Ahhhhhh, fall! It’s that time of year when our taste buds start shifting again. The air is getting a little cooler and crisper, we can start to see a change in color in the leaves and fall harvesting is beginning. We are so fortunate that we live in such a beautiful area of the country. Often, we are in such a hurry to get from point A to point B that we don’t really soak in all the beauty that surrounds us. Go for that Sunday drive in the country and visit your local farm stand or even better, hit up a local “pick your own.” Is there anything better than eating fresh fruits and veggies that you plucked from a tree or the earth? I think not!
I am a solo baker this month. Caroline and I had conflicting schedules. Caroline is the youngest of my three daughters and she just recently moved out of the house. I am now officially an “empty nester.” Having my daughters out on their own has hit me kind of hard, but I am fortunate enough to have them live close by. I think they too are glad that they are close because there is the washer/dryer and all the baking/cooking needs they need and borrow, which is quite often. I’m grateful that two out of three have found a passion for cooking/baking. It is only an issue when I go to use a kitchen tool or gadget and it’s not there! Rolling pin, measuring cups, ingredients, pans, pots, bakeware, all tends to get borrowed and not returned. While I was about to make this pumpkin bread, I realized I didn’t quite have the tools I needed to make it. But, we learn to improvise and make do with what we have. The pan I used wasn’t quite the right size and it made the cooking times a bit longer. Luckily for me and my taste testers, the bread still turned out great and after a few text exchanges, I’m back in business with the proper tools of the trade!
You have many options
This pumpkin bread can be modified to your liking. I made it with a crumb topping, which of course you can eliminate. You can add chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, raisins, nuts, add a glaze or just leave it plain and simple. No matter how you make it, your kitchen will smell like fall! Skip buying the pumpkin scented candle and make this bread!
• 2 cups all-purpose flour, leveled
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup brown sugar
• 2 large eggs (room temperature)
• 1 15-oz can Libby’s 100% pure pumpkin (no, I didn’t use it just because of the name!)
• 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
• 1/4 cup sugar
• 1 ¼ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease and flour two 8”x 4” loaf pans. You can also use cooking spray that has flour in it such as Pam.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until well combined; set aside.
In a large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and white and brown sugars on medium speed until just blended. Add the room temperature eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy, beat for a couple of minutes (2-3).
Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. You don’t want to over mix the batter. At this point, you can stir in any additions you’d like (chocolate chips, nuts, raisins, etc.).
Turn the batter into the prepared pans, dividing evenly, divide the crumb topping in half and add to the top of each loaf. Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and let them cool completely.
You can freeze the additional loaf if it’s not gobbled up immediately. Wrap it in aluminum foil, a freezer bag or freezer wrap. It should last in the freezer if wrapped properly for about three months.
Olivia and Caroline are enthusiastic foodies and bakers who are constantly in the kitchen, as well as explorers who create their own adventures in our area – and did we mention they are mother and daughter? Follow Olivia on Instagram to see her many creations at @oliviawvalentine.