Thursday, February 07, 2008

Pumpkin Bread

Look at all that carotene.

Back when I was working in an office, I used to make goodies for the entire office around Christmas time. Two particular items were a huge hit. One was my peanut butter cookies and the other was this recipe for pumpkin bread. The bread this recipe makes is very sweet, tender on the inside, and has a crispy outer shell when fresh. It's also quite moist. The surprise to me was that, despite how sweet this is, the Japanese adored it.

I hadn't turned to this recipe for quite some time because I'd forgotten about it and because it's a bit decadent with all the sugar. However, I've been noticing that the higher prices of butter in Japan are really starting to increase the cost of my home-made baked goods. While it's still cheaper to make my own than to buy things at bakeries (and for cakes, muffins, and cookies, my stuff is better), it's starting to approach a point where the money saved versus the effort invested make it not necessarily worth it from a financial viewpoint.

The advantage of this recipe over my old standby, banana bread, is that this uses Canola oil as the fat and it's rather significantly cheaper than butter. I make it with a 50/50 sugar/Splenda mixture, but I think you could safely reduce the sugar by a bit and it'd still be pretty good. However, I've never tried reducing the sugar. If you do so, I'd recommend a slow reduction starting with eliminating 1/4 cup and carefully testing the texture.

Pumpkin Bread:
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (American) pureed pumpkin
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 C. sugar (or a mix of 1 C. sugar and 1 C. granular Splenda)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
Whisk the eggs, oil, vanilla and pumpkin puree together in a large bowl until well mixed. Add the spices, salt, and sugar (or sugar and Splenda) and whisk until well mixed. Sift in the flour and baking powder and whisk until just mixed. Do not overbeat the mixture or the bread will be tough from the gluten being overworked. Preheat oven to 355 degrees F./180 degrees C. Back for one hour or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

This freezes extremely well and makes a really nice breakfast if you want something sweet.


Jon said...

This looks pretty good :)
My girlfriend says she's tried it before, but has never made it. I'll have to try it someday. Thanks :D

badmoodmike said...

There is nothing I like better than some great flavored bread for breakfast. Mother usually gets boxed mixes at the store, and they are really not too bad.

A recipe like this, from scratch, will probably be far and away better! I am going to have to definitely try it.

Nuke a slice or two in the m'wave with some butter...oh, yeah! :)

Shari said...

Thanks to both of you gentlemen for commenting so kindly!

You may want to try it with some cream cheese. It's super yummy with that, though I tend to eat it plain.

Nomadic said...

Have you ever tried replacing the oil in baked goods with applesauce? I've always made my pumpkin bread with apple sauce to replace the oil and it's delicious! I think the apple flavor blends very nicely with the pumpkin and they enhance one another. :)

Melissa in FL, USA

Shari said...

Melissa: I have actually done this on many occasions, but it is very troublesome for me since applesauce isn't sold in Japan and I have to make it myself. It adds a lot more steps to the process if I do that. Apples also aren't especially cheap here (about 90 cents apiece).

I am actually able to make a really mean Amish brownie using applesauce.

The other issue is that you can't replace both the sugar and fat in a recipe and have a good result and, given the choice, I replace the sugar.

Many, many thanks for reading and posting!

badmoodmike said...

They don't sell applesauce in Japan? What the hell!? Do they actually sell any FOOD there? LOLz!

I guess we in the states have a tendency to take for granted a lot of applesauce, proper peanut butter (peanutsu kurimu) and marshmallow fluff...that are just either not popular or plain not available elsewhere.

I'm beginning to wonder if I could survive a vacation to Japan. Well, I like sushi and soba noodles, so that's a start. :)

Substituting applesauce in baked goods is great! It adds a sweetness to it, so you may be able to reduce the sugar content as well...

Shari said...

Mike: I think I have seen sweetened applesauce on rare occasions in import shops, but never unsweetened stuff (which is what you need for baking). I guess it's possible there's baby food which may be applesauce, but I can't say I've seriously checked. ;-)

The nice thing about Applesauce is that it adds sweetness, moisture and, best of all, density. The brownie recipe I mentioned (but haven't made in ages) is low fat and the applesauce lends it some of that heft you associate with brownies.