I went to a local preschool. Of course, I have little memory of the quaint place besides messy tempura painting days, riding a tricycle around in the play yard, the fascination of a baking soda-vinegar “volcano” in the sand pit and playing all day long. Life was good. Looking back, I never really realized how much I should have savored those magical days.
Besides teaching me important life lessons such as how to share, how to resolve conflicts (most likely if someone else had the Play Doh rolling pin I needed to use), and how to sing your worries away, I now see how preschool gifted me with wonderful recipes. Whenever there’s a group of parents, mostly moms, hanging out together, there’s undoubtedly an exciting recipe exchange. One of those recipes is for pumpkin bread from one of the preschool moms, Birgit. If the flavors of this quick bread don’t explode on your palate and make you want to start jumping up and down, I don’t know what will.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. Well, actually I have two secrets.
Number one: the magic ingredients are the spices including cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. And cocoa powder, don’t forget the cocoa.
Number two: It’s possible and socially acceptable to make pumpkin bread in June. You can purchase canned pumpkin after the holidays and it’ll stay good for a while. Plus, people will get excited to see pumpkin foods in the summer. Trust me.
Okay, so here you go! You have no excuse to wait until October to make this delicious quick bread. If you bake in mini loaves, you’ll have a snack in less than an hour. Get baking!
Birgit’s Pumpkin Bread
The original recipe had literally one line of instructions: Mix well in a big bowl, bake in a preheated oven. I’ve decided to clarify a little bit more to make the recipe beyond simple. Like I said above, this is one of the memories of preschool that I enjoy regularly. I love the spice combination so much that I can tell when there’s pumpkin bread baking in the kitchen without seeing it. The cocoa adds a lovely richness.
Makes 2 regular sized loaves or 4 mini loaves
1 (15-0z) can of pumpkin puree (no pumpkin pie filling here; use the real thing!)
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup oil
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a large mixing bowl, combine pumpkin and sugar. Beat in eggs. Add water and oil. Mix together.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, all three spices and cocoa powder.
Pour into wet ingredients and mix until there are few lumps.
Grease 2 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans. Pour batter into pans.
Bake mini loaves for 30-45 minutes and regular loafs for 1 hour.
Remove from oven and cool on a rack for at least 1 hour.