With the gift giving season descending upon us it makes sense to think about home baked gifts that you can do in advance.
Homemade gifts are, to me, the best gifts. They indicate that someone took the time and interest to make you something that took more effort than selecting a gift card. Homemade gifts say that you are important to them to should get something made personally and with love.
With that in mind, I ALWAYS make pumpkin bread at Christmas. It is universally loved. The people I have given it to in the past talk about it in the months leading up to the holidays with excitement, reverence, and, dare I say it, lust. Google ’pumpkin bread’ and see how many hits you get. You will see not only recipes but lengthy devotions to this seasonal treat.
I use the recipe my mother gave me, which was pass to down to her by her mother. It is VERY moist and tender, but holds up to spreads well. It has, to me anyway, the perfact blend of spices and just the right amount of sweetness. I like mine plain, but I have been known to smear cream cheese frosting on top to make it extra fancy for parties and brunches.
The best part about this bread? It freezes BEAUTIFULY! Wrap the loafs in plastic and stash them in the freezer at the beginning of December then, when you are ready to hand them out, just thaw them in the fridge and tie on a festive bow … or nestle it in a basket with a pretty dish cloth, or give it on a decorative plate. Everyone will love it!
P.S. – Make a few extra for those occasions when you need to give a gift unexpectdly.
Pumpkin Bread – Makes 8 small loafs, or two 9×5 loafs
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly bean
16 ounces canned unsweetened pumpkin
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp cardamom
2/3 cup water
Heat your oven to 350 F
In a large bowl combine the sugar and oil. Add the eggs, one at a time until they are completly mixed in. Stir in the pumpkin. Set aside.
Sift the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a seperate bowl.
Add the flour mixture in three additions alternatly with the water, beginning and ending with flour. The crumb will be more tender and tighter if you do this step by hand, but you can use a mixer if that makes your life easier.
Pour into loaf pans tht have been sprayed with cooking spray and bake for 30 min for mini loafs, and 45 to 55 for large loafs.
Once baked cool in the pans for 20 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack.
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