It's cold here. I venture to guess this is one of the coldest winters we've had in Southern California in a number of years. At least it feels that way. I could try to research it to get a definitive answer, but it doesn't really matter. It wouldn't change how cold it feels.
I know that pretty much anyone living outside of California will likely not sympathize with my definition of cold. But a high of 57 and low of 31 (today's temps) puts a chill in my toes and in our house. You see, many California houses are not built the way cold weather climate houses are built. The brisk air seeps in the windows and doors and it seems no matter how high the heater is, the place never really warms up. I've been spending a lot of time bundling up with layers of clothes, extra socks and a scarf here and there during the days I'm working at home. Then snuggling under warm blankets on the couch at night with kitty cat next to me.
Once I'm nice and cozy, a slice of spiced pumpkin bread alongside a hot cup of tea is just the thing to warm my insides. I love it for breakfast, a snack and even dessert. It's so delicious.
This recipe has a bit of a story.
My good friend Sharon has been making this bread around the holidays for years. She pumps out a dozen plus loaves and hands them out to family and friends each year. I've been the recipient of this bread many times and absolutely love it. Several years ago I asked her about the recipe and she alluded that it was a long time recipe which her family kept under lock and key.
Fast forward to this past fall...I asked Sharon if I could have the recipe because I wanted to bake this yummy bread to send to the troops overseas as part of Operation Baking GALS. A perfect autumn treat that travels well and has a long shelf life. I let her know that I wouldn't share the recipe with anyone else, but felt the troops should have a taste of this deliciousness! She happily agreed. Since October, I've made over a dozen loaves myself. For the troops, for family and just to eat myself (which I did for breakfast this morning--mmm). One of the reasons I love this recipe is because it's very reliable. I've had consistently good results every time I've made it in terms of appearance, texture and taste.
Not only do I love the bread, but the troops loved it too. They even posted a comment about it on the OBG Facebook page. A very exciting moment! I'm telling you this bread is the bomb. I hinted to Sharon I would love to post the recipe on the blog and share it with all of you. She went back to her mom to inquire and her mom was happy to hear the troops enjoyed the bread so much and agreed the recipe should be shared. Woo hoo! Sharon also inquired about the origin of the recipe. Her mom is a special needs teacher and years ago, one of her students brought her a loaf of this bread as a thank you gift. She loved it so much, she asked the child's mother for the recipe. The rest is history.
I'm so thrilled that Sharon's mom agreed this awesome recipe needed to be shared with the world. Well, my little pocket of readers anyway. THANK YOU Sharon's Mom! :)
This pumpkin bread is very easy to make and is all mixed by hand. It yields 2 large loaves (or 8 mini loaves). You could easily cut the recipe in half to make just one loaf. The day it's baked it has a wonderful crusty top. I do enjoy that crust, but I find that I really enjoy the bread best after it's been sealed in a zip top bag for 2+ days. Though the bread is moist the day you bake it, it's gets even more moist and it seems the flavors really meld together if you can stand to wait 2 days. The crusty top goes away due the amount of moisture that redistributes through the bread, but the enhanced flavor and incredible moistness are so worth it! It stores beautifully for upwards of a week.
This is most definitely my go to pumpkin bread recipe and I look forward to making many more loaves.
*Note recipe updated on 2/19/2013 to include an originally omitted ingredient (sugar)
Pumpkin Breadfrom Sharon's Family
Makes 2 large loaves (9x5)
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup oil (Crisco Corn Oil is recommended, but any vegetable oil would be fine)
2 cups pumpkin puree (unsweetened)
Butter and flour two 9x5 loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl until fully combined. Whisk eggs, water, and vanilla together in a medium bowl or a large glass measuring cup (at least 2 cup size). Make a well in the flour and add the wet ingredients. Add the oil and pumpkin puree. Fold together with rubber spatula until fully combined and no streaks of flour remain.
Divide between loaf pans and bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Notes: To make chocolate chip pumpkin bread stir 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips into the fully mixed batter. I also prefer to use fresh grated nutmeg if possible.