Monday, October 11, 2010

Time for the season's first batch of pumpkin bread!

The poll on my blog has officially closed. The tied-for-first winners as your 'favorite thing about Fall' is 'pulling out your cold-weather wardrobe' and 'the smells and flavors of the season'. Seeing that it's currently 70 degrees here in big D, my cold-weather wardrobe will have to hang out in storage a little longer. But the warmth won't stop me from baking some pumpkin spice bread to coax the cool weather into coming back - and sticking around this time!

I borrowed the recipe from my own personal foodie crush, Alton Brown. I cannot go wrong following his lead in the kitchen. I followed the recipe almost exactly, but I nearly doubled my Vanilla, bumped up the Cinnamon, and sprinkled in some Allspice. Also, the recipe calls for 3 cups of fresh pumpkin, but I used a can which is about 3-1/2 cups (not to mention easier and faster than carving and baking a fresh pumpkin). My last modification was to decrease the sugar from 1-1/2 to 1 cup.

NOTE: Allspice is native to Central America and southern Mexico and is NOT a combination of multiple other spices. It's a berry, harvested unripe, sun-dried and then ground into the powder form usually used in cooking and baking applications.

Pumpkin Spice Bread 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the following dry ingredients:

2 c All-Purpose Flour
2 t Cinnamon (I think I used about 1 T)
1 t Baking Powder
1/4 t Baking Soda
1/2 t Salt

Mix the following ingredients in a separate bowl, then pour and mix into the above dry ingredients:

1 c Sugar (the called-for 1-1/2 cups sounded like a lot to me, so I used only 1 cup; I tasted the batter after everything was mixed together and it was sweet enough for my taste and didn't overwhelm the pumpkin and spice flavors)
3/4 c Vegetable Oil
3 Eggs, whisked
2 t Vanilla (again, I doubled this - Alton only called for 1 t)

Prepared batter, before adding the pumpkin.

 Once all the above ingredients are combined, fold in ...

3 c Pumpkin (You can get canned Pumpkin or canned Pumpkin Pie Mix; get the plain Pumpkin)

Love having this in my kitchen again. =)

Loaf and bundt pans ready for the oven.

Pour batter into prepared (read: sprayed with non-stick spray such as Pam or buttered and floured) loaf pan, muffin tin, bundt pan, etc. (The recipe made enough batter for me to fill a regular loaf and almost-fill a bundt pan - I think the bundt might make a nice snack for the co-workers tomorrow!) Bake for about 1 hour, 15 minutes or until (say it with me!) a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the bread cool in the pan for a few minutes then turn out to a cooling rack.

Bundt loaf ...

... and traditional loaf, cooling on the kitchen table.

I enjoy pumpkin bread shmeared with a little cream cheese, but it's also good toasted with a little butter, or a drizzle of honey, or plain or eaten with a cup of tea. However you like it, just enjoy lots of it and experiment with your recipe, too. I thought about trying my recipe out with some chopped pecans, dried cranberries or raisins.

Feel free to share your favorite recipe or ideas for yummy add-ins to a basic pumpkin bread recipe. Thanks for reading!

PS - Speaking of pumpkins, isn't this Pumpkin Dutch Oven fantastic? Too bad it's $150 and wouldn't be used for more than a few months a year (unless you are a die hard pumpkin fan).

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