Monday, December 04, 2006

Toss one recipe, keep the other one. Pumpkin Bread was a keeper.

Saturday was such a lazy day. We had plans, errands to run, tons of things to do outside the house but we kept procrastinating until it was too late to go out. It was fun though. My husband doesn't care much for cooking, he cooks when the mood strikes. He's usually very good and precise and his dishes turn out good most of the time. On Saturday he made Turkey Fajitas while I made a cornbread. We nibbled on chips and salsa, had Corona beers, and cooked together. His fajitas turned out great, my cornbread - on the other hand - didn't... It was unbelievable! It looked nice, smelled nice and tasted like absolutely nothing. Granted that it was an adaptation to a light recipe but some things you cannot cut calories from - I just learned that cornbread is one of them. Luckily we had plenty of chips and fajitas. I tossed the cornbread and the recipe. All I wanted was something similar to a sweet, savory, and spicy cornbread that Au Bon Pain makes. I'll keep trying.

Later that day, I made a Pumpkin Bread. It yields two loaves, so I had an extra loaf to share with my neighbors. Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups (490 grams) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups (400 grams) sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 can (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup toasted and chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place rack in center of oven. Butter and lightly flour two - 9 by 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pans. Set aside.

To toast nuts: Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 - 10 minutes or until brown and fragrant. Cool completely and then chop coarsely. Set aside.

Pumpkin Bread: In a large bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until lightly beaten. Add the sugar and melted butter and whisk until blended. Whisk or stir in the pumpkin, water, and vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir just until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix as it will make the bread tough.

Divide the batter between the two prepared loaf pans, smoothing the tops. Bake the breads for about 50 - 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. (You may notice that the tops of the pumpkin breads have cracked a little.)

Place pans on a wire rack and let cool for about 10 minutes before removing breads from pans. Let cool completely before covering the tops of the loaves with the frosting.

Can serve warm, cold, or at room temperature. Store leftovers in the refrigerator or else freeze for later use.

Frosting: Beat the butter and cream cheese until very smooth with no lumps. Gradually beat in the powdered sugar until fully incorporated and smooth. Beat in the vanilla extract. Divide the frosting and spread on the tops of the pumpkin breads. Garnish with toasted and chopped pecans.

Makes 2 loaves.


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