Friday, September 12, 2014

Pumpkiny goodness

Four of the pumpkins grown in my garden last year
I grew 17 pumpkins last year and one of them got nibbled on by a squirrel before I got a chance to get it inside. Rather than letting the furry rodent get more of it, and start to develop a taste for the things, I chopped it up and gave it to the chickens.

I have never heard them so quiet for so long. They LOVED it. While there are actually no controlled studies providing evidence for pumpkin being a natural dewormer in chickens, it certainly doesn't hurt!

In the spirit of pumpkin noms, and my enduring and illogical fantasy that the weather forecast for this weekend (over 100 degrees F.) is wrong, I give you my favorite recipe for pumpkin bread. This recipe is adapted slightly from the one over at Northwest Edible Life (who I just ADORE), but I like my version better - it's spicier.  Try hers though; you might like that one better and she uses chocolate chips!

Spiced Pumpkin Bread


Wet Stuff

  • 15 ounces (1 can) pumpkin puree or 15 ounces of home roasted and pureed pumpkin (home roasted, while more time consuming, is SO much better - you get that slightly caramelized taste of the pumpkin)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 tbsp. bourbon or whiskey. I use anything that's in the liquor cabinet  (Optional – substitute water or apple juice if you prefer not to use liquor)
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar

  • Dry Stuff

  • 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 heaping teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon allspice

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans and line them with parchment paper. If making muffins, grease and flour or use muffin liners. In a large bowl, whisk together the wet stuff and sugar. Mix pumpkin, eggs, oil, water, bourbon and sugar until well blended. Sift the dry stuff (minus the sugar which you've already added to the wet stuff) directly into the wet stuff : Mix the dry and wet stuff together until just blended.

    Pour batter evenly between the prepared pans or portion into muffin tins.

    Bake for about 60-70 minutes in the preheated oven for 9×5 loaf pans or about 25-35 minutes for muffins. Because baking time will vary based on your oven calibration, oven size, pan, etc., it’s really best to rely on the the toothpick test to determine when your pumpkin bread is done. Loaves or muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let your bread cool in pan until firmed up, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a cake rack and let cool completely before slicing. This is harder than it should be, but the texture of the bread is better if allowed to fully cool before you cut it open.

    This bread freezes well if well wrapped. I wrap in tinfoil and then put in a gallon ziploc bag.

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