Hail The Great Pumpkin (Bread)

As Linus on Peanuts would say, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.” Now I don’t believe a magic pumpkin appears in the most sincere pumpkin patch, but the pumpkin is one of the great tastes of the season.

You’ve probably had pumpkin pie. But how about pumpkin bread? If you haven’t tried this quick bread, it’s well worth investigating — and worth baking. It’s great for dessert or breakfast. It’s vegetarian. It’s comfort food. It’s a holiday treat. Kids love it. What more does it need.

And best of all, it’s very easy to make. Our recipe is listed on our Recipes page and is our own version based on one by food blogger Jenna Weber of the Fresh Tastes blog.

One note I need to point out. In this recipe, I have replaced two cups of sugar with a brown sugar-sucralose blend (usually found in the baking aisle under the Splenda brand name). The makes the end product a little richer in taste and a little less in calories. You make it even lower in fat by using unsweetened applesauce instead of vegetable oil. But you don’t want to replace all the sugar. In baking, sugar is usually considered a liquid and greatly affects the liquid volume in the recipe. Also, using all artificial sweetener results in a sticky, unappealing texture.

At the store: Another advantage of this recipe is that most of the ingredients probably are already in your pantry. But be sure to review the list to make sure. A can of pumpkin puree obviously is an important ingredient, along with all the usual baking supplies like flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. You’ll also need some spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ground cloves and ground ginger. Sweet dessert breads like this always benefit from some nuts. Chopped walnuts are ideal. You’ll also need a couple of large loaf pans. If you don’t already have them, pick up some of those foil ones.

Equipment: In addition to your loaf pans, the usual baking materials will be needed: measuring cups and spoons, two large bowls, a whisk and a spoon or spatula. You’ll also need some cooking or baking spray.

Directions: One always begins by laying out your ingredients.

  • 4 cups of flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cups brown sugar substitute
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon each of allspice, ground cloves and ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Next, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. As with all good baking procedures, begin by mixing together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl before adding or make those the first wet ingredient. Then add the wet to the dry and blend until smooth, making sure you pick up the ingredients from the bottom of the bowl.

Divide evenly the batter into two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans and bake for 60 to 90 minutes depending on your oven. They should come out a rich brown color. Use a toothpick to make sure they are cooked all the way through (it should come out clean). Let them sit in the pan for about five minutes, then turn the loaves out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Serving ideas: Of course, this quick bread is delicious all by itself. But adding a little butter on your slice will only make it better. You can heat in the microwave for about 20 to 30 seconds, or pop it into the toaster — just be very gentle with it. Pumpkin bread goes great with ice cream, too.

It’s pumpkin season, so why not make this delicious treat. Your friends and co-workers will love it.

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