Welcome Home, October

Let’s get cozy, chill, and nibble fresh-baked biscotti

It’s time to turn inward. For this Invite, we are creating a sanctuary of sorts, a cozy place to land and linger. At our Kirkland home, fall comfort begins with earthy hues and a borrowed antique table from the wine cellar that we hauled to the kitchen. It’s a place to start the day, enjoying freshly baked chocolate biscotti and a cup of steaming espresso. A place to lounge in the evening with a nightcap and a pumpkin spice version of the twice-baked cookies. Bowls of baking pumpkins dot the counter; rain boots are parked by the door. October has officially arrived.

Set the Scene

Usher in fall with a few easy touches, like a mix of metals and florals. Set out a pewter pitcher with an airy arrangement and a glass tub spilling over with a fresh berry bouquet. Create a natural golden glow with beeswax candles in (my Grandma Nettie’s) leafy gold candle holders. Opt for unique potted plants, like Morocco Begonia in a rustic clay jar, and make the most of the last rambling garden pumpkin vines before the frost. Drape chairs with cozy wool throws and plush velvet pillows. In the kitchen, layer cool serving boards and vintage landscape oil paintings.

Bake Biscotti

Biscotti literally means “twice-baked,” and it’s hard to beat homemade biscotti — warm from the oven — on a crisp fall day.

My Grandma Nettie made biscotti — so good. I love continuing the family tradition.

We’re baking two kinds of biscotti — one for dipping in your morning coffee, and one for dipping in Vin Santo at night.

Serve the cookies in interesting containers, like this carved wooden box. And who doesn’t love cookies and milk? Check out this vintage milk jar.

Chocolate Espresso Biscotti with Vanilla Bean Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Cocoa powder, high-quality milk chocolate chips, espresso Italian roast ground coffee, topped with a sprinkling of vanilla bean sea salt. This biscotti number, dipped in espresso, will rev up your fall morning. Speaking of coffee: Break out the Bialetti Moka! The iconic Italian pot is a fall morning ritual. I love to wake up to the sputtering and gurgling, with wafts of coffee aroma and a swirl of steam filling the air.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vanilla bean-infused granulated sugar
  • 1 cup golden brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons Irish butter, cut into small pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground espresso
  • ½ cup milk chocolate chips, roughly chopped
  • Vanilla bean-infused sea salt

Method

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugars, molasses, vanilla extract, and butter. Mix until almost creamy.

Add the eggs to the bowl, one at a time. Mix until incorporated.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, and ground espresso.

Add mixture to the bowl of wet ingredients, and mix until combined.

Fold in the chopped milk chocolate.

The dough will be sticky. Liberally dust the counter or a board with flour. Flour your hands well.

Divide the dough into thirds, incorporating additional flour, as needed. Knead the dough for a minute.

Form each piece into a log, flatten, and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until almost firm to the touch.

Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes.

Turn the oven down to 300-degrees.

Using a serrated knife, slice at an angle to form biscotti.

Lay flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, turning the cookies once at the halfway point.

Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

For the love of pumpkin spice with a hint of orange and Brandy, this is a great way to end a fall evening. Let me sweeten the deal even more, with a dip into a glass of amber-hued Vin Santo. This is one time when double-dipping is not only OK; it’s encouraged!

Ingredients

  • ½ cup whole almonds
  • ½ cup canned organic pumpkin
  • 4 eggs
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon brandy
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pumpkin spice (2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground clove, ½ teaspoon nutmeg)
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten

Method

Toast the almonds for a few minutes in a 350-degree oven. Cool completely, and give them a rough chop.

Roast the pumpkin in an ovenproof pan for 10 minutes or so, until it dries out a bit. Cool completely.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar, brandy, and vanilla bean seeds.

Add the roasted pumpkin and orange zest to the bowl, and mix until combined.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, pumpkin spice mixture, and salt.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat until combined. Fold in the toasted chopped almonds. The dough will be sticky.

Liberally dust the counter or board with flour. Flour your hands.

Divide the dough into thirds, incorporating additional flour, as needed. Knead the dough for a few minutes.

Form each piece into a log, and flatten a bit. Space apart the logs on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Brush tops of logs with beaten egg yolk.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove from the oven, and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Turn down the oven temperature to 300-degrees.

Using a serrated knife, slice the logs at an angle, to form biscotti. Lay flat on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes, until deep golden brown, turning the cookies once, after 5 minutes. Cool and store in an airtight container.

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