Sunday, October 26, 2008

Week 5: Pumpkin Bread

Well, fall has arrived, well barely in Los Angeles, it is going to be 90 degrees today! But I grew up in the mid-west and loved fall, the change in seasons, falling leaves, hot food, and stews. I also LOVE pumpkin! I can’t wait for this time of year to try all kinds of great pumpkin recipes. I have experimented with all kinds of varieties of pumpkin and each is so different and great. Below is my current list of pumpkin cookbooks I recommend and try a few new things each year. The first two cookbooks have a good amount of photos, I love photos in cookbooks! I want to see what my food should look like when it is done!

  • The Pumpkin Cookbook, Hamlyn

  • Pumpkin, Joanna Farrow

  • Pumpkin, A Super Food for All 12 Months of the Year, DeeDee Stovel

I do have a funny story about a pumpkin and raisin cheesecake that I made one year for Thanksgiving. My boyfriend and I were spending Thanksgiving at his grandparent’s house one year and I decided I was going to make this really interesting pumpkin cheesecake and I was going to buy "pumpkin in a can", but decided to cook a fresh pumpkin from scratch. I am not sure what pumpkin I chose, but the pumpkin flesh was soooo bright orange that my cheesecake was nuclear orange, not your traditional brown looking pumpkin pie. The taste was great, but the looks I got from the family were interesting and people were too scared to try it. More for me! So I am back to canned pumpkin, easy, hastle free, and the taste is fine. Here is a recipe I developed since there are hundreds of variations of pumpkin quick bread. I wanted to share this recipe since it is truly the best quick bread I have ever had.

Pumpkin Bread:

Sift together:

  • 2 cups white flour

  • 1 1/3 cup almond meal (Trader Joe’s has an affordable house brand)

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt

  • 3 teaspoons cinnamon (I go heavy on this)

  • 3 teaspoons nutmeg (I also go heavy on this spice too)

  • ½ teaspoon ginger

Mix together:

  • 1 cup vegetable oil (Try some other oils for extra flavor like Walnut oil)

  • 4 eggs slightly beaten

  • 2/3 cup water

  • 2 cups canned pumpkin

Special items needed: Almond Meal and Walnut Oil if wanted

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 2: Sift together all the dry ingredients. If you do not have almond meal, you can use all white flour or whole wheat. I found that the almond meal really adds extra flavor and moisture to this bread.

Step 3: Mix together the wet ingredients. I bought some Walnut oil to try a little nuttier flavor to the bread. Canola oil, veggie oil, whatever you have should work fine. You are putting in a cup of this stuff, so this is not a "low cal recipe", but it tastes good.

Step 4: Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until mixed. Pour into 3 average sized greased and floured loaf pans or what I like to do for the holidays is to buy some of the small disposable metal pans to give as gifts. Fill about 3/4 full so there is some room to let the bread rise some. If you grease them with oil first and shake around some flour in the pan to over the oil, it is easier to get the bread out later.

Step 5: Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until the toothpick comes out clean. Cool for about 5 minutes and then turn out on a rack to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze since this will make 3 loaves. Calories per slice is about 123 calories with just flour and 134 calories with the almond meal, each loaf yields 12 slices.

This is the best quick bread I have ever made and I love quick bread!! You can use muffin tins if you wish. I found this is a great gift for the holidays and you can make them up ahead of time. Have fun, Happy Halloween, and enjoy!

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