a taste of home

I’m starting to reach that point in Winter where I’m constantly seeking comfort. Even though it’s been mild compared to years past, it’s still cold. Call me a baby, I don’t care - winter and I aren’t the best of friends.

This recipe is comforting on so many levels. First, carbs. Especially when I can slather butter onto said carbs and eat my feelings. Anyone who knows me knows that this layer of butter wasn’t for a pretty picture. My three favorite food groups are carbs, butter and cream. I blame my mom for raising me on the good stuff.

Speaking of my mom, this is her recipe. It’s the pumpkin bread I grew up on. Living so far from home, I’m instantly transported to my mom’s kitchen and that’s one of my favorite things about the power of food. Sometimes you just need to feel like your mom is hugging you from a far and this recipe is exactly that for me.

This pumpkin bread is the definition of the dreaded “m” word… MOIST. Ugh. But in this case, It’s a necessary evil. This is the kind of bread that when you pick it up, you know it’s legitimate comfort food because it’s HEAVY. It’s studded with crunchy pecans and while I’m typically team no nuts (did I just type that?!) this is one of those exceptions. It adds a nice texture to the dense yet ultra tender and slightly sticky bread. It’s comfort food but It’s not overly rich or heavy at the same time. You can eat one slice and savor the loaf or do like me and devour a mini loaf all to yourself for breakfast - portion control has never been my strong suit. If you do have that skill, consider making pumpkin bread french toast w/ bourbon salted caramel "syrup".

I hope you enjoy my mom’s recipe as much as I do.

yields 2 large 9”x5” loaves 
or 6 small 6”x3” loaves

3 c. sugar
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 ½ c. flour
2 t. baking soda

1 c. oil
c. water
15 oz can pumpkin puree
2  tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs

2/3 c. chopped pecans

Preheat your oven to 350ยบ F. 

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (sugar through baking soda listed above). In a medium bowl, combine wet ingredients (oil through eggs listed above).

Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry until combined. Sprinkle in chopped nuts or any add in you like (see improv suggestions below).

Grease your loaf pans with non-stick cooking spray or a light coating of butter. I like used parchment paper to get perfect pictures of the loaf but the bread will come out of your pan very easily so it’s not necessary. Fill your pans about ⅔ of the way full*.

Bake for about 45 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.

you might have a little leftover batter but make sure you’re not overfilling the pans. when in doubt, be a little shy with how much you fill them. there’s nothing worse than the mess of cake/bread batter covering the bottom of your oven.

improv style:
this is baking so it’s a little more complicated because you need to keep your wet to dry ratios the same. BUT… you can get creative with add-ins. Not a nut fan? Leave them out or substitute for your favorite nut - walnut, pistachio or even hazelnuts would be fun. 

you could add pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds) for a fun play on pumpkin - sprinkle some over the top too so you get that pretty exterior crunch. bonus, this would probably also make the loaf seem healthier because pepitas are totally health food. similarly, you could try adding sesame seeds on the top before baking or even sunflower seeds (shelled of course). i lovingly call those types of ingredients “bird seed” because, well… it looks like it.

you could add chocolate chips, dried cherries, cranberries or raisins. or even better, booze soaked raisins. if you did the boozy raisins I would add in an extra tablespoon or so of flour to the mix to compensate for the added moisture. candied ginger more your speed? or any kind of candied fruit? see where i’m going here… the options are endless!

want to effect the flavah even more? try adding ground cardamom, ginger, nutmeg or all spice to the mix. 

how would you improvise the dish to make it your own?!