The past week as been a rough one, as my little boys gave me some germs that knocked me off my feet. I finally gave in on Friday and went to the doctor, where a Nurse Ratched wannabee stuck me full of needles with a smile on her wicked, wicked face. After a stern lecture from the doctor, and a pile of pharmaceuticals, I feel close to human again, though I swear my butt still hurts from too many shots. I am better not a second too soon, because Fall weather has finally arrived in Louisiana.
Obviously, as one sick mama, I was not up for too much in the way of Fall homemaking this weekend. However, I was able to make the first and most basic recipe in my autumn kitchen repertoire: Pumpkin Bread.
I found this pumpkin bread recipe years ago, and have tweaked with it over time because I thought the initial spice proportions needed some adjusting. It is a very basic recipe, but has remained a staple for two basic reasons: it can be made quickly, with ingredients I always have on hand anyway, and it only uses one mixing bowl, so I can whip it up without trashing my kitchen. Basically, this recipe gives me the warm-fuzzy feeling of satisfaction that comes from doing a little Fall baking, without the headache of washing 57 dishes before dinnertime.
Here are the players:
Just a little flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, eggs, vegetable oil, canned pumpkin, ground cloves, ground cinnamon and grated nutmeg.
First, a word on the whole nutmeg thing: after watching entirely too much Food Network, I can safely say that Alton Brown has turned me into a fresh nutmeg convert. Freshly grated nutmeg tastes so much better than the pre-ground stuff, and once I realized how easy it was to do myself, I never looked back. While whole nutmegs used to be harder to find, McCormick now sells a jar of them in your everyday grocer’s spice section. Out of the jar, a whole nutmeg looks like this:
All you need to turn this little nut into a ground spice of happiness is a micro-plane grater, which is also useful for zesting any citrus fruit:
I always grate my nutmeg over a small bowl, for easy measuring later. Just rub the nutmeg steadily back and forth across the grater until you think you have enough of the good stuff for your recipe:
Return the unused nutmeg piece to the jar, where it will keep for a verrryyy long time. I’ve been working on the same jar for a year. Now that you see how easy that is, let’s get back to the Pumpkin Bread:
In a large bowl, I combined the flour, sugar, baking soda, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and baking powder. I gave it a quick stir:
And then added the “wet” ingredients, which were the eggs, vegetable oil and pumpkin:
I mixed this until it looked like a nice, uniform batter:
And poured it into two greased loaf pans:
I popped those into a 350 degree oven, and about an hour later, I was rewarded with these:
This bread is best served warm, with a little butter….or whatever else you want to throw at it.
So, to recap, for about five minutes worth of effort and only one dirty mixing bowl, I got two loaves of yummy Pumpkin Bread, and the satisfaction of baking something up to celebrate Fall without sending myself back into my sickbed. Not too shabby for baking under the influence…
Bayou-Mama’s One-Bowl Pumpkin Bread
- 3 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. ground cloves
- 1 ¼ tsp. cinnamon
- 1 ¼ tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 3 eggs, slightly beaten
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two regular loaf pans. In a large mixing bowl, combine first eight ingredients, stirring well. Add pumpkin, vegetable oil and eggs, and mix until well-blended. Divide batter evenly among the loaf pans, and bake for about an hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.