda, salt and black pepper in a large bowl, mix well with a whisk.  Pour in buttermilk and browned butter and stir until moistened.  Don’t over mix.

Turn the dough out on a floured surface and knead gently until mixed together.  Divide dough in half, shape each into a ball and flatten slightly.  Brush tops with egg white and sprinkle addition black pepper and fresh rosemary on top.  Using a sharp knife, cut a deep X into the top of each round.

Bake until deep golden brown, about 45 minutes (or until tester comes out clean).  Cook on racks another 30 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temp.



Classic Corn Bread

How do you eat your chili?  It seems like one of the best ways to tell where in the country someone is from is to ask “how do you eat your chili?”  Over spaghetti like the Cinci folks?  With tortilla chips or over tamales like southwesterners?  With beer bread like midwesterners?  With cornbread like southerners?  Over rice like some other random people?  It seems like the ways to eat chili are ENDLESS.

My family must have been our own little melting pot, because we ate chili in tons of different ways, I think depending on the mood my mom was in.  We’ve been known to eat chili smothered over tamales (a concept completely foreign to my husband until last winter).  We frequently ate chili over some spaghetti and topped with cheese, ala chili mac.  And with the discovery of our family’s newly favorite beer bread, now we frequently serve beer bread with our chili.

But when I recently decided that I was grabbing fall by the horns, my chili craving came with a craving for cornbread.  Now I never grew up eating cornbread.  At all.  But I’ve come to appreciate cornbread, especially with chili.  When we go camping, we straight up bake cornbread ON TOP of the chili in the dutch oven.  It’s crazy good.  But I had no idea how to make cornbread that wasn’t baked on top of chili.  So I went on the hunt for a good cornbread recipe.

I landed in my ever-faithful Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook.  If I ever can’t find a recipe for something, the BH&G cookbook always has it.  And I trust it.  And this cornbread didn’t disappoint.  Although I tend to like my cornbread a *little* sweeter than this recipe resulted.   Next time I think I’ll increase the sugar.  I’ve reflected those changes below.

So however you eat your chili, give this cornbread a whirl.  Those southerners might be on to something. 🙂

Classic Corn Bread
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook: Celebrating the Promise

1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp butter
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  IN a medium bowl, stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

Add the 1 tbsp of butter to a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 9-inch square or round baking dish.  Place in oven about 3 minutes or until butter melts.  Remove skillet/pan from oven, swirl to coat bottom and sides of pan.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine eggs, milk, and oil.  Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened.  Pour into hot skillet/pan.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  Cut into wedges.  Serve warm.


Pumpkin Spice Chai Bread


Any Starbucks lover anxiously awaits the return of the Pumpkin Spice.  Now, I’m not a coffee fan, but I do love me a good chai latte.  Nothing warms up my body from head to toe like a nice spicy chai.  So when the pumpkin spice was in full swing last year, I went in to order my regular chai and the barista asked if I’d like to add any pumps of pumpkin spice to my chai.  Sure, why not, I like pumpkin, everyone seems to think this pumpkin spice thing is a big deal.  I wish now that I knew her name so I could think her personally for introducing me to one of my new favorite things about fall.  One sip later I was in LOVE.  If you’re a chai fan, you MUST add two pumps of pumpkin spice to your next chai.  It makes the chai all extra spicy and downright delicious. 

So when this pumpkin spice season rolled around, I was one of the first in line for my new beloved drink.  And late that same day, another idea came to me: I had recently perfected this chai bread…What if I go all Frankenstein on my pumpkin bread recipe (a recipe my family’s had forever, original source unknown) and my chai bread recipe… combining two of my new favorite fall flavors.  This recipe was born!  I’ve been anxiously awaiting the weather arrival of fall (and pumpkin in the grocery stores) to try it out.  And it’s every bit as yummy as I wanted it to be!  Just like my favorite latte, it’s like an extra-spicy pumpkin bread. 

This recipe uses chai concentrate just like the chai bread recipe.  I had several questions about the chai concentrate last time.  You can get it at most grocery stores, in the aisle with the tea bags, comes in a carton like chicken stock.  Tazo and Oregon Chai are the most common brands.

Hope you like it!

Pumpkin Spice Chai Bread (makes 2 loaves)
A PLFF original recipe

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp cloves
2 tsp nutmeg
2 2/3 cups sugar
4 eggs
2/3 cup shortening
15oz can of pumpkin puree
2/3 cup chai concentrate
1 tsp vanilla

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices in a medium bowl.

In the large bowl of your stand mixer, combine sugar, eggs and shortening.  Beat on medium speed until mixture is light and fluffy. Add in pumpkin and beat until combined.  

