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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Baking for Thanksgiving

Nothing says Thanksgiving more than pumpkin! Well, maybe turkey does, but I'm still partial to the pumpkin. Given the choice, I would easily forgo the turkey for pumpkin anything! Here is my Pumpkin Bread with Cream Cheese recipe. Note: The flavor is even better on day two!

Pumpkin Bread (with Cream Cheese Filling)


1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup water
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed (may substitute with flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Cream Cheese Filling (optional)
1 cup of cream cheese, softened
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
More batter add-in options: 1 cup of raisins (I like golden)

1 cup of chocolate chips (freeze first if you'd like them to maintain their shape instead of liquify in the bread)
1 cup of toasted pumpkin seeds (save half for the top!)
1 cup pecans

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
2. Grease and flour three 7x3 inch loaf pans.
3. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin puree, eggs, oil, applesauce, vanilla, water and sugars until well blended. 
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger. 
5. Stir the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.
6. (optional) If you'd like cream cheese pumpkin bread, stir the sugar and cinnamon in to the cream cheese. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the pumpkin bread batter in the pan and give it a few swirls so it sinks a little in the batter.
7. Bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven. Loaves are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
About flax seed: Don't be afraid of flax seed meal. You can buy it as meal for ease, but I like to buy it in seed form (it keeps longer) and toast them a little to bring out the nutty flavor for this recipe and then zap them in the coffee grinder for a few seconds (or you can keep the kids busy for a while taking turns with the mortar and pestle. There is a very long list of health benefits to eating flax seed. Click the link to find out more, but in a nutshell, flax seed acts like a low-carb whole grain, is rich in Omega-2 fatty acids and anti-oxidants, helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure, helps prevent prostate cancer and is high in fiber and is purported to reduce hot flashes nearly 60%! (note: flax is not recommended for those with irritable bowel).