Pumpkin Bread

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!

Ingredients

Topping

  • 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

Bread

  • 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

Preparation

Topping

Using finger, mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.

Bread

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.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Pumpkin Bread

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Pumpkin Bread (Squash Harvest Loaf)

I just love this season, I love the smell of pumpkin and spices baking in the oven.  My mother has a wonderful pumpkin bread recipe that I have been making for years now, and it is fabulous.  I added some chocolate chips the last time I made it for an extra special treat…  This year I was actually going to skip pumpkin bread, because I have so many other goodies on my list – but something happened that made me rethink that choice.

The other week my good friend (and neighbor) were coming home from our morning boot camp class (which we try to attend two mornings a week), and she said she had a surprise for me.  It was 7am in the morning, so I was a little confused.  She opened the back seat of her car and took out this book.  It was still dark, so I couldn’t really see what it was, but she said it was her favorite cookbook from this bakery downtown.  When she mentioned it was the Macrina Bakery, the smile that was already on my face just exploded.  It was so nice of her to buy the Macrina Bakery & Cafe Cookbook – and little did she know, but that happens to be my favorite bakery in Seattle.  I was so smelly and sweaty, but gave her a big hug, and couldn’t wait to tear it open and start reading about all the treats inside.  She made my entire month.  She also mentioned that the Squash Harvest Loaf was her favorite recipe, so I had to give it a try.  It is fabulous – so moist and flavorful – and wonderfully sweet.  The perfect sweet bread for this season.  I only had pumpkin in the house, so that’s what I used – but really you can use any type of squash puree, and I am sure it would be amazing.  Thanks so much for the fantastic cook book – I am so lucky to have you as my neighbor and good friend!!

Ingredients

  •  2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk

Preparation

Pre-heat the oven to 325 F.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oil and two types of sugar and use the paddle attachment to mix on medium speed, for 4 mns.

Add the pumpkin puree and continue to mix for 2 mns.

Then, add one egg at a time.

Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the flour and the buttermilk alternatively, until the liquid is absorb each time.

Transfer the preparation in 2 oiled loaf pans measuring 9 x 5 x 3″, 2/3 to the top.

Cook in the oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out dry once inserted in the loaf. Remove and let cool for 20 mns before unmolding on a cooling rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pumpkin Bread (Squash Harvest Loaf)

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Pumpkin Tea Loaf

I love this time of year – because now I have an excuse to make pumpkin bread.  Ok, not pumpkin bread, but pumpkin tea loaf – it sounds much fancier that way, doesn’t it?  This is a wonderful bread that fills your entire home with pumpkin spice goodness.  Who doesn’t want that?

There are two really great reasons to make this recipe besides how good it tastes:  1) It makes two loaves 2) It freezes extremely well.  So, go home, and make yourself some pumpkin tea loaves – eat one this weekend, and freeze the other one for Thanksgiving.  Now I just helped you prepare for the big day!  You’re welcome.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 15 oz. pumpkin (unflavored)
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the oil, sugar, and eggs together until smooth.  Add the pumpkin, and mix well.  In a medium bowl, add all the dry ingredients together and stir with a whisk.  Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture.

Grease and flour two 9x5x2 inch loaf pans.  Divide the batter between the two loaf pans.  Bake for 55-65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Pumpkin Tea Loaf

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin Bread 1

One of my daughter’s friends has a special place in my heart – aside from being a fantastic kid, he thinks I am a good cook.  He first said this when he was 5 years old, which I think is a huge compliment given how picky kids are at that age.  Besides the quesadillas I make though, he was talking about the desserts  we always have in the house when he comes over for dinner.  He is what I call a purest.  He likes chocolate, and likes milk, but doesn’t like chocolate milk.  He likes peanuts and likes butter, but doesn’t like peanut butter.  So, needless to say, I was always a little worried that he wouldn’t like the desserts I would make, because I am always trying new stuff.  One night he burst into tears because he didn’t like what I made – good thing that didn’t happen often.   So, last year when I first made this Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread – I was definitely worried that he wouldn’t like the combo.  He even looked skeptical when I handed it to him after dinner – but he took a bite, and got a big smile on his face.  He even asked for seconds – and his mom, who hates to cook – asked for the recipe!

This is super easy to make – you don’t even need a mixer – it is all done by hand.  This recipe really came from the Pumpkin Walnut Bread in The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet.  I just switched walnuts for chocolate chips, and I think it was a very good choice – everyone loves chocolate chips.  The bread is very mild in flavor, which works perfectly with the chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and line it with a piece of parchment paper that extends 1″ beyond the edge of both sides of the pan (this is to easily remove the loaf from the pan). 

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended.  In a small bowl whisk the eggs and the water together.  Add the sugar and whisk until combined.  Then add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla and whisk until blended.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk until combined.  Gently mix in the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the pan and cook for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean all the way through.  Cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then remove the bread and place directly on a rack to continue to cool.  Stores very well wrapped in plastic for a couple of days.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, click here: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Pumpkin Bread 2

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