Friday, December 31, 2010

Tasty Gifts: Pumpkin Bread

Every year at Christmas it seems there are more people to give to than I have money to spend on them. Between friends and family and extended family... the list goes on and on. And especially when someone is kind enough to give something to me, I cannot help feeling like I should give something in return.

Baked goods are a wonderful, relatively cheap and easy way to show you care. As long as you stick to a simple recipe - and something with a high yield helps too - you can give something tasty and comforting to many different people, without breaking the bank or your arms. And people say that it's the thought that counts anyway... that time is often a better gift than things... well, giving baked goods offers the opportunity to give plenty of both. :)

Following this principal, I decided that I'd bake a loaf of pumpkin bread for each person I wanted to give a little something to but couldn't afford to buy for this year. This seemed a relatively easy idea at first... until my list kept growing as I thought of more people, and I wound up committed to over 12 loaves of bread. Luckily this recipe makes 2 loaves per batch, haha!

This recipe is one that I tried earlier this fall, and one I fell in love with immediately. A moist yet dense bread, this sweet and spicy loaf lends itself well to a light slathering of butter and a warm cup of coffee. It makes for a lovely addition to breakfast - one of the last things many people have time think about this time of year - so it's easy to grab a slice and a cup of coffee and go! It's also sweet enough to act as dessert after dinner, if one so desires. Plus, who can resist pumpkin during the holidays?

I chose to stick with a basic recipe, since I was baking so many loaves of this scrumptious bread. You could easily add walnuts or something similar if you wish!

Pumpkin Bread
(taken from my BH&G Cookbook)

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup water
1 15-oz can pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease the bottom and sides of 2 loaf pans. In an extra large mixing bowl (trust me, I mean extra large), beat sugar and oil with an electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and beat well; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Alternately add flour mixture and water to the sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each additional just until combined. Beat in pumpkin. Ladle batter into prepared pans.
3. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and cool completely on wire racks. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

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