It seems like these days that every time the weekend rolls around, I get the itch to bake. This is a big change for me as I have mentioned before. I think I am addicted to the wonderful smells that emanate from my kitchen, which makes home seem even more cozy in the winter. I also like the fact that a lot of baking recipes actually do not require too much prep time.
This recipe is from the October 2008 issue of Gourmet, which printed the recipe from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet. The recipe calls for walnuts, which I think would be a great addition, but I could not add them due to my husband's nut allergies. I was sorely tempted to throw in some bittersweet chocolate chips, but because I have been throwing chocolate chips into everything I bake lately, I decided not to this one time. (I have a wonderful pumpkin chocolate chip cookie recipe that I will have to post at another time. Combining the two flavors, pumpkin and chocolate, may sound unusual but they really work well together.) This loaf was delicious -- very moist and perfect on its own or toasted with a little butter. Next time I make it, I may add a little bit more of the spices and top with some cinnamon sugar. As usual, the below recipe is slightly modified.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil (like canola)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and position oven rack in the center. Lightly grease a 9-by-5 inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt until thoroughly blended.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and water. Add the sugar and blend well. Add the pumpkin puree, vegetable oil, and vanilla extract. Blend well.
4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk until blended and smooth. Add the walnuts, if using, and stir until they are evenly distributed. Use a spatula to scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and level the top.
5. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, until the bread is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (it took the entire 65 minutes in my oven). Transfer to a rack to cool.
Makes 1 loaf.