Bread of the Month: Finding full fall flavor in pumpkin bread

We can make fun of the whole pumpkin spice thing endlessly (and we do), but, when we are honest, we really love those tastes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. It’s just been done to death. There is a time and place and goodie for it, though, and one way to best capture it is with a good pumpkin bread recipe.

Everyone should have a pumpkin bread recipe in her/his arsenal…like having that much-loved banana bread formula; something no-fuss, easy to stir up and providing all the best flavor, moist texture and durability to share and give (quick breads make the best food gifts).

I recently became acquainted with Becky Walters of Burns, Kan., who provided me with a great pumpkin bread recipe, along with ones for pumpkin butter, pumpkin bread pudding and pumpkin puppy treats. Walters and her husband, Carroll, runs Walters’ Pumpkin Patch, which was recently named the top patch in Kansas by Reader’s Digest magazine. I wrote about her and shared her pumpkin butter recipe for my October “Cooking My Way Home” column Kansas Country Living.

But I was interested in Walters’ other recipes, too, and since it had been some time since I made a traditional pumpkin bread (my go-to is usually a pumpkin muffin recipe from a little muffin cookbook), I decided to try the recipe from Walters. Her “Iced and Spiced Pumpkin Bread” is loaded with spices and pumpkin (Walters, despite growing pumpkins, prefers canned pumpkin in most recipes), and is made extra moist with a cup of vegetable oil.

This recipe couldn’t be any easier…I love simple recipes that mix up easy in a big bowl, sans any appliances but a whisk or spoon, and are stirred up by hand. The batter is a beautiful persimmon orange from pumpkin and spices.

I also prefer quick bread recipes that make more than one loaf! This two-loaf recipe gives the baker the bonus of keeping one loaf to enjoy and having one for sharing (if generous). I decided I would take one to work (how nice of me).

All those favorite fall spices fill the air as the bread bakes. I allowed mine at least an hour of baking at 350 (which is the usual baking time for many dense quick breads). They turned out to be beautiful ample loaves, deeply orange-golden-brown.

Walters’ recipe suggests one glazes the breads with a favorite white icing. I’m not a huge frosting or icing fan, but given these were “Iced and Spiced” breads, I thought a drizzle of a glowing white might be pretty with the darkly spicy breads. I made a glaze by mixing about a cup of powdered sugar, a splash of vanilla and three to four tablespoons of heavy cream, whisking until smooth and of a runny enough consistency to drizzle

I gave my pumpkin loaves a nice streaky striping of vanilla icing to make them even more inviting. And what yummy bread…perfectly spiced, delightfully moist and a texture that was so perfect, it was the most slice-able quick bread I’d ever made (many quick breads crumble or don’t slice cleanly).

I stored the loaves in the refrigerator, working my way through my “home loaf,” but taking another into work a couple of days later to rave reviews, one colleague even claiming she usually didn’t like pumpkin bread, but liked this one. Of all the pumpkin spice recipes out there, it makes sense that my new favorite came from a pumpkin patch!

Iced and Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Shared by Becky Walters of Walters’ Pumpkin Patch (www.thewaltersfarm.com)

3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
3 large eggs
1 16-ounce can of pumpkin puree
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all together well and bake in greased loaf pans at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted comes out clean (about 55 to 60 minutes). Let cool. Drizzle with favorite powdered sugar/milk icing.

Blogger’s Note: I mixed the dry ingredients together first then added them to the blended wet ingredients. I also added about 1/2 teaspoon vanilla to the batter.

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