Maybe I'm the only one, and no one else can relate to my selfish cooking habits, but I really don't like to bake with other people helping me. The idea of baking cupcakes or making cookies with someone always sounds good in theory to me but it never really pans out that way in practice. For me, I love to experiment in the kitchen! And if I don't have ingredients, I'm a good enough cook that I like to use what I have before running to the store to buy that one ingredient that I know I will never use once I'm done with the particular recipe. So, when I saw this recipe for pumpkin bread, my first thought was "Who can I invite over to make this with me?" I even went as far as to invite someone over, my dear friend C who was a trooper and just watched while I made the bread. It's okay though, she's the same way.I also had this beautiful little pumpkin that I bought at a local farm a few weeks ago that was destined to be made into pumpkin bread. I considered pie for half a second but I knew bread would be more worth while for me. Do you want to know a secret? This pumpkin is the first pumpkin that I've actually cooked with instead of harvesting seeds and then later carving it to just sit on my porch and rot. And you know what? It felt so good to put my little pumpkin to good use!
The Best Pumpkin Bread You'll Ever Have
1 small pumpkin (mine was a sugar pumpkin)
1 cup homemade applesauce or unsweetened store bought
1 and 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon each of cinnamon, ground cloves, and nutmeg
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preparing the Pumpkin:
1. Since I started out with a real live pumpkin instead of pumpkin puree from a can, the first thing you'll want to do is wash the pumpkin, cut it in half, and scoop out all the guts and seeds. You can save the seeds and compost the guts. You won't need any fancy pumpkin carving equipment, just a sharp knife and a spoon will do.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature isn't super important, as long as you keep checking your pumpkin to make sure it isn't burning. Place your pumpkin halves cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes. Flip the pumpkin halves over and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
3. Check your pumpkin with a fork to test if it is done (it should be pretty close at this point). You will know the pumpkin is done if you can easily stick a fork into the meat of the pumpkin.
4. Turn off the oven and leave the pumpkin for about 5 minutes. This step is crucial if you want to remove the skin easily! The steam will make the skin really loose and it should just peel right off. Here's a link that shows you this process if you're a visual learner like me.
5. Once your pumpkin is out of the skin, you can chop it up with a knife and put it in a food processor or if you are like me and lack standard kitchen supplies, you can put some of the pumpkin chunks in a small pot with a little water and boil it until the chunks can be broken up with a fork. Now you've got pumpkin puree that you can store in the fridge or freezer. One small pumpkin will make 4-5 loaves of bread.
Pumpkin Bread Recipe:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix all your wet ingredients together (eggs, sugar, applesauce and 3 cups of pumpkin puree) in a large bowl. Stir together until well blended.
2. Mix all your dry ingredients together (spices, flour, and baking soda) in a medium bowl. Stir together with a fork to ensure all ingredients are incorporated.
3. Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a large spoon. Make sure all the ingredients are stirred together well (you don't want to take a bite and come across a dry patch of baking soda do you?!)
4. Grease 2 bread pans (mine are about 9x4 inches). I used a little bit of olive oil but you can use whatever you have. Pour half of the pumpkin mixture into each of the greased pans. Bake both loaves at the same time in a 350 degree oven for about 1 hour. Check to see if they are done by inserting a fork or toothpick into the thickest section. If the fork comes out clean, your bread is ready to enjoy!
And can I just say that this pumpkin bread is the softest, pumpkiny-est, and tastiest bread I've ever made! I've already eaten nearly half the loaf by myself! Enjoy :)