Thursday, October 18, 2007

pumpkin bread with cranberries

i could have eaten the whole thing in one sitting...

If I told you I’ve been waiting half a year to bake pumpkin bread, would you think me pathetic? Entire two seasons passed and not a week went by that I didn’t think of pumpkin bread and how delicious the house will smell when it’s baking in the oven. Of course, pumpkin/cinnamon/clove scents aren’t quite summery, so I had to wait. And wait. And wait some more. Until the days got shorter, nights grew longer and there was a distinct chill in the air. I would eat my berry crumbles and they would make me weak in my knees, but I was committing baked-good adultery – and thinking, longingly of the pumpkin bread.

The can of pumpkin puree that has found itself in our cupboards somehow (don’t look at me, I didn’t buy it) had to be used for something glorious and celebratory of my favorite season. I had a few ideas for it, but pumpkin bread was the first and foremost project. I’ll be making KS’s favorite pumpkin treat soon enough – this time, I just had to be selfish.

that spatula had the time of her life

If you haven’t figured this out by now, I’m a huge fan of something tart in my otherwise sweet baked goods. A little bright pop of cranberry, in my opinion, brightens up pumpkin or banana bread and punches up their smoky, caramel flavors. And if you are wondering how on earth I managed to find cranberries before Thanksgiving season, I am going to let you in on a little secret. I buy a few bags of fresh cranberries every November and then I stick them in the freezer – and believe it or not, those bags last for months and months – allowing me always to have fresh cranberries on hand. I’ve even managed to make fresh cranberry sauce in April once!

i couldn't resist with the frozen cranberries again so perfectly warm and fragrant

As with many types of baked bread like this, you can pretty much add a combination or all of the spices listed below. I didn’t have allspice on hand this time, so I skipped it and the results weren’t too shabby. And some people dislike cloves so they skip it altogether. When I make this next time, I’ll most likely omit the walnuts – I decided to try them this time, but I am just not a nuts-in-my-banana-or-pumpkin-bread kinda girl. The recipe was inspired by Elise, yet again, who posted her pumpkin muffin recipe and since I was lacking those little paper cup things you pour muffin batter in, I decided to do a solid loaf instead.

green egg, no ham

Oh and before I forget, this has nothing to do with pumpkin bread, but everything to do with green eggs. Apparently, there is such a thing as a green egg and no, it’s not rotten and it’s perfectly good for consumption! At last Saturday’s farmer’s market, the young man who sells me eggs, as well as pasture-raised meat (and the most heavenly chorizo I’ve had to date!), opened up an egg carton to check for cracks and breaks and informed me with glee that there was a green egg in my carton. A green egg, I asked? Can I eat it? Is it rotten? Was Dr. Seuss onto something? Yes, no, and yes, were the farmer’s responses, after which he explained to me that a green egg is produced by some special hens and the egg doesn’t look white, per se, it looks rather a bit blue-green. Some folks even think them more nutritious and so request only green eggs from the farmer. I couldn’t wait to try our first green egg so we soft-boiled it and shared it that very morning. It was delicious – and unless I’m imagining things, tasted a bit more eggy – the yolk seemed a bit more orange and almost buttery in flavor. And so you have it, green egg sans ham – delicious and something new! And while I’m sorry to have rambled thus about something that has nothing to do with pumpkin bread (unless you count the two eggs that went into the batter) – I wanted to tell you about it nonetheless and if you know anything about green eggs, let me know – I’d love to learn!


1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup sugar (I used about 3/4 cups and it was fine)
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup pumpkin purée
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup frozen cranberries (or more, if you like)

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking soda.

2. Mix the pumpkin, melted butter, eggs, 1/4 cup of water, and spices together, then combine with the dry ingredients, until just incorporated. Do not over-mix. Fold in the candied ginger and chopped nuts.

3. Spoon mixture into a bread pan (or a muffin pan). Bake for 60-65 minutes if making a loaf and for 25-30 minutes if making muffins. Check for done-ness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Cool on a rack.

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4 Comments

  • 1
    Jim said:

    I generally like my pumpkin and banana breads unfettered with nuts, berries, chocolate chips, or any other hidden treasures, but a little bit of cranberry does sound pretty good.
    And no need to be sorry for rambling about stuff unrelated to pumpkin bread; I’m just glad somebody finally vindicated Sam-I-Am!

    October 19, 2007 10:30 am
  • 2
    Dana said:

    According to Harold Magee, green shells come from crosses between Araucanas breeds, which lay blue eggs, and brown-egg-laying breeds, such as Rhode Island Reds or Plymouth Rocks. Since the shells have both brown and blue pigments, they end up looking green. But he also says the egg shell’s color is determined by the hen’s genetic background and has no relation to the egg’s taste or nutritional value… But I think, no matter what color the shell is, fresh eggs from the farm always taste better! (Btw, I will totally be making this bread soon — it looks awesome!)

    October 19, 2007 1:08 pm
  • 3
    Terrie said:

    Martha Stewart had a big thing for various shades of greenish/blue-ish eggs several years back, featured the chickens (Araucana sounds right) and their eggs in her magazine a couple of times, and even developed a line of interior house paints, sold by K-Mart under her name, in the blue/green range of egg colors that she was finding amongst her own chickens.

    October 21, 2007 2:20 pm
  • 4
    Anna said:

    I saw a green egg for the first time last week, too!
    And I do the exact same thing as you with cranberries. I don’t know that I’ve ever been able to make them last nearly a year, but I have made cranberry-apple rolls in May. Yum.

    November 3, 2007 7:17 am

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