After a beautiful walk at Great Falls in the crunching leaves with that lovely wafting leafy smell covering us from head to toe, we headed home ready to tackle my first baking project in the new house.
I dug through boxes to find all my long-lost baking supplies and ran up to the Best Way (my new grocery store best friend) to buy some eggs and buttermilk and then I cracked open a few bad boy cans of pumpkin.
My goal: pumpkin muffins and pumpkin bread. It seemed so fitting with all of the bright orange and red and yellow leaves of the day.
My attempt at muffins was sort of a Fail. The muffins suffered from a little too much pumpkin weighing them down and they never rose quite high enough to see their neighbors in the muffin holes around them. They were tasty but the hockey-puck shape and spongy texture was disappointing-not a combination I wish to inflict upon you.
The bread, on the other hand, was a success and worthy of a Hot Pot post.
Pumpkin, cranberries and walnuts go really well together, which was a pleasant surprise to this girl whose never really done the traditional Thanksgiving feast. The addition of some buttermilk added some brightness and kept the cake nice and moist while some ground ginger provided the perfect base for the spicy pop I was hoping for.
I based the bread off of this Bon Appetite recipe from 1995 but strayed a good deal from the original so below is my recreation. My colleagues at work loved the bread but did note that it was a bit more like gingerbread than pumpkin bread. Should you be craving more of a pumpkin-y flair, I would say add just a bit more pumpkin and maybe take the spices (especially the cloves) down a notch.
3 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1.5 teaspoon ground cloves
.5 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
.5 teaspoon salt
.5 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs (remember all 3!)
1 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup cranberries (optional-I like using even more of these!)
1 16oz can pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie mix (I used pie mix by mistake, if you like your bread heavily spiced and you are using plain pumpkin puree, add a little more cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
1 teaspoon of ground fresh ginger
The Recipe (Makes 2 Loaves)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans (or as close as you have)
Combine all of your dry ingredients in a big bowl, stir and set aside
In another bowl or stand-mixer, mix your oil and sugar to blend then add in eggs, pumpkin, ginger, and buttermilk. Beat in your flour mixture in 2 or 3 additions until everything is well blended, then stir in cranberries and walnuts
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. These loaves are even better the next day.