Spiced pumpkin bread

This bread is fragrantly spiced with just the right amount of sweetness. Try it toasted with a little butter and a sprinkle of salt.

The Garden of Eating
Spiced pumpkin bread is delicious toasted with butter and sprinkling of sea salt.

This bread is such a treat – fragrantly spiced with just the right amount of sweetness. I like to toast it and eat it with a little butter and a sprinkle of salt.

I baked it because I had a bunch of pumpkin puree left over from the sugar pumpkins I'd roasted to make my prize-winning pie. Those two cups of pumpkin puree turned into two steaming loaves of pumpkin bread with beautifully cracked tops. Yum!

Our older son, who has been more or less refusing all offers of food lately (sigh) has always liked pumpkin bread and has been scarfing it down like there's no tomorrow! Although it's not my first choice for one of his primary sources of nutrition, I was beginning to worry that he was actually losing weight (and he's got nothing to spare) so I just bought another pie pumpkin to make a couple more loaves.

You can certainly substitute canned pumpkin if you're in a rush, but if you have time, use a real sugar pumpkin – they're super cheap, the flavor is way better and it's suprisingly easy. Just cut the pumpkin in half, scoop the seeds out, place the halves, cut-side down on a baking sheet and roast at 350 for about an hour or until you can easily pierce the skin with a fork. Remove, let them cool until you can handle them without getting burned, then scoop the flesh out with a spoon. That's it! Just make sure you buy a pie or sugar pumpkin, not one you'd carve for Halloween as that variety would not taste good.

This is simple recipe that I've adapted slightly adapted from the "Joy of Cooking" – adding vanilla and a few other spices. I was also out of brown sugar so I used some of the big bag of organic, fair trade coconut sugar my mom gave me recently instead. I was happy to find that the bread tastes great and is a teeny bit better for you since coconut sugar has a relatively low glycemic index for a sweetener and boasts a little bit of nutritional value. Don't get too excited, though, it's still sugar. But I do love that you can do a straight up substitution for cane sugar – no math = good!

I've been loving this bread just as it is, but if you want to dress it up a bit, fold in a cup of chopped nuts, chocolate chips or diced crystallized ginger after you add the flour in step 3 below.

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Makes two loaves
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) organic butter, melted and cooled
2-1/2 cups firmly packed coconut or brown sugar
4 eggs (use pasture-raised if you can find them near you)
2 cups cooked, pureed pumpkin or winter squash

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans and set aside.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt in a medium bowl.

3. In a large bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until well-blended. Beat in the eggs and pumpkin puree until smooth. Stir in the flour mixture until mixed. Scrape the batter into the greased loaf pans.

4. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pans for about 10 minutes then remove from the pans and cool completely.

Related post on The Garden of Eating: Maple Pecan Scones

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