Pumpkin bread perfect for holiday gifts

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.)

This pumpkin bread recipe is from King Arthur Flour and makes two large-sized loaves.

Ingredients:

  • 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.

And, in my mind, the coarse white sugar is not optional. Liberally sprinkling it on the top before baking adds a delicious crust to the bread.PumpkinBreadUSE

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?

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