Monday, October 04, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Somehow in between 4 nights of work this week and painful attempts to sleep during the now gloriously cool and clear fall days (yes, they've arrived), I found time enough to mix up a couple loaves of pumpkin bread and an out-of-control yummy dish of shrimp and grits, not be be eaten together, mind you (though I suppose there's nothing wrong with that). First, I'll share the bread...

   Pumpkin just plain gets the shaft most of the year. The canned form isn't even stocked in Kroger until late September. What a shame. But, truth be told, I don't know many people who really do much with it 'til cooler weather comes around anyway. Once it does, though, pumpkin takes front and center. I think I've heard 20 people in the last 2 days talk about how much they're loving their Pumpkin Spice Lattes (myself included). This is pumpkin's time to shine, so I must give it the attention it's due. Pumpkin bread. Classic. And so good. This is a recipe I found online a year or so ago and have altered a bit. I think it's great. I plan to amend it a bit the next go-around to see what happens changing the proportions of sugar and oil and eggs. But, as it is, this is a fabulous bread. I took it to work and it was ravaged by some pumpkin-loving nurses in no time. Slap a little cream cheese on top, and you're set. Enjoy. And happy fall!

yields 2 loaves
adapted from an old Recipezaar recipe

2 cups canned pumpkin (about 1-1/2 small cans)
1-1/2 cups white sugar plus 2-3T to sprinkle on top
1-1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup sour cream (low-fat is fine)
4 eggs, room temperature
3-1/3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves 
(or ~3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves here)
3 cups chocolate chips or toasted (toasting enhances their flavor), chopped nuts, optional*

* to toast the nuts just stick them in your preheated oven on a baking sheet for about 3-5 minutes, shaking them around a bit half way through. just keep an eye on them so they don't burn. then chop them up after.

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
3. In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, sugars, water, oil, sour cream, and eggs. Beat (i just use a whisk) until well mixed. 
4. In a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients (including the chocolate/nuts. coating them with the dry mix keeps them from sinking to the bottom of the loaf.) and stir until combined.
5. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mix, beating until smooth.
6. Evenly divide the batter into the two pans (about 3/4 full).
7. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of sugar on top of loaves, then drop a few nuts/chocolate chips on top, for looks.
8. Bake for 60-70 minutes (65 minutes in my slightly hotter-than-average oven) or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 
9. Cool for 15 minutes, then invert the loaves onto a rack and slice it up! Serve with cream cheese (mmmmm). 

coming soon...
[Shrimp and Cheesy Grits]


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