When it comes to healthier eating, baking is always the part where I struggle the most. I love to bake, and I’m sort of known for it. I can’t tell you how many times baking has been the thing that has derailed my efforts to eat and live healthier.
I’d like to say that I’ve completely conquered that problem, and I am here to share the perfect solution. I haven’t, and I’m not. But, over the last year or so, I have made a lot of changes to the way I eat and the way I bake. I think they are changes for the better.
When I try to cut baking out entirely, it always backfires. I do well for a while. Then I end up baking a batch of cupcakes or brownies, and I eat entirely too many of them. So, for me, cutting back on baking (but not cutting it out) has been key.
I’ve cut back considerably on what I will call “traditional” baking (cakes, cookies, brownies, etc. made with refined sugars and flours). I’ve reserved the cupcakes frosted with buttercream, rich chocolate brownies, and chewy cookies for special occasions – birthdays, holidays, you get the idea. You may notice that you’ve seen far fewer of them around here lately.
During the week, I still do bake, though I bake much less frequently than I used to. And, I’ve cleaned up my act quite a bit. I try to use 100% whole grains, mixing in some gluten-free and even grain-free flours. I have learned to bake with natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, and coconut palm sugar. And, I use them in moderation. I cut vegetable oils years ago, and I’ve stuck to it. I still believe in baking with butter, but you’ll also see me use olive oil and coconut oil when I’m baking.
Want an example? A few years ago, I would have baked loaves upon loaves of pumpkin bread without a second through. But, let’s be honest… Calling it pumpkin bread is a bit misleading. Pumpkin bread is basically loaf-shaped cake.
This year, I’m focusing on using pumpkin in different ways… I’m excited to make some savory pumpkin soup, enjoy roasted pumpkin on my salads, and even incorporate it into frittatas, risotto, and pasta. And, when I do bake, I am swapping the usual sugar-laden options for something a bit better.
My new pumpkin “treat” is a quick batch of these simple pumpkin biscuits. They’re made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and sweetened with just a bit of coconut palm sugar. They’re great with a hearty salad or a bowl of soup. The kiddo loved them with a bit of butter and a drizzle of honey.
I’m gearing up for October Unprocessed… Are you joining in? I’ll be sharing more about that soon, but check it out for yourself in the meantime. The good news? These biscuits pass the unprocessed “kitchen test.” Hooray!
Unprocessed Pumpkin Spice Biscuits
Makes 12 biscuits
These biscuits are a great way to enjoy the flavors of fall without overdoing it on the sugar. The 100% whole wheat pastry flour yields a nice fluffy biscuit while still remaining “unprocessed.”
A note about baking powder and baking soda – I have chosen to allow baking powder and baking soda for my October Unprocessed. For more info, check out this great article from Eating Rules.
- 2 cups 100% whole wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
(preferably homemade – see tutorial here)
- ½ cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the whole wheat pastry flour, coconut palm sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, baking soda, and sea salt. Add the cold butter and quickly use your fingertips to work the butter into the flour mixture until it is the consistency of wet sand with a few pea-sized pieces of butter mixed in.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the pumpkin puree and whole milk. Pour the wet mixture into the crumb mixture and stir just enough to incorporate. Don’t overmix. A soft dough should form.
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat it out into a rectangle approximately 9 by 12-inches. Use a pizza cutter or a knife to cut the dough into 12 biscuits. Place each biscuit on the baking sheet.
Bake the biscuits for 12 – 14 minutes.