In a small bowl, combine chai concentrate and vanilla.

Add 1/3 of flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Add 1/3 of chai mixture, beating until just combined.  Repeat with remaining flour mixture and chai mixture.  

Pour into two greased loaf pans (9×5) and bake at 350 for 50-55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool for 20 minutes in pans before removing to wire racks to cool completely.  


Chai Tea Bread


I’ve has visions of a bread like this for some time now.  Any time anyone talks about spice bread or spice cookies, my head goes to chai.  I love me some chai.  Like, seriously love me some chai.  Something about all those spices all coming together in a warm, creamy goodness… makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.  My favorite little tea shop – Wystone’s Tea – used to be on my way to work.  And at least once a week, I’d stop in and get their Tahitian Vanilla Chai.  OMG, it was so tasty – in the wintertime I’d get it hot, in the summertime I’d get it frozen.  So good.  The biggest downfall about my new job is that I don’t get Wystone’s anymore – it’s across town and super inconvenient.  But anytime I’m up that way, I have to stop and get one of their chai teas. 

So when this recipe started dancing around in my head, I wanted to re-create that super spicy flavorful chai that I love so much from Wystone’s, yet also still get that super creamy vanilla-y goodness as well.  After several tries and practice runs of this recipe, I think I finally got it right.  And now it’s the perfect dessert or breakfast splurge – almost like a chai cinnamon roll!

Chai Tea Bread
a PLFF original recipe

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp chai concentrate (like Tazo brand)
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray loaf pan with cooking spray.  

In an large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).  Beat in eggs, 1/2 cup chai concentrate, milk, 3 tsp vanilla, and spices at low speed, scraping down sides if necessary.  

Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt, gradually add to chai mixture, stir until just moistened. 

Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.  

In a small bowl, whisk together powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp vanilla, and 1 1/2 tbsp chai concentrate, stirring until combined and spread-able.  Drizzle glaze over cooled bread.  Cool completely (1-2 hours) before slicing.  


I defeat the mutant zucchini! (and make zucchini bread!)

So the vegetable garden has officially been planted.  More pics and details to come about that.  But as I planted the teeny tiny little zucchini plants, I could barely fathom how monstrous the plants and resulting zucchini ended up last summer.  Last year was my rookie gardening year and let me tell you, the zucchini got the best of me.  I didn’t know what I was doing, and therefore planted four, yes FOUR zucchini plants.  Before I knew it I had zucchini that had a diameter bigger than a softball and over a foot long.  They were mutant zucchini.  See?
So as I planted my little zucchini plants this year, I remembered that I still have some frozen shredded zucchini in the freezer from the end of last summer that I had better use up before the next crop of mutant zucchini arrived at the PLFF house.  Needless to say I perfected my zucchini bread recipe throughout the past year.  I have one main beef with most zucchini bread recipes.  They all have nuts.  Go ahead, google it.  I’ll wait.

See?  All have nuts.  Which is fine, if you like nuts.  The PLFF house doesn’t really care for most nuts, especially in our baked goods.  Sounds simple enough though, just make it without nuts, right?  WRONG.  I did this the first batch of zucchini bread I made and it turned out to be super short, flat loaves of bread.  No substance at all.  So after several tweaks and adjustments (and lots more zucchini!), I’ve conquered the nut-less zucchini bread.  And for my KD girls, the end result reminds me a lot of Stan’s zucchini bread, if I do say so myself!  Stan would be proud. 🙂Nut-less Zucchini Bread
a PLFF original recipe

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp cinnamon
3 eggs
2 1/4 cup white sugar
3 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

3 cups grated zucchini

Grease two loaf pans.  Preheat oven to 325.  Sift flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  

In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, vanilla, applesauce and sugar together until creamy  Add dry ingredients and beat well.  Add shredded zucchini and mix well.  

Pour evenly into prepared pans.  Bake aprox 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool 20 minutes in the pans, then remove from pans and cool completely.  



Friendship Bread, Round 2!


After waiting ten long, agonizing days, it was FINALLY time to bake my bread.  So I got up early this morning to make sure I had plenty of time to finish the starter, divide it up, and bake my bread.  So I finish the starter, divide it up into the Tupperware containers I had bought just for this occasion.  I turn back to the leftover batter and read the rest of the recipe.  DOH!  I had just used the last of my sugar to finish the starter!  I guess I could stop on my way home from work, but who wants to make bread at 10pm?!  And I had been waiting 10 long days for my bread I sure as heck didn’t want to wait til tomorrow!  So I threw on my shoes and yoga pants and went to the store.  It’s a good thing Safeway is just down the street!  So after a quick detour my bread was in the oven with plenty of time to spare – time to bake and cool before I needed to leave for work.  Whew!

