Labor Day. The glorious segue from summer into fall. In honor of the most fantastic season being right around the corner, I'm going to give you all a fabulous recipe to get your warm and fuzzy fix. I had a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbuck's this morning, and this recipe would have been a perfect match. This pumpkin bread is to die for. I personally think it's better than Starbuck's pumpkin loaf and it's easy to make. It's rainy and chilly here in Pittsburgh (which I happen to love) and I'm planning on snuggling up to a movie tonight and waiting for the incredible scent of pumpkin spice to fill my house while this bakes. What are you waiting for? You do it too!
First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and in a big bowl, mix these together:
1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree (or 2 cups if you have a bigger can)
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup lukewarm water
3 cups sugar
Now in a separate bowl, whisk together:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
and all the fragrant lovely spices: 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground nutmeg, 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves, and 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger. I love it with lots of spice, but if you want a milder flavor, feel free to cut back on them.
Stir all the dry ingredients into the bowl with the wet ingredients just until combined. Don't over-blend. Pour into (2) 9x5" loaf pans that have been greased and floured. My oven takes about 55-60 minutes.
Ready for this? Sit down, because this is going to knock your socks off. As if this wasn't delicious enough already, we're going to push it right over the top. After you take the loaves out of the oven, while they are still hot, poke several small holes in the tops. Melt some butter, cinnamon, and sugar in a bowl and drizzle over the loaves. No specific amounts, just add enough til you think it's awesome. You can thank me later.
While it may feel like torture to have these incredible delights tempting you on the counter, do yourself a favor and let them sit overnight. If they rest for about a day, all those spices get to know eachother and become friends. While the loaves are still warm, wrap them up in saran wrap, and they'll become even more delicious and moist and fabulous.