Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pumpkin Bread for Celebrating Fall

Fall seems to have already left Colorado, and is yet still beginning.  The leaves have turned, but the daytime temperature finally dropped below 75 degrees only a few days ago.  This past weekend we spent a lovely fall day in Longmont with our friends Katie, Grant and Megan, celebrating the season as well as the letter P.  Grant raises honey bees and taught us the wonders of Mead (honey wine) making, flavored with fresh palisade peaches.  We also carved a 95 pound pumpkin by the name of Prudence.   

Peach Mead

Prudence, Prudy for short

As my contribution to the festivities, I made pumpkin cream-cheese muffins for a mead-making snack.  I used ½ of the batter to make the muffins, then added a cup of walnuts, and made one loaf of pumpkin bread.        

Pumpkin Bread (or Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins)

·         1 ½ cups all purpose unbleached flour
·         1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
·         2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or home-made)
·         1 teaspoon baking soda (use 2 teaspoons at sea level)
·         2 teaspoons cinnamon
·         1 teaspoon cloves
·         1 teaspoon nutmeg
·         4 eggs
·         ¾ cup oil
·         1 ½ cups granulated sugar
·         4 ounces of cream cheese (for muffins)
·         1 cup walnuts (2 if making 2 loaves bread)

DIY pumpkin puree

1.      Cut 1 pie pumpkin in half and remove seeds (either discard or save for roasting later)
2.      Cover with foil and roast 1 hour in 375 degree oven.
3.      Scoop into blender or food processor once cool enough to handle, and blend until smooth
4.      Store ~1 week in refrigerator or freeze for use later.  

Pumpkin Bread

1.      Grease 2 bread pans with oil or cooking spray.
a.       For easy removal: cut a piece of parchment paper the same size as the base of your bread pan, place over oil, and then re-coat with oil.
2.      Combine all dry ingredients and sift together with whisk.
3.      Combine pumpkin, oil and eggs.
4.      Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, stir until well combined.
5.      Stir in walnuts (if using)
6.      Split into 2 bread pans, or muffin tins.
7.      Bake 50-65 minutes or until knife comes out clean in 325 degree oven (350 if at sea level).
8.      Allow to cool prior to removing from pan.

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

1.      Fill muffin tins ¾ full with batter.
2.      Scoop 1-2 tablespoons cream cheese into each muffin and press down gently.
3.      Bake 20-25 minutes in a 325 degree oven (350 if at sea level)

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