There’s nothing like the bittersweet smell of fall signaling cold winter nights ahead. The scent of the crisp air is tinged with burning fires and falling leaves. When baking, this fragrant bread with its notes of ginger, cloves, and allspice, will fill your house with the smell of autumn.
Because it’s even better eaten the next day, this pumpkin bread, like most quick breads, is excellent for gift giving. I like to bake it in mini-loaf Italian paper molds, available from the Kitchen Supply Co. (distributed by Amazon), so I can give it to several people at once—teachers, colleagues, neighbors. Double the recipe and you’ll yield ten mini loaves.
This bread will travel well with you if you’re heading out this Thanksgiving. For the host with the most, package a few mini loaves in a wood box with some tasty tidbits such as candied ginger, pistachios, spiced almonds, and chocolate packaged in cellophane bags.
If you’re staying home, a thick slice of this moist loaf is the perfect mid-afternoon snack. You can also dress it up by plating a slice with a dollop of ginger whipped cream (stir in 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger to whipped cream) for an easy yet elegant dessert.
Hence Pumpkin Bread is number four in the Sweet Home holiday arsenal: it’s more authentic than a scented candle; keeps well, and is simply scrumptious.
Pumpkin Snack Bread
From the Sweet Home Cookbook, Kyle Books 2012
Makes one 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-3/4-inch loaf or five 4 x 2 x 2-inch mini loaves
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup corn oil
1/3 cup orange juice
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving one extra inch of paper extending beyond the two long sides of the pan. Grease the pan and paper with baking spray. If using paper pans, skip the parchment but still grease with baking spray.
2. Stir together the flour, sugars, baking soda, salt, and spices in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
3. In another bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, corn oil, orange juice, and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring with a wooden spoon until well combined. Do not overmix.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes (35 to 40 minutes for mini loaves) or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
5. Let the bread cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then gently lift the loaf out and place on a rack to cool completely for 1 hour. If baking in paper pans, do not remove from the pans until eaten. The bread is even better the next day so if you can resist, wrap with foil and leave at room temperature overnight.