Oct 12, 2011

Recipe of the Week: Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread

There are so many delicious recipes with pumpkin these days, I thought I'd try to feature one (or two) a week through Thanksgiving.  Since I'm also trying to work off a few excess pounds before the holidays, I warned Mr. Official that he's going to be schlepping some seriously fattening foods to share with his staff.  It's one of the laws of physics:  high-calorie foods diluted among many eaters does no harm.

We'll start off with a quick bread.  My all-time favorite bread is banana nut bread, and recently a friend asked me if I had ever made it without the bananas (she's not a fan of the yellow fruit.)  I hadn't, but I scrounged around and came up with a few alternatives that were similar in other ingredients, including a strawberry jam and nut bread recipe that has been passed down from mother to daughter in our family, and this pumpkin-spice bread recipe.  I'll try to post the strawberry bread recipe closer to Christmas.

The pumpkin bread sounded deliciously similar to my beloved banana bread, so I had to try it for myself. (Friends don't give untested recipes to friends, right?)

I whipped this up yesterday, and tapped my toe until it was cool enough to slice.  It was met with two thumbs up from swimmer girl, although I think it would benefit from a little baking lagniappe (see my recommendations below.)

Sour Cream Pumpkin Bread

1/2 cup butter (or margarine) slightly softened to smear texture
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup (1/2 can) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt   

Directions:  Heat oven to 350.  Generously grease a 9x5 loaf pan (or 2-3 mini loaf pans) with shortening.  Don't use spray or butter - trust me.

Cream butter and sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Add pumpkin puree and sour cream or yogurt.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (don't overbake.)  Slide a thin blade around the edge to loosen from pan; invert onto cooling rack.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.  Wrap loaf in a tea towel to store overnight, or let cool completely and freeze for no more than a month. 

Terry's recommendation:  This is a good, basic recipe, but I think it needs a little something to jazz it up a notch.  I'd recommend any one of these three options (and I'll be trying them myself soon - perhaps even some combination of these three):

1.  At a minimum, throw 1/2 to 3/4 cup chopped nuts into the batter.  Preferably pecans, but walnuts would work, too.
2.  Add a streusel topping (1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup chopped nuts, 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 tablespoons butter, crumbled together and sprinkled over the top of the batter before baking.)
3. Cream cheese glaze (1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice, beat together until smooth; drizzle over loaf after removing it from the pan.)  Garnish with chopped nuts if desired.

Happy baking,

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