Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

My desire to crank up the oven is a little out of sinc with what's happening outside. Denver is experiencing an unusually warm fall. The trees are starting to change and the dropped leaves are piling up on my car, but I'm still biking around in short sleeves and the garden is still producing red tomatoes. Normally Denver has seen a few snow flurries by this time of year but we haven't even come close to snow yet. I'm crossing my fingers that we'll get some soon--there is nothing quite like the first snow of the season.

I seem to be on a baking bender these days. I haven't been cooking for myself that much but when I do, all I want to do is bake. Since coming home my main contributions to meal time have been sweet snacks and desserts--fruit pie, zucchini bread, last gasp peach crisp, and now pumpkin bread.

I do love quick breads. They are easy peasy, no yeast required, and can usually be thrown together from pantry items. But they are often just cakes in disguise, loaded with white flour and white sugar and tons of butter. Delicious, to be sure, but not the best everyday snack food. For this loaf I used a recipe from Joy of Cooking, slightly modified. I used whole wheat pastry flour instead of all purpose, replaced half the butter with coconut oil, and skimped a bit on the sugar.

I just bought virgin coconut oil for the first time (as opposed to not virgin coconut oil) and I think I'm a convert. It is rich and fragrant and makes your whole kitchen smell delicious upon opening the jar.

Pumpkin Bread adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree

Whisk dry ingredients in one bowl to blend.

In another bowl, combine milk and vanilla. Set aside.

In a large bowl, beat butter and coconut oil until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add white sugar, beat to incorporate, then add brown sugar and beat to incorporate. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add pumpkin and beat on low speed until just blended. Add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with milk and vanilla mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Stir until smooth.

Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about one hour.

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