Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Grandma's pumpkin bread

Grandma's Pumpkin Bread

Going to lunch at Grandma's was often a mixed bag. She served foods way outside my comfort zone — I recall a lot of gravy and canned green beans — but there was a chance she'd make pumpkin bread. Moist and sweet, it was the best thing on earth. It's long been a star at my family's Thanksgiving dinner, and it's my go-to baked gift for the holidays. It's also one of the recipes I'm asked to share the most.

I've given up on tinkering with this basic recipe. Attempts to swap in white whole wheat flour or applesauce have just made a mess of a good thing. Sometimes I scale back the staggering amount of sugar, but only by a mere half cup. I don't fully understand why there's both baking soda and baking powder, but I've never dared experiment to find out if that's truly necessary. I don't question this recipe, I just bake it. A lot.

It is what it is, and it's delicious.

This makes two beautiful loaves. The bread freezes well, so you can bake ahead of Thanksgiving or gift-giving season. I usually slice one as soon as it cools, because it's irresistible, and stash the second loaf in the freezer before we inhale both loaves.

Last week I recruited my sons to help bake pumpkin bread to share. It's so simple, they're ready to begin committing this recipe to memory.

Thanks, Grandma.

Grandma's Pumpkin Bread

Grandma's Pumpkin Bread

You can substitute fresh pumpkin purée for canned — I stick with canned because of fairly consistent moisture content and reliable flavor. You also could stir in chopped nuts or chocolate chips, but be careful with added chocolate, as this is already very sweet.

3 cups sugar
1 cup canola oil
3 eggs
2 cups pumpkin purée
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend oil and sugar in a large bowl, then whip in eggs. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and spices. Stir pumpkin into the creamed mix, then stir in the dry ingredients. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans and bake one hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a loaf comes out clean.


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