So I got a little ahead of myself.
I told you about the first annual Matt Izzo Marathon before telling you about the OTHER race the majority of us Izzo’s ran a couple of weeks ago – the Army 10-Miler!
And in comparison to Matt’s race, this one was prettyyyyy big. As in the largest 10-miler in the country, clocking in at more than 30,000 runners. But I’d like to think that Team Izzo/”Paul’s Peeps” stood out from the crowd.
It was a beautiful day – 60 degrees, sunny, slight breeze…absolutely perfect running weather. And the morning sun showcased DC’s gorgeous landscape – dotted with monuments, memorials and beautiful historic buildings. It was simply breathtaking – even more so while running 10 miles. :) So needless to say, we all had a really great run throughout the nation’s capital. (We also had a really great time shouting “Hoo-yah!” – my completely incorrect version of the official Army lingo that I shouted all through the Army 10 Miler last year until Matt finally corrected me once the race was over.)
My final time was 1: 27, at 8:45 minute-mile pace. But my “born to run” husband , well – he ran the entire race in 1:06, which is a 6:40 pace! Show-off.
The race weekend was even more special because it coincided with many October birthdays, including Mr. Izzo’s which was the following day. In order to celebrate the birthdays as well as the race, I made one of his (and my) favorite things – biscotti.
Along with being one of my favorite things to eat, biscotti is one of my favorite things to make. I started making it when I first got my Kitchen Aid mixer at age 16…Yes, 16. When everyone else was asking for a car, I was asking for a Kitchen Aid mixer. I also was still convinced I was going to marry Justin Timberlake, that thick white eyeliner looked super pretty and that thick white eyeliner coupled with roll-on glitter was just so “kewl.” And that saying “kewl” was well, cool.
(I don’t even want to tell you the fight I just had with auto-correct over kewl. So glad I’m a grown-up and don’t have to deal with these spelling issues anymore.)
So okay – back to biscotti. Strangely enough, for all the Sicilian-American blood running though my veins and through our household growing up, we never made biscotti. Sure, our kitchen table, dining room table, chairs, dressers, side tables and pretty much anything with a flat surface was covered in thousands of Italian cookies every holiday season – but my beloved biscotti was never one of them. Well, until I turned 16 and got my sweet ol’ Kitchen Aid mixer. Ah, she really is a beaut.
Since then, I have baked biscotti every Christmas. They were my first “dish” I was really known for in my family, and actually have trumped anything else I ever produced. I’ve tried various cookie recipes over the years, but when I bring anything else other than biscotti to a holiday party, the disappointment is more obvious than Mama’s broken hearing aid.
Not that I’m complaining. Coming from a line of women who are equally as famous for the food they make as for the complete Italian ridiculousness they ensue upon the world (see: Mama’s broken hearing aid above) – I’m just happy I’m living up to the family standards. :)
I’ve made many versions of biscotti, but when I came across this recipe for pumpkin pie biscotti from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen, I knew it was a culinary match made in…well, my Kitchen Aid mixer!
Pumpkin Pie Biscotti
adapted from Sweet Pea’s Kitchen
- 3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 and 1/2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 and 1/4 cups of chopped pecans (toasted if preferred)
- 1 cup (or more!) Hershey’s Pumpkin Spice Kisses, chopped
- 1/4 cup melted white chocolate (for drizzling, dipping, schmearing, etc.)
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly coat with cooking spray.
2) In a large bowl, mix flour, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.
3) In another large bowl or stand mixer, beat together eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin and vanilla until mixture is thick and creamy – about two minutes.
4) Slowly add flour mixture into egg mixture, beating after each addition until combined. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in chopped pecans and Hersey kisses.
5) Pour dough onto pan and divide in two. Using your hands, shape dough into logs, about 10 inches long and one inch thick. Make sure logs are a few inches apart, as they may spread a bit while baking.
6) Bake for 35 minutes or until bottom of both logs are golden-brown. Take out of oven and reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Remove logs from baking sheet (this may be tricky…I usually use two spatulas for each log, to reduce the risk of breakage. Cool for five minutes, then lightly brush/spray tops of logs with water. (This helps ease cutting the slices – less crumbs!) Cool for another five minutes.
7) Using a serrated knife, cut logs into 3/4 inch thick slices. Arrange the slices back onto the baking sheet, cut side down. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn each slice over and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove and place on cooling rack.
8) Melt white chocolate and dunk, drizzle, dip or spread on biscotti. And then in my case, eat eight in a row with a mug of warm apple cider.
I run so I can eat…eight biscotti in a row with a two mugfulls of warm apple cider. Must be an Italian-runner thing.