As the leaves fall, this autumn is becoming busier and busier for me. Not only is my infinite pile of marking getting larger by the minute, but my Wednesday & Saturday drama classes have begun (I'm taking my specialist in drama right now), leaving me with less and less time for baking and cooking and, by extension, blogging. So, fair warning, the prolific 5-6 posts a week is definitely going down to 2-3.
It's exhausting. We also had our school's curriculum night last week, so I feel like I've barely seen our apartment since returning from the cottage last Monday.
We've been living here for just over 4 years now. It was built back in the 1800's as one of the original landowners mansions in Toronto, served as a convent for a while and was transformed again into a 5 apartment unit back in the '70s. When my husband (then-boyfriend) and I did a scouting trip to Toronto back in '07, we spent the first day of our trip looking at soulless concrete highrises off of Yonge.
I was going to be a student at University of Toronto, while my husband had yet to find employment. And although we had the money saved up for rent, no one in any of those soulless, cramped spaces would rent to us.
It was easily one of the most depressing, spirit-destroying days I have ever spent in this city.
But, like most things in life, what originally seemed like disaster turned into a great blessing (also see: moving to Japan, getting into teacher's college, having my first LTO finish early, getting bumped from my high school to my current school), we were SO lucky that no one in those buildings wanted us.
On day two, we stepped back out into the smoggy world of Toronto, and had an early morning appointment for a place in the Annex. For the first time in more than 24 hours, we were walking down tree-lined streets. I felt as though I could breathe again. And then, we were at a huge house. It was set back off the street on a green grassy lawn, with bright, wide windows. And when we stepped inside, we loved it instantly. It felt like home. Those same windows, viewed from the inside, reminded me of the windows in my grandparents' house in Victoria. We signed for it on the spot. Our landlady liked and trusted us enough to rent to us.
We've been really, really happy here. But, as we've grown busier and older (read: have more stuff), we've outgrown our space. At some point in the nearish future, we'd like to have an addition to our family. So, we've known for a while that we'll have to give up this space.
I've been scouring the MLS site for more than a year now. All I can say is that the Toronto real estate market depresses me. The reality is we cannot afford to buy a place that allows us to have the lifestyle we want to live (pedestrian friendly). More to the point, we're not interested in raising a family here. I desperately want to get back to Ottawa within the next 5 years.
So buying can't be an option right now. And the reality of having to move into a lesser quality apartment was looming in front of us.
Then: magic once again. Our next door neighbours on our floor decided that they would be moving out, meaning their 2 bedroom + solarium + wood burning fireplace 1500 sq ft space was up for grabs.
We grabbed it. I'm excited to say we'll be moving the shortest move in the history of moves (approximately 5 feet from our door to theirs) to a flat that is simply spectacular. I couldn't be happier! I intend to get a Christmas tree this year as we'll suddenly have space for it!
This brings us all the way (via the long, windy route) to today's recipe! It's here I made because we're hoping that tonight will be the last showing of our apartment. I hope to entice some awesome new neighbours into the space, who will love it as much as we have (and as much as the tenant before us, who was here 7 years)! And nothing says love me quite as much as the scent of cinnamon, chocolate and pumpkin, right?
I hope you're all warm and cozy in your home tonight!
Pumpkin Biscotti with White Chocolate and Ginger
(adapted from Chatelaine)
2½ cups all purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup packed brown sugar
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp grated nutmeg
¼ tsp salt
¼ cup minced crystalized ginger
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup white chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 300º. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat mat.
2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, salt and crystallized ginger. In a separate bowl, stir together eggs, pumpkin puree, melted butter and vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until almost combined.
3. Stir in white chocolate chips, until evenly distributed. Divide dough in half. Gently form each half into a log shape, about 15" long and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
4. Remove tray from oven. Reduce temperature to 275º. Let logs of dough sit for 5 minutes. Carefully remove one log from the pan, and, using a serrated knife, slice diagonally into ½" slices. Place, with cut side down back on baking sheet. Repeat with the second log of dough.
5. Return biscotti to oven to bake for an additional 35 minutes, or until dried and crispy. Let cool on rack.
You could glaze these with the spice glaze from the pumpkin scones, if desired.