Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pumpkin Bread




I have a problem. It's a horrible addiction to baked goods and chocolate. There are some days on the drive to daycare and work, all I can think of is eating pumpkin bread, or a croissant, or whatever strikes my fancy that day.

Since the weather has offically turned cold, I have been looking for more reasons to bake. One fine day, not too long ago, I set up my mixer and started tossing things together, hoping to get a good home-made replacement for Starbuck's pumpkin bread.

A few tries later, (including one semi-disaster involving a molasses) I'm happy to share my discovery. The coloring is good, spices aren't too overpowering, texture is good. I made a batch as muffins a few days ago for a bake sale at daycare. Eric helped mix the dry ingredients and put liners in the muffin tins. I like having an assistant.

This recipe will make 36 standard size muffins or two cake loaves.

Ingredients
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 eggs
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup golden brown sugar
1 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
Optional: dry roasted pumpkin seeds.

Method

1. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices. Mix well.



2. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs, sugars, and vanilla together until the color is nice and lemony-yellow and the texture is slightly frothy.



3. Beat in pumpkin puree and oil.



4. Add dry ingredients to the wet ones and blend. Don't over beat it or the texture will be grainy and tough.



5. For Muffins: Line muffin tins, or spray generously with nonstick spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 17-22 minutes. My muffins took 19 minutes to reach a nice even, golden color and pass the toothpick test. Carefully remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.



6. For Loaves: Line two 5" x 9" loaf pans with parchment paper, or spray generously with nonstick spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-55 minutes. Mine took exactly 50 minutes to pass the toothpick test. Cool about 5-10 minutes in the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to complete cooling.

7. If desired, sprinkle pumpkin seeds on top of the batter before baking to really make it look like Starbucks. I would use a few tablespoons of chopped seeds per loaf. Alternatively, you could mix the seeds into the batter for a more uniform flavor.

I think next time, I will try substituting some applesauce for a portion of the oil to lighten up the fat and calorie content. I'm positive this recipe is horrible for health-conscious eaters. Sugary, fattening baked goods are usually not recommended.