Monday, January 4, 2010

Recent pumpkin bread baking experiments...

During the winter - particularly around the holidays - I am all about pumpkin.  I've never been a huge fan of pumpkin pie but I love pumpkin breads and muffins of all shapes and sizes.  My only problem with most pumpkin bread recipes is that they don't often taste as intensely pumpkin-y as I want.  Often I can smell the pumpkin, but the bread just doesn't carry the flavor of the pumpkin and accompanying spices as well as I want.  Recently I have tried out two pumpkin bread recipes, both of which were very moist and wonderfully pumpkin-y.  And then I made up my own!  The first, is a straight-up Spiced Pumpkin Bread from The Foster's Market Cookbook.  For those of you who didn't go to Chapel Hill, you have probably never heard of Foster's but it was one of my favorite hangouts in college.  They had a delicious brunch/breakfast and wonderful salads.  The other pumpkin bread recipe is Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake from Bon Appetit - because sometimes you just have to have chocolate.  Then I decided to try making up a pumpkin bread recipe of my own.  I saw a recipe for Pumpkin Five Spice Sweet Rolls on Coconut and Lime and thought that I had to try out some sort of pumpkin bread with five spice.  I'm half-Asian, why didn't I think of that?  I have to admit that the idea of using five spice in baking had never occurred to me.  I love it in savory applications, but why not bake with it too?  The results?  Totally delicious.  It might actually be my favorite of the three.

Recipes after the jump!

Spiced Pumpkin Bread
The Foster's Market Cookbook
By Sarah Foster

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
15oz can pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and lightly flour two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans.  Sift together dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg) in a large bowl.  Whisk together the sugar, eggs, and oil in a separate bowl until well-blended.  Stir in pumpkin puree, water, and vanilla extract.  Mix well.  Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and stir until all ingredients are just combined.  Don't overmix.  Pour batter evenly into pans and bake about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each loaf comes out clean.  The tops of the cakes should begin to crack slightly.

Let cakes rest 10-15 minutes before removing from pans.

Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Loaf Cake
November 2000

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I don't have this, so I mixed cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and ground ginger)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup whole milk
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) in a medium mixing bowl.  Using a stand mixer or electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together.  While beating, add eggs 1 egg at a time.  Then add pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, alternating flour mixture with  milk.  Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Transfer to prepared baking pan.  Bake cake until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Cool in pan 15 minutes.  Turn cake out onto rack and cool completely before serving.

Pumpkin Five Spice Bread with Candied Ginger and Pepitas

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp five spice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup toasted pepitas (hulled raw pumpkin seeds), crushed by hand, plus 2 tbsp whole toasted pepitas
1/4 cup candied ginger chunks
1 tsp orange zest

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter and flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan.  Whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices).  Using an electric mixer blend together pumpkin puree and sugar.  While still blending, add oil, and then eggs, one at a time.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, alternating flour mixture with buttermilk (beginning and ending with flour).  Fold in the candied ginger, orange zest, and 1/4 cup of the toasted pepitas.  Transfer to prepared baking pan.  Top with remaining toasted pepitas and some additional candied ginger, if desired.  Tap pan on counter to distribute batter.  Bake bread until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, about 55 minutes.

Let cakes rest 10-15 minutes before removing from pans.

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