Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Perfection: a baking tutorial


"Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte; extra hot; no whip." In the autumn, I'm one of those people who knows exactly what she's going to order at Starbuck's. It's as if the Good Fairy of Fall waves her magic wand and all is right in my world whenever pumpkin spice is involved.

If you're a pumpkin spice fan, too, you need this recipe. Perhaps you've had pumpkin bread before. . . but I'm telling you, this recipe will give you pumpkin spice perfection. Guaranteed.


Note: Click here for a printable copy of the recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Bread

Ingredients

3 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup vegetable oil (I use canola oil)
4 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin (I use Libby's solid pack pumpkin, 15 oz. can)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional: 2 cups chopped nuts (I use walnuts or pecans)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. If you're including nuts, spread them on a baking sheet and roast for about five minutes. This will make them a much tastier addition to your bread. Coarsely chop toasted nuts.

Stir all dry ingredients together in mixer bowl. Add all liquid ingredients. Mix well. Stir in chopped nuts if desired. Batter will be very thick, and to be honest it's not very pretty. Never fear. All will be well.


Pour batter into prepared loaf pans. I use four inexpensive oblong pans, each about 3 1/2 inches x 7 1/2 inches. This recipe is perfect for four loaves of this size, six "mini" loaves, two or three large loaves, or lots of muffins. You can grease and flour the pans if you like. I just spray them with nonstick cooking spray.

Here's a trick: If you have a kitchen scale, weigh each pan as you're distributing your batter. Your loaves will play nicely together in the oven if they're all about the same size. Don't stress over this; just make each pan weigh about the same as the others.


Depending on the size of your loaves, bake 40-60 minutes at 350 degrees. Bread is done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. This is the most important thing: DO NOT OVERBAKE. For these medium-sized loaves, I usually time this bread for 45 minutes and start testing at that point. Even if you have to sacrifice many toothpicks and test your bread every couple of minutes, that's better than overbaking. If it's not done, the toothpick will be goopy. If it's done, the toothpick will be completely clean or perhaps have a couple of crumbs on it, but no goopiness. Remove the bread from the oven just as soon as a toothpick comes out clean.

Q: Why is testing the bread so important?
A: Because of residual heat, the bread actually continues to bake just a little after you remove it from the oven. So if you leave baked goods in the oven too long, they'll OVERbake after you remove them from the oven--leaving you with dry yuckiness instead of moist yumminess.

Here's how your loaves will look fresh from the oven:


Cool in pans for five to ten minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely on a wire rack.


See how neatly the loaves come out of the pan when you just spray the pans with nonstick cooking spray? No sticking and no flour residue. I bake a lot, but I never grease and flour pans any more.

When completely cool, wrap individual loaves in foil. If you don't need all loaves right away, they freeze beautifully. I like to keep a couple of these in the freezer. A loaf makes a great gift for a neighbor, a teacher, a new mom--just about anyone. One of my favorite hostess gifts for autumn is to pair a loaf with a package of pretty beverage napkins.




One more thing about this amazing bread. If you like, you can make this bread do double-duty as a yummy dessert simply by adding a simple cream cheese frosting. You know, of course, how good cream cheese frosting is on carrot cake. Well, pumpkin cake is just as good, if you ask me. Here's my simple frosting recipe. Do not think about the fat grams.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 lb. powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
8 oz. cream cheese
Mix all ingredients together. Add roasted and chopped nuts if you like. Store in refrigerator.

OR here's another option!  Follow my recipe here to make a simple cream cheese glaze!



I'm not exaggerating about the goodness of this recipe. I made a batch recently and took some to my next-door neighbor. After it was all gone, she called and said, "Will you please call me next time you make this? I want to come watch you. It's the best pumpkin bread I've ever had."

Let me know if you bake yourself some pumpkin spice perfection!

I'm linking to these wonderful parties:


15 comments:

Kelly said...

Boy that bread looks good. I may have to give that recipe a try. I really love the way you gift wrapped it and included festive napkins with it.

FABBY'S LIVING said...

Yes, this sure looks like perfection! Thank you for the recipe of this yummy cake, I just love pumpkin! Hugs, FABBY

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Richella, I have saved this and I will be making it soon. I love anything pumpkin, especially this time of year. Thanks for sharing the recipe at the Open House Party.
Hugs,
Sherry

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

My absolute favorite bread. The first time I had it was when I was working and I just about consumed the whole loaf by myself. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will be making this soon.

Anita said...

This sounds and looks so good! Can't wait to make some up...thanks for sharing!

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

This looks so delicious. I'm bookmarking it to make soon. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are my favorite, too.

alanna rose said...

This looks amazing, and I'm a PSL junky too :)

Thank you!

Kuki... said...

Pumpkin and fall...it doesn't get much better than that. I've been hungry for Pumpkin bread, and will give your recipe a try. Maybe initiating fall baking will bring much needed cooler temperatures here in South Texas.

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Richella, I am a big fan of pumpkin bread. Your recipe (icing? yum!) looks fabulous!

Anonymous said...

I'm on it for this weekend! Sounds WONDERFUL, and I know some folks who could use a little "happy gift" of pumpkin bread!

Anonymous said...

I'm on it for this weekend! Sounds WONDERFUL, and I know some folks who could use a little "happy gift" of pumpkin bread!

Marla and Steve @ Always Nesting said...

Sold. I'm making this bread TODAY! Looks so good I can almost smell it.

Kelli @ RTSM said...

Yum! I bought a can of pumpkin yesterday and I can't decide what to make with it! I have seen so many awesome pumpkin recipes lately...that frosting may make this one a winner though:)

Marla and Steve @ Always Nesting said...

This recipe is a winner! Just tasted my first bite and it's delicious. I used half wheat, half white flour and texture is still good. I even wrapped up a loaf to take to my Zumba instructor this afternoon. Thanks again for the recipe.

Linda said...

I love pumpkin bread...but I have egg allergy and would have to try it with egg replacer....and no nuts because I am also allergic to those. (So I am sure it would not be near the same!)

I love how pretty your loaves look as a gift with the pretty ribbon and a pack of colorful napkins! You have flair girl! (:>)

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