I can’t believe that Thanksgiving is just a little more than a week away. Where did fall go? I wish it would stick around a little while longer. In fact, I am usually the first person to take the decorations down after a holiday – but would you believe that the Halloween decorations are still up in my house? I am not sure what is going on. Maybe I am just in denial – wishing it would last.
The other week my older daughter reminded me that I hadn’t made any Pumpkin Bread yet – and what would fall be without Pumpkin Bread? So I was trying to decide if I just go to my mother’s recipe (which is amazing by the way), the recipe I tried last year from the Macrina Bakery (which was also amazing), or if I could possibly find this recipe in Cook’s Illustrated to be better. Sometimes they really know what they are talking about, and other times, it is a complete failure. Well, I figured I had to test it and see.
My older daughter is getting more and more comfortable in the kitchen – in fact, she is really such a pleasure to cook with. She is up for doing anything – and lately, she has insisted that I just give her projects and let her try on her own. This one I decided would be a joint effort – so I gave her the struesel topping to make first, while I started on the bread. Unfortunately I should have given her a little more instruction, so the topping was too soft when I put it on top – so it basically melted into the bread. It was a great addition to this recipe though, it was actually my favorite part. The bread was pretty good, but not as good as my mother’s recipe. I thought it needed more oil, although it did stay moist for days. The only real issue I had with this bread was that the cream cheese never really completely mixed it, and you can see little spots on the bread – although this didn’t impact the flavor at all.
So – give it a try, and let me know what you think – or if your cream cheese blended nicely. Maybe it was just me? And now – with this part of fall officially completed – I am off to finally take down the Halloween decorations…onto Thanksgiving!
- 5 tablespoons packed (2 1/4 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 15 ounce can unsweetened pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
- 1 cup packed (7 ounces) light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 4 ounces cream cheese, cut into 12 pieces
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
Using finger, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in a bowl.
Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1 1/2 cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove pot from the heat; stir in pranulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.
Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK). Scrap batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes. Let breads cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 1 1/2 hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.
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