Pumpkin Bread

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I wanted to bake this morning but nothing in my usual rotation was striking the right inspirational chord with me.  So I went looking on allrecipes.com for inspiration and the results are fantastic.  The inspiration recipe can be found here but I made serious changes to the recipe. 

Recipe

1 can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix)

4 eggs

3 cups sugar

1 cup applesauce

1/4 cup to a cup of Apple juice

4 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

2 tablespoons Cinnamon

1 teaspoon Ginger

1 teaspoon Cloves

 

1.  Preheat over to 350 degrees and prepare two loaf pans.

2.  Combine eggs, applesauce, sugar, and pumpkin until smooth.

3.  Next add the dry ingredients slowly to the wet.  Combine until batter is well combined and the reasonably tight.  Depending on your humidity and how loose you like your quick bread batter, add apple juice as required.

4.  Evenly divide the batter into the two pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

Tips

 

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As usual, spices measurements are approximates.  Spice the bread based on what flavors your family prefers.  We prefer more ginger and cinnamon, but I know others prefer more cloves paired with pumpkins.  Allspice and nutmeg would also be wonderful additions, I just didn’t have any in the spice pantry.

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This is the consistency of my batter.  It fell from the paddle slowly and in large sections, rather than dripping quickly in small portions repeatedly.  I let the batter rest for a couple of minutes before dividing the batter.

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I poured half the batter into a measuring cup lined with cling film and placed it in the refrigerator to set-up before transferring it to a container to place in the freezer.  With just the two of us, we won’t eat two loaves prior to one of them going to waste.

The remaining batter I added a couple of handfuls of dried cranraisins and mixed them in well.  I didn’t pre-flour the additions but you can to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the mixture.  The mixture is incredibly receptive to additions.  Future additions will be butterscotch chips, apples, and nuts.  I am thinking grated carrots or grated zucchini will also make this bread even healthier, although adding either of those definitely means being sure to reduce the liquid in the batter because of the moistness of carrots and zucchini. 

The bread was a hit with my husband and our parrot, Pickles, couldn’t get enough of it.  I think the bread is dense enough to make wonderful French toast over the holidays, and versatile enough to make a savory stuffing.  I know it will be amazing toasted with a smear of cream cheese.  The recipe is actually pretty healthy, the applesauce is a perfect replacement for the vegetable oil called for in the inspiration recipe.  Personally, I always replace oil with applesauce whenever possible.

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Polish Goodness on a Sunday: Mazurki

Many decades ago, just writing that phrase makes one feel old, my little brother discovered a love for an incredibly rich and decadent Polish delicacy, Mazurki.    Growing up it was in his top two favorite cookies of all time, although it is much less of a traditional cookie than it is an indulgent morsel of goodness.  I remember fondly his face lighting up whenever we’d come home from school and discover a fresh pan of Mazurki waiting for us.

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Recipe:

2 sticks of butter softened

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour

2 eggs

1/3 cup sugar

1 jar Strawberry preserves, 10 oz

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 tsp Vanilla

8 oz walnuts

Powered sugar to taste

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Pre-heat oven to 350.  Melt butter and combine with flour and eggs.  Make sure they are well combined and then spread evenly in a 13×9 pan.  Bake until golden brown.

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Combine sugar eggs, and vanilla.  Gently fold in the walnuts .

Remove from oven and evenly spread the jar of preserves over the top of the cooling cookie crust. 

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Then cover the jam with the egg and nut mixture. 

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Place back in the oven until golden brown.

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Allow to cool completely, and then cut and sprinkle with a dusting of powder sugar.

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My husband doesn’t like walnuts so today I tried something new, I substituted lightly salted cashews for the walnuts.  I crushed the cashew before folding into the egg mixture.  Not traditional but it will be a sure fire hit with my husband.  I did keep it traditional and cut into diamond shapes, simply because that’s how Mum always did.

A couple of tips.  Resist the urge to spray the pan with cooking spray.  The is more than sufficient butter in the base of the cookie to prevent sticking.  It won’t necessarily harm the recipe if you spray the pan but it won’t help either.  These need to be refrigerated to keep them fresh.  They can be made ahead of time and frozen.  They keep well in the freezer and thaw nicely on the counter for a quick dessert when unexpected company arrives.

And here is my secret weapon, for any recipe calling for sprinkled powered sugar:

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It’s my loose tea holder.  It has a super fine mesh which allows for a perfect light dusting of powered sugar without it flying all over the kitchen in the process.

 

I just taste tested and the cashews are simply amazing!  The lightly salted cashews cut through the sweet nicely which my husband will appreciate.  It should be safe to substitute the favorite nut of your choice if you don’t like walnuts or cashews.