In my family it seems to be a tradition that when anyone makes a long trip to visit a relative, there is always some kind of food waiting for them when they arrive. When I was growing up my southern grandmother always had a frosted cake on her kitchen counter, waiting for visitors to pounce upon it. My California grandmother would bake this pie dough treat for my dad when we'd go to visit her. I have no idea what the recipe entails, but she would roll out pie crust, fill it with brown sugar and nuts, roll it back up, cut it into little strudel-type bites, then bake it. Since they are getting older neither of my grandmas really bakes anymore, but I'll never forget the effort they put into it.
My mom has taken on this habit of having things in the house especially for visitors when they arrive, whether it be the kind of milk they prefer or a certain kind of breakfast cereal. I certainly appreciate the extension of hospitality and hope to do the same for our guests when they arrive. And, of course, it gives me a good excuse to bake (not like I need one!) :)
When my MIL came to visit the other week, I wanted to bake something as a special treat for us to have during her visit. The past two summers I went to meet and visit with Hubby's family in Wisconsin, I brought homemade banana bread with me to hopefully sweeten the deal :) I was running short on time the morning of her arrival, so I figured a similar recipe would be something easy and delicious to make. I had just bought canned pumpkin at TJ's, too, and my inner chef was itching to use it.
I found a great recipe in Alicia Silverstone's book The Kind Diet. Alicia became a vegan several years ago, and I love how she combines a healthy lifestyle with eating delicious, wholesome food that's good for the planet. As a former vegetarian, one of my favorite things about cooking is being able to put my own healthy spin on recipes. You can definitely eat well, eat delicious, and eat healthy all at the same time!
Enough talk, you came here for pumpkin bread :)
First of all, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9" X 5" loaf pan with cooking spray.
There are a lot of ingredients involved, but you'll be glad you made it, promise. Yes, that is cottage cheese hiding in the corner over there...you'll see ;)
Combine your pumpkin puree, sugars, egg, milk, cottage cheese and vanilla extract in a large bowl.
Mix it all up until it's nice and blended. It's okay if there are cottage cheese bits left hanging out - you can't see them in the baked version :)
In a separate bowl, combine your flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cranberries, and walnuts.
Stir to combine.
Now comes the fun part :) Sloooowly add your wet mixture to your dry mixture and stir until just combined.
Pour your batter into your loaf pan. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top. Pop it in the oven to bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top springs back when you press it with your finger.
Since you're gonna be waiting a while, take advantage of your wooden spoon to scoop out the leftover batter from your bowl, and eat it :)
When your bread is ready, remove it from the oven and...TA DAA! Beautimous, no? :)
Allow to cool in the pan. Alicia says you're supposed to turn it out onto a baking rack to cool completely, but I had to run to work right after it came out of the oven so I didn't. It was fine :)
Enjoy a lovely slice (or two or three) with your loved ones until it's gone :) The cottage cheese substituted for oil along with the pumpkin made for a super moist bread. I lessened the amount of sugar because, well, you don't really need all that extra sugar. However, I substituted half brown sugar to add that yummy molasses flavor :) I also added more spices than called for in the recipe, plus some ground ginger for kick, just because I like things extra flavorful. The cranberries and walnuts add extra sweetness and crunch. Be warned...this stuff is tasty and you might not be able to stop eating it :)
Fall on a plate...love it!
Recipe: Pumpkin Ginger Cranberry Walnut Bread
Adapted from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet
Makes 1 loaf
- 2 cups cooked pumpkin, or 1 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar + 1 tbsp., reserved
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup milk, your choice
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9" X 5" loaf pan.
- Combine pumpkin, sugar, egg, milk, cottage cheese, and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl.
- In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, cranberries and nuts.
- Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until just combined.
- Fill your loaf pan with the batter. Sprinkle with 1 tbsp. brown sugar.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the top springs back when pressed with a finger, or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow loaf to cool in pan for a few minutes, then flip onto a baking rack to cool completely.