Tuesday, November 4, 2008

post-halloween pumpkin cranberry bread

I always make pumpkin bread in the fall. Bug Bug mentioned having baked it at school recently, and when I saw canned pumpkin at Whole Foods on Sunday, I thought I'd give baking with the kids another try. I love that my kids are interested in cooking with me - they always tell me they want to help, and there's a constant fight for the stepstool. But to embark on kid-cooking projects, I have to be really extra patient AND not have a lot invested in the end results, because the flour and sugar flung accidentally amok makes the Type A person in me a little crazy.

I promised Bug we'd give this a whirl today. Tuesdays are our Mommy/Bug/Boy-o days. We stirred everything together before lunch and, since it was going to take an hour to bake, I told the kids they could have some for a snack. Then I realized after it was in the oven that we only put in one cup of sugar. Whoops! Not quite the volume of batter I expected, and though the end result was tasty and pleasantly not-too-sweet, the missing cup of sugar made the bread less tender and the top came out kind of craggy, and not as smooth as usual. The kids were down for a nap, and I had another cup of pumpkin left, so I quickly threw together a second batch just in case our loaf didn't turn out. I fed Bug a piece from the first loaf (which was out of the oven and cool when she woke up) and she asked for seconds. She also kept pulling out the "raspberries," (though I kept referring to them as cranberries, which they were), but it was a clear success.
My friend Becca gave me this recipe about a million years ago. I remember having no paper handy to write it down (and I think it came from somewhere noteworthy like the back of a can), so the recipe in my file is written on the back of a nondescript photograph. It's super easy, can be stirred together with a whisk, and takes just a couple of minutes to prepare, though an hour to bake.

Pumpkin Cranberry Bread

2 1/4 cups (9 5/8 ounces) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 cup solid pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!)
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two small (or one large) loaf pans. The recipe supposedly makes two loaves, but only if your pans are the smaller size of the disposable tins. I didn't measure my loaf pans, but I assume they are about 9x4. With that size pan, this recipe makes one nice-sized loaf.

Stir together flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.

In a larger bowl, beat two eggs (don't go crazy - just whisk 'em around a bit). Add sugar, oil, and pumpkin, and whisk together thoroughly.

Pour the pumpkin mix into the flour mix and stir until just incorporated. Stir in the cranberries. Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for one hour. Cool for a while, then invert loaves to remove from the pans. Slice and serve just barely warm with sweet butter. YUM.
* One more note: I don't often grease and flour pans, and the crust has a slightly floury taste that I don't like and haven't experienced before. Think it's because I used Pam to grease the pan?

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