The best presents are homemade. Unfortunately, I can’t knit or crochet. So making sweaters, scarves or mittens is out. I can’t make jewelry, so no one on my Christmas list is getting a handmade necklace or earrings. I’m not good with wood, so there will be no handcrafted chairs or tables or desks next to anyone’s tree.
But, I can cook. So, I’m going to be making some yummy things for my friends this holiday season.
First, a confession: During the past few Christmases, while I struggled to complete a master’s degree and had class right up to and including Christmas, I cheated a little. For example, I used those Pillsbury boxed breads, merely adding some chopped walnuts or cranberries or chocolate chips, then giving them as gifts. Not completely homemade, I admit, but better than nothing.
However, now that I’m done with all of that crazy schooling, I’m making it all homemade this year.
Fortunately for me, I found a pumpkin bread recipe that is not only delicious but easy. I’ll be making several loaves for friends this year. (And I’ll be using those paper loaf pans I mentioned last week.)
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 2 2/3 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups (or one 15-ounce can) solid pack pumpkin
- 2/3 cup water
- 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, optional
- 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional
- Coarse white sugar for sprinkling, optional
Full recipe disclosures: I eliminated the teaspoon of nutmeg — I’m just not that into nutmeg– and added a teaspoon of cinnamon instead. Also, I toasted my pecans in the oven before adding them to the batter. Toasting makes them taste so much better.
If you get one of these for Christmas, know that I made them with my own two hands. What are you making your friends and loved ones?