Black Pepper Biscuits (with bacon and eggs)

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Mmm, biscuits. Definitely not my area of expertise when it comes to baking. Not that I’m an expert in anything baking-related…but if I were, it definitely wouldn’t be biscuits. I think this is the second time I’ve ever made them. Not like cookies, which I’ve made dozens and dozens of when it’s not even Christmas time. For sure not like banana bread, a loaf of which was practically always camped out on the kitchen counter, because somebody (*cough*little sister*cough*) couldn’t keep up with her banana eating. And certainly not like cake, which I make every time someone I know has a birthday. Including myself, to the dismay of my poor grandmother.

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But the thing about biscuits is you can make a meal out of them and feel less bad about it than making a meal out of cookies or banana bread or cake. Which I absolutely encourage on occasion, but sometimes, you just need some protein with your butter and flour. Usually on weekend mornings. These biscuits are the perfect thing to make on a lazy Sunday. They don’t take much time at all – less than half an hour total. You can fry up the bacon and eggs while they’re baking. Then slice them up, add more butter if you’re a total sucker for butter like I am, and enjoy this wonderful grease-fest of a breakfast. And then take a walk. Or a nap. They both work wonders.

 

Black Pepper Biscuits

Adapted a teeny bit from Honey & Jam

Makes 12

 

3 cups all-purpose flour (she recommends White Lily…I used generic brand)

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 (1 stick) cup cold salted butter

1 1/4 cup cold buttermilk

 

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment. You can also bake these in a cast iron skillet if you have one – which is probably much preferred to a baking sheet.

Grate the butter into a small bowl on the large-holed side of a cheese grater. Put it in the freezer. (I can’t believe I’ve never thought to grate butter for scones or pie dough before…it really does work well.)

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Add the butter to the flour mixture and cut it in with a fork. Pour in the buttermilk and stir until a shaggy dough forms. Knead the dough 5-7 times in the bowl, and then turn it out onto a floured surface. Pat the dough down until it’s 1/4 inch thick. Fold it over and pat it down again. Fold the dough over a second time, and then cut into rounds with a biscuit cutter or floured glass, or rectangles with a bench scraper or sharp knife.

Place the biscuits on the baking sheet or in the cast iron skillet. Top with more freshly ground black pepper. Bake 15-18 minutes, or until golden brown.

If you’re not going to use all the biscuits at once, freeze the dough in individual already-cut biscuits before baking. Bake them directly from the freezer, adding a few minutes to the baking time.

 

For each person you’re serving:

2 slices thick cut bacon (I used pepper bacon, because I’m a pepper fiend)

1 egg

 

While the biscuits are in the oven, fry your bacon to desired doneness. Transfer it to a plate lined with paper towels. Drain most of the grease, and then fry your egg in the bacon fat. Seriously. Do it. It’s the weekend.

Cut a biscuit in half and top with bacon, egg, salt and pepper, hot sauce if you want. Maybe some green onion or parsley. Anything goes.


Pumpkin Coffee Cake

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I know, I know. Pumpkin is SO three weeks ago. It’s pretty much over for the year, until the pumpkin pies come out on Thanksgiving. I know I should be swimming in pomegranate seeds and cranberries, and I kind of already am. But I really can’t not share this coffee cake, which I found on Honestly Yum. Because even though you’re probably sick and tired of pumpkin lattes and pumpkin bread and pumpkin chocolate cookies and your jack-o-lanterns shriveled away 10 days ago…who can resist a coffee cake crumble topping?

If you’re looking for a Thanksgiving breakfast recipe, this is it. Don’t worry about having pumpkin pie later in the day, this cake isn’t that pumpkin-y. It’s just got a little hint of it, to remind you that yes, it’s still fall, and no, squash isn’t totally out of season. If you’re looking for a way to appease the anxiety (and jealousy) your coworkers feel because you’re taking the whole week of Thanksgiving off and honestly, there’s a good change things will completely unravel without you, THIS IS IT.

