Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Happy October!  Also, Happy 50th Posting from The Lunchbox Tree!  I'm taking a few days off of my "day job" to go visit family in Texas, which I'm incredibly excited about.  But I made a quick batch of pumpkin bread for my coworkers before my departure.
    In the fall, you'll find me making at least one batch - ok, probably more like a half a dozen batches - of pumpkin breads, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin bread puddings, etc.  I love the smell of these quick breads as they bake in my oven.  I love eating them warm with a tiny smear of butter or cream cheese, or totally unadorned.  With a cup of hot coffee or tea, this makes the perfect mid-day snack for crisp autumn days. Not to mention, this recipe makes 2 loaves, so I can share one and keep one all to myself.

    I hope you all have a wonderful October!  Here's to the chilly nights and comforting foods that the season brings!

    Pumpkin Spice Bread
    Makes 2 loaves
    Click here for a printable recipe

    3 c. all-purpose flour
    1 T. pumpkin pie spice
    1 t. baking soda
    1/2 t. baking powder
    1/2 t. salt
    3 c. sugar
    1 c. vegetable oil
    3 eggs
    1 15 oz. can pure pumpkin (Note: Not pumpkin pie filling)
    1 1/4 c. chopped walnuts or pecans, divided (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat two loaf pans in oil, and line each with a piece of parchment paper so that the parchment covers the two longer sides and the bottom of each pan.  Or if you do not have parchment paper on hand, butter and flour each loaf pan thoroughly.

    Sift the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking power, and salt together in a large bowl.  In a second large bowl, whisk together the sugar and vegetable oil.  The mixture will be very thick.  Whisk in the eggs and pumpkin, and stir until smooth.

    Stir the flour mixture into the wet ingredients in 2-3 batches, each time stirring until the mixture is just combined.  With the last batch, fold in one cup of the walnuts or pecans (if using).  Divide the batter between your two prepared loaf pans, and sprinkle the remaining walnuts or pecans over the top of the loaf.

    Place the pans on the middle oven rack, and bake until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaves comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.  If you used parchment paper, you should be able to use the edges of the parchment to lift the loaves out of the pans; otherwise, run a knife around the outside of the loaves and turn them out.  Let cool, resting on a cooling rack and covered with a tea towel, about one hour.  Store loaves in plastic storage bags.

    Note:  These loaves freeze really well.  To freeze, wrap in two layers of plastic wrap, then in a layer of aluminum foil.  Store in the freezer for up to a month. 

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