Best pumpkin bread ever: favorite fall recipe #3

I’m too much in my house this fall. This is a travesty that requires the best pumpkin bread ever.

You see, baking gets me out of the house.

I have an usual autumn routine. I like to bake in the fall. And then I like to walk over to someone’s house and share it with them. Or eat it outside. There’s something magical about sitting in a multi-colored landscape, nibbling something hot from the oven when there’s a chill in the air. Something about sharing my favorite fall recipes helps me savor the season more. Check out my #1: pumpkin cupcakes and #2: apple cobbler.

Yes, autumn should be a time for congregating outdoors. Jumping in leaves. Strolling through the woods. Picking apples. Wrapping up in a blanket by your fire pit. Raking those pesky gold and red leaves that litter your walkways every day. The Northern Hemisphere is painting an eye-popping landscape of leaves, sky, and smells that begs to be enjoyed. Why not enjoy it with a favorite fall treat? And then try to walk off the calories?

Just tonight, outside a Lowes and Kroger, I heard beautiful violin music wafting over the parking lot. My car followed the sound. I thought Kroger was kindly blasting music from their outside speakers. But as I drew close, I noticed a man standing near his vehicle, with the lift open and his violin plugged into a large amp. He was walking about, as far as his cord would let him, sawing his bow across the strings. His energy was mesmerizing. He had some background music playing behind him.

A symphony had come to the Kroger parking lot.

The music was soulful, melodic, and generous. Behind him, the sun stretched out pink and orange, pastel under the gray clouds and fiery behind the buildings and trees..

My hear sang a melody with him.

Beauty always fills the soul with joy and love. Shared beauty makes us want to reach out and connect. Breathe in and hold our hopes still.

While the violin’s music floated across the blacktop, I was tempted to shout at all the visible shoppers, “Can you hear that? Isn’t it amazing?”

But people were pushing grocery carts and backing out of parking spaces.

So I drove up to the man and handed him a $20 bill through the window. I thanked him for his talent. I wish I could’ve given him some home-baked yummies–either #1, #2, or #3 would have been lovely, but I was shopping for food, after all. And this was my first friendly act for awhile. (I’m out of practice.)

Instead, like a normal aging Xer, I left without videoing him and posting it on Instagram. I drove home, smiling and humming, with my groceries in tow. I put them away. Then I made dinner. Then I baked my best neighborly dish (in keeping with the season).

I made a pumpkin bread that melts on your tongue. It defies all pumpkin breads.

Everybody’s been making pumpkin bread and muffins right now, and I’m not dishing anybody’s recipe. They’re all good. I’ve had some delicious samples: pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins and pumpkin-banana-chocolate chip bread just last week, for starters. They’re all so yummy! But my #3 favorite recipe is unique, especially for the pumpkin-doubters.

Even if you’re not the biggest pumpkin fan, you’ll probably like this bread. You can keep eating without getting tired of it or feeling overly-stuffed. The bread’s not even orange. It’s more of a golden-brown color. For you, that means this bread is less heavy on the pumpkin flavor, less dense than your average pumpkin batter, and more moist and flakey. like regular homemade bread.

It doesn’t need chocolate chips. It doesn’t even need butter.

It’s that good. (Hot or cold.)

I got the recipe about 30 years ago from the mother of one of my middle-school students. She gave me a little loaf for Christmas, and when I got home, I sat down and ate the whole thing. Up until that moment, I didn’t even know I liked pumpkin bread.

I’m afraid I’ve been a pumpkin bread snob ever since.

I asked her for her recipe. I’ve been baking it and eating it and also giving it away for the last three decades, from September to February.. I have found that everybody loves it—even those who say, “I usually don’t like pumpkin bread.”

So here you go, pumpkin fans and non-pumpkin fans. I suggest baking this batter into little loaves. Big loaves don’t cook in the middle without making the edges too crisp, and muffins often wind up not being very moist. I frankly love the middle part of a loaf, so a small loaf is the best option because you get a lot of middle, few edges, and it’s cooked throughout.

Best Pumpkin Bread Ever

Mix together in your mixer:

  • 1 c. butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups sugar

Stir in to the mixture:

  • 1 t. baking powder
  • ½ t. baking soda
  • ½ t. ground cinnamon
  • ½ t. ground cloves
  • ½ t. ground nutmeg
  • 1 t. salt

Add, alternating with one another:

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 15-oz. canned pumpkin

By the time you’re adding in the flour and pumpkin, your mixer should be on low because the bowl will be almost full. The batter is thick. Stop regularly and scrape the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

When mixture is completely mixed, grease small loaf pans with a cooking spray and flour the bottoms of the pans. Fill about ¾ full of batter.

Bake for about 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Prick the middle with a toothpick; when it comes out mostly clean and the edges are starting to pull away from the sides, it’s done.

Oh–another great feature: this bread is totally freezable. After loaves have cooled, you can put them in Ziplock freezer bags and tuck them away in your freezer until you want them, one loaf at a time! (Depending on your self-control.)

Now off to the neighbors with these little loaves of love.

Hope you enjoy!

pumpkin bread

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