Seriously. The crumble topping…I can’t even…just make it. Your sick-of-pumpkin taste buds won’t even mind the pumpkin.

We start this one off by mixing our dry ingredients. That soda water and mustard in the background? Leftovers from a salami sandwich dinner.

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Cake batter and topping.

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Just look at that color. How can you resist?

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Voila!

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Pumpkin Coffee Cake

From Honestly Yum (though not in adorable miniature like theirs is)

Makes 1 9-inch cake

For the batter:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9-inch cake pan.

In a medium bowl, sfit together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a large bowl or in a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and brown sugar until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add in the pumpkin and sour cream and mix until just combined. Add the flour mixture in thirds on low speed, mixing after each addition until just combined.

For the streusel:

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 pecans. toasted and chopped

Whisk the sugars, salt, and spices into the melted butter until smooth. Mix in the flour and pecans. The mixture will be solid; leave it packed in the bottom of the bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Break the streusel into large chunks with your hand and top the cake with it evenly.

Bake for 50 minutes. Check the cake at about 25 minutes. If the streusel is already browned, cover the cake with foil for the remaining time so the streusel does not burn. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool 15 minutes before serving.


Pumpkin Pecan Scones with Maple Glaze

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This whole time change thing is really cramping my style. I’m a night owl. During school I was most productive between about 9pm and 1am. Only partially because I’m also a procrastinator, but that’s a whole different post. So last week, when I left work at 5:30 and it was still light (ish) outside, I felt like I still had hours to accomplish things. Because if I want to accomplish anything, it’ll be in the later hours of the day. Pre-time change, I’d walk outside after sitting at my computer all day, and between the sun (the weather gods liked us last month) and the chilly air whipping by my face as I rode my bike home, it was basically a second morning. Now, I leave work at 5:30, and it’s already so dark that it might as well be midnight. It tricks me into thinking my power hours are already over and I should immediately huddle under my covers when I get home, even though the day’s not over and is probably just going to get better.

I think since the sun is now rising an hour earlier than it was last week. I might try and convince my body that those early hours should be the productive ones. It won’t be easy. Even working a full-time, 9-to-5 job, I am still incapable of getting up when my alarm tells me to. (I’m basically a teenage boy, I know.) But an extra hour of sunshine before work? That might be all the convincing I need. And if that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll just make a batch of these scones every week. They are definitely worth getting out of bed for. I used Joy the Baker’s recipe, but instead of her brown butter glaze (don’t get me wrong – brown butter is the best thing since sliced bread. I just can’t make it consistently without burning it yet), I used a maple glaze from Ina Garten, because I’m a complete sucker for maple. Also for Ina Garten, but who isn’t?

We’ve got the usual lineup of fall spice suspects here. Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, and ginger. Also brown sugar.

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Then there’s butter.

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We’ll mix it with our hands, quickly so it stays cold, until it looks like this.

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And then there’s buttermilk and pumpkin and vanilla.

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And big blobs of dough.

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And, because obviously this isn’t enough, there’s GLAZE.

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And, if you’re lucky and motivated enough to wake up for it, morning sunshine.

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Pumpkin Pecan Scone with Maple Glaze

Scone recipe here by Joy the Baker and glaze recipe here by Ina Garten

Makes 10-12 scones

3 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup, 6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cubed

1 cup buttermilk, cold

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans, toasted

For the glaze:

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add the cold butter to the dry ingredients and toss to coat it. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, mix the butter into the dry ingredients, working quickly so it remains cold. The butter will range in size from oat flakes to peas.

Whisk together the buttermilk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract in a small bowl.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once. Stir until almost thoroughly combines. Add in the pecans and mix until flour is completely incorporated. Scoop 1/2-cupfuls of dough onto prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches between them.

Bake 18-20 minutes or until browned and tops are slightly dry.

Allow to cool completely before glazing.

To make the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, maple syrup and vanilla in a small bowl. Transfer to a liquid measuring cup and generously drizzle over scones.

These scones are best within 2 days of baking.