The Great Pumpkin

What a gorgeous Autumn day! Sure, it was overcast most the day. But when you’re searching for “The Great Pumpkin” with precious pum’kins, while sippin’ on a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte… who cares if the sun is out or not!? 🙂

Pumpkins grow in all shapes and sizes, textures and colors.  When it comes to cooking, pumpkins are one versatile squash!  Cake, cookies, muffins and bread. Latte’s and teas. Soup, roasted by itself or amongst other veggies. Sweet or savory, pick your poison.  And it doesn’t stop at the flesh, the seeds are good too. Sprinkled over a salad, used as soup garnish or enjoy a handful of roasted seeds for an afternoon snack. I like to roast mine in a little olive oil, cayenne pepper, black pepper, kosher salt and garlic powder.

With the weather finally starting to catch up with the season, it’s about that time again. Time to warm the oven and fill my home with the sweet smell of pumpkin bread. Yummmm! My favorite pumpkin bread recipe is from “The Best of Cooking Light” from 2000, a collection of 13 years of delicious and healthy meals. I hope you too will find this recipe worthy of making your fall baking rotation. 🙂

Spicy Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground allspice*
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon*
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves*
1 1/3 cups packed brown sugar
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
cooking spray
1/3 cup chopped walnuts*

*I use 3 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice in lieu of allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. I also substitute the walnuts with pecans! 🙂

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and the next 7 ingredients (flour through cloves) in a large bowl; make a well in center of mixture. Combine sugar and next 5 ingredients (sugar through pumpkin) in a bowl, and stir well with a whisk until smooth.  Add to flour mixture, stirring  just until moist.

3. Spoon the batter into 2 (8×4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray, and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool loaves in pans 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans. Cool loaves completely. Yield 2 loaves, 12 servings per loaf.

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