And even though there are dozens of add-ins and variations on the basic Friendship Bread recipe, I decided to go with the basic, traditional recipe.   If I get another starter from someone, then maybe I’ll throw in some mix-ins.  So without further adieu:

Amish Friendship Bread
original recipe source unknown

1 cup starter
2/3 cup oil
3 eggs
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 ¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda

Combine ingredients in a large bowl.  Using a fork, beat by hand until well blended. 

Grease two pans with butter, coat with sugar instead of flour. Pour in batter.

Bake at 325 for 45 minutes to one hour.  Cool 10 minutes before removing from pan.

I could barely let it cool before getting it out of the pan and cutting myself a slice (ok 2) for breakfast.  It’s everything I remember it being – Sweet and delicious!  Enjoy!

(I lied, I just ate a third piece)

Bread + cheese + beer? Heck yeah!


There are all kinds of beer bread recipes out there.  Most are really good, some are not good at all.  But honestly, I’m a firm believer that about 80% of what decides if your beer bread is good or not depends on the beer that you use.  My brother-in-law, the brewer, would be very proud of me for this statement (♥ you Stu!).  But it’s true!  Leave the Bud Light in the fridge for this one.  I mean, there’s nothing wrong with Bud Light.  If it’s all you have, by all means use it.  Don’t run out and buy beer that you’d never drink just for your beer bread.  But don’t use a cheap, tasteless beer for your beer bread.  Yes, the beer serves mostly function in these recipes, but don’t neglect the FLAVOR that the beer can add to your bread.  Think about it – you don’t use cheap, icky wine when you cook risotto or coq au vin, do you?!  Why would you do the same to your beer bread?!

My favorite beers to use in my beer bread (I don’t know if it’s the best, but my favorite) are amber beers.  Like a good ole Fat Tire.  Mmmm…. Just the right flavor for the bread.  I’m sure Stu will tell me that there’s something better to use, but until that time comes, I’m sticking with the Fat Tire.  Not to mention we usually have it in the fridge.  

Except for this past Sunday.  Seriously?!  I’m making chili, making beer bread, and we don’t have Fat Tire?!  I really don’t want to run to the store, so I take inventory of the beer fridge: Bud Select, some random stuff leftover from the last party we had, and like 8 cans of Keystone Light.  Wait, what?!  What on earth is Keystone Light doing in my fridge?!  Apparently when some friends were in town skiing a few weekends ago, one of the guys bought it, only drank some of it, and left us with the rest of the nasty stuff.  I hope you’re happy, Ben.

But in the randomness from the last party, I find a Sam Adams Oktoberfest.  Good beer, I’ll give it a whirl.  And it turned out ok.  Not as good as the Fat Tire, but ok.  A little too tangy.  But it didn’t keep us from eating it!

Herb and Cheese Beer Bread
recipe source unknown, received from a family friend

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp white sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp marjoram (I only included this b/c it’s in my spice rack.  If you don’t have it, just add most basil and oregano)
½ tsp salt
12 oz beer of choice (FAT TIRE!) J
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 375.  Grease bottom of loaf pan.  Combine dry ingredients.  Add beer and cheese.  Stir until just combined, pour into loaf pan.  Bake 35-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 10 minutes before serving. 

Autumn Harvest bread


So it’t not autumn or harvest, so why am I making bread that’s clearly inspired by fall?  Easy – I have 3 pounds of craisins to use.  What can I say, they were a good deal at Costco!  I just don’t think I conceptualized just how many craisins that was when I bought the bag.  Half is safely in the freezer, but I wanted to find some new recipes to help get rid of hte rest.  Apple a Day comes through again!  The Autumn Harvest Bread was sweet and yummy and would be even more divine in the fall season.  Can’t wait to make it again next fall! I doubled the recipe for 2 loaves, because I like to make one for us and give one away!  Enjoy!

Autumn Harvest Bread
Original recipe from Recipe Zaar, introduced to me by Apple a Day. Altered a little based on what I had on hand.  Makes 2 loaves

3 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1.5 cups of white sugar
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
15oz can pumpkin puree
4 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 small apples, peeled, cored and diced (I used one fuji, one golden delicious)
1/2 cup craisins
1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350. Spray 2 loaf pans with baking spray.

Combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, bakin soda and salt.  Combine sugars, pumpkin, eggs, oil, applesauce in a large bowl, mix until just blended.  Gradually add flour mixture, stir until just moistened.  Fold in apples, craisins and raisins. 

Spoon into pans, bake aprox 60 minutes or until tester comes out clean.  Cool for 20 minutes before removing from pans.  Cool completely.