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Fall is here, which means it’s the season for all things pumpkin. From pumpkin spice lattes to pumpkin beer to pumpkin spice Peeps — fans of the ubiquitous flavor of fall are in heaven. But rather than rely on store-bought goodies — many of which don’t even feature any actual squash. In order to get your pumpkin spice fix, why not mix up your own seasonal goodies?
For those who can’t get enough pumpkin, pumpkin bread may just be the perfect fall treat. It’s easier to make than pumpkin pie but features the same signature mix of spices, like cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, and ginger. It also freezes well, so you can bake a big batch to keep on hand throughout the fall months. And it’s made with real pumpkin, so you can get some of the fiber, vitamin A, potassium this veggie offers.
Pumpkin bread recipes are a dime a dozen. Some are topped with cinnamon streusel or sweet frosting, while others are dressed up with pecans, walnuts, chocolate chips, or cranberries. Healthier versions are made with ingredients like whole-wheat flour, Greek yogurt, or whole-grain oats. While there’s nothing wrong with a fresh spin on a classic, we like this time-tested recipe from Allrecipes.com. It’s moist, flavorful, and easy to make. Pair it with a cup of hot coffee or a warm mug of cider and you’ll have the perfect fall treat.
Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread
More than 6,600 recipe reviews can’t be wrong. This spicy pumpkin bread recipe has near-perfect ratings on Allrecipes.com, with reviewers praising the bread’s rich flavor and easy preparation. If you don’t have three 7-by-3-inch loaf pans, use two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans instead, or make mini loaves or pumpkin muffins.
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- ⅔ cup water
- 3 cups white sugar
- 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour three 7-by-3-inch loaf pans. Set aside.
Combine the pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, water, and sugar in a large bowl until well-blended. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices to a separate large bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined. Pour into the prepared loaf pans.
Bake for about 50 minutes. Loaves are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool.
When shopping for ingredients, make sure you buy canned pumpkin purée, not pumpkin pie filling, since the latter is already sweetened and spiced. If you have an extra couple of hours and a spare baking pumpkin, you could try making your own pumpkin purée. These instructions from the Food Network’s Alton Brown show you how.
Health-conscious cooks who want to cut down on the fat in this recipe might want to reduce the vegetable oil to ½ cup and add ½ cup of applesauce, a substitution recommended by several reviewers. Other suggested adjustments include adding a bit of vanilla; stirring in walnuts, chocolate chips, or raisins; or topping the loaves with cream cheese frosting.
Though you’ll probably be tempted to dig right in as soon as your loaves come out of the oven, try to hold off. The flavor improves if the bread sits for about a day. If you want to freeze for later, let each loaf cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag until ready to eat.
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