As the days grows shorter, and the nights grow colder, there’s just something about fall weather that calls us back to the flavors that speak “comfort” to our souls. Year after year, my daughter begs me to make this quick, easy fall treat: spiced pumpkin bread. When those sweet and spicy aromas begin drifting out of your oven, you’ll understand why she begs. And when you see how easy this is to whip together, it will be crystal clear why it’s so easy for me to say “yes” to her request.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread is basically a quick bread, along the lines of banana bread, so, there’s no yeast. It gets its lift from the baking soda and baking powder. Just mix up the wet ingredients, then add the dry ingredients in two additions, but don’t over-mix once you’ve added them, for a moist, tender quick bread. I toast my walnuts lightly in a sauté pan on top of the stove before I add them to the bread, as toasting them brings out their oils and heightens their flavor. Also, if at all possible, buy whole nutmeg, and grate it fresh yourself. Freshly ground nutmeg is gloriously flavorful. The already ground stuff? More reminiscent of cigarette ash.
One thing I really love about this recipe is that it makes two loaves: we enjoy one after it’s baked, while the aromas are still wafting through the house. But we freeze the other one for the busy Thanksgiving holidays that are approaching, when we usually have company coming, and want a little something special for breakfast. I especially enjoy it the morning after it was baked: I stick a slice in the toaster, spread it with butter, and enjoy it with a warm cup of coffee or tea.
It’s also the kind of recipe that is easy enough that you could turn this baking project over to any aspiring bakers you might have presently residing at your house….even if that aspiring baker is YOU!
Tis’ the season of the pumpkin
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Try it now, don’t be a lumpkin
Fa la la la la, la la la la
You’ll be smelling fall aromas
Fa la la, fa la la, la la la
Wafting through the halls of home-a
Fa la la la la, yum yum yum yum
To help yourself find this recipe again when you’re ready to bake it, please pin it on Pinterest. Better yet, share it with your friends on Facebook or tweet it on Twitter.
Spiced Pumpkin Bread
3 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 15 oz. can solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
3 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. ground cloves
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1 c. coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Toast chopped walnuts in sauté pan on top of stove over medium heat, watching them carefully, and stirring them occasionally. It takes me about 5 minutes to begin smelling the aroma, which lets me know they’re done. When they are just beginning to toast, dumping them out quickly onto a saucer will slow the browning process down dramatically. (You don’t want to burn them, which can happen in a heart beat: that’s why you watch them carefully.)
Preheat oven to 350º.
Prepare loaf pans by either using a baking cooking spray, or by wiping them down with shortening (or butter), and then coating them with flour ( about a tablespoon full of flour, shaken around the pan until all sides are coated). This will help the loaves slide out of the pan, and onto your cooling rack.
Beat sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. In another bowl, sift together the flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder. Stir into pumpkin mixture in two additions. Fold in toasted walnuts.
Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes, depending on your oven, and they type of loaf pan you used. (Glass loaf pans tend to take longer than metal loaf pans, for example.) Using a sharp knife, loosen bread from the sides of the loaf pans. Turn loaves out onto cooling racks, and cool completely.
Note: Makes two loaves. If you like, you can freeze one loaf for later.