Sunday, December 1, 2013

Thanksgiving!...and more importantly, pumpkin bread

You know what that excuse to put aside homework to spend all day baking inedible amounts of dessert!

My grandma was handling the main meal, which means my household was responsible for providing dessert. Which is just how I like it :D
Between us, my mom and I managed two pumpkin pies, a pecan pie, four loaves of pumpkin bread (with and without chocolate chips--more on that later), chocolate chunk and macadamia nut cookies, and a plate of pucharata (is that spelled right?)--essentially Croatian doughnut holes. They're good.

(That's how you know.)

I did the pumpkin bread and the pies along with the crusts (storebought pie crust? please), which explains why my mom thought Thanksgiving was so relaxing this year.

I started with the pumpkin bread. The chocolate chips were at the request of my uncle, who vehemently exhorted of me (and a week ahead of time, too!) that I make pumpkin bread WITH chocolate chips and-don't-forget-the-chocolate-chips! So I ended up making four loaves of pumpkin bread--two with chocolate chips for my uncle, and two regular for my family. I was kind of skeptical about the chocolate and the pumpkin, but all too willing to try it because remind me what doesn't taste good with chocolate? Unfortunately, the chocolate ended up overwhelming all taste of the spices, so in defense of the delicate spice-based appeal of traditional pumpkin bread, I advocate for leaving out the addition. (Don't think this means I'm not in favor of chocolate in breakfast food: that will be forthcoming.)
Besides, the normal version looked prettier ;)
I've made this recipe once before, and both times it has come out wonderfully. If you're not in the mood for bread, I recommend upping the sugar content and making muffins/ cupcakes, which you top with fresh whipped cream. Delicious.

Pumpkin Bread
This recipe comes out really nicely. It is very moist, pleasingly dense, and takes on a beautiful form while baking.
Ingredients (makes one loaf):

1¾ cups flour
¼ tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
3/4 cups sugar
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional--I really mean optional) 


1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the dry ingredients EXCEPT THE SUGAR--flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon--in a medium bowl.
3. Lightly beat the eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add in the other wet ingredients--vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, and water.
4. Add the already-combined dry ingredients to the wet incredients and stir to combine.
5. Add the sugar to the mixer and combine. (I recommend adding the sugar last so that you have the ability to taste for sweetness. 3/4 of a cup of sugar is plenty sweet enough for my taste, but if you want especially sweet bread, you can add up to 3/4 of a cup more.) At this point, stir in the chocolate chips, if desired.
6. Line a loaf pan with foil and fill it with the batter. (If you want the loaf to split down the middle like in the picture above, run a knife down the center of the batter in the pan prior to baking).
7. Bake for about 80 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the center of the loaf comes out clean.
8. Feed to your relatives, devour ravenously, and brag ;)

If anyone decides to make this recipe (there's still time! Before fall slips away from us!), please add your input in the comments! 

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