Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits

I thought I knew about biscuits.

Yeah, me.  The girl who has never baked a biscuit in her life until now.  I thought I knew.

From what I've always heard, biscuits don't care that you have an agenda for the day.  They don't care that you want to go grocery shopping, do the laundry, make a batch of your favorite chili, take your kid to the park and otherwise keep her alive, and serve a delicious dinner featuring them as the stars.

They don't appreciate that you plan to squeeze in their creation whenever you have a free minute.  They aren't really concerned that your kid's naps are unpredictable, and at any given time you'll only have a 35-minute window in which to make them.  They certainly won't forgive you for not reading the recipe ahead of time or considering the kneading and flouring and rolling required.

They aren't very flexible if you don't keep the ingredients cold or if you over-mix the dough.  They hold oven grudges by not rising or flaking if you knead them one too many times.  They stick to your work surface like little jerks if you don't sufficiently flour your baking tools.

All things considered, I've always thought they needed a real attitude adjustment.

I'd always planned to stay away from the likes of their nonsense until this weekend when I came across a Cooking Light recipe for spiced pumpkin biscuits.  Despite my apprehension, I thought these would go perfectly with a batch of fall chili I planned to make this week.  And being true to myself, I didn't give them the biscuit care and attention they deserved.

When I finally got the baby down for a nap, I raced downstairs to pull these together.  I'm sure I over-mixed.  I'm sure I kneaded too many times, and I'm positive I didn't keep the butter and wet ingredients as cold as required for flaky, puffy biscuits.  I'm sure that's why these looked like hockey pucks when I pulled them out of the oven.  I'm sure I'll probably make the same mistakes next time.

But guess what?  They were delicious and, dare I say, a little bit airy?  The canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice created a subtle pumpkin flavor, and the honey added the perfect amount of delicate sweetness.  These biscuits are low in sugar, low in fat, and low-maintenance enough to be created on the fly.

Well, butter my butt and call me a...

Spiced Pumpkin Biscuits
Adapted from Cooking Light
Makes 15 biscuits
9 oz (about 2 c) white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp salt
5 tbs cold butter, unsalted, and cut into small cubes
1/3 c fat-free buttermilk
2 tbs honey
3/4 c canned pumpkin
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper or a Silpat mat.
Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt in a large bowl.  Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.  Alternatively, you could use a food processor fitted with a steel blade to cut in the butter.  Pulse a few times until the mixture resembles coarse meal.  Chill the mixture for 10 minutes.

Combine the buttermilk and honey in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until well blended.  Add in the pumpkin, and stir with the whisk to combine.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture, and stir JUST until the mixture is moist and shaggy.  Do not over-mix!

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly 4 times.  Roll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle, and dust top of dough with flour.  Fold dough crosswise into thirds (as if folding a piece of paper to fit into an envelope).  Reroll dough into a (1/2-inch-thick) 9 x 5–inch rectangle, and dust the top of the dough with flour.  Fold dough crosswise into thirds; gently roll or pat to a 3/4-inch thickness.
Cut dough with a 1 3/4-inch biscuit cutter to form 15 dough rounds.  Place dough rounds, 1 inch apart, on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 14 minutes or until golden.  Remove from pan, and cool 2 minutes on wire racks.  Serve warm